A MARKETING e-mail popped into the inbox. The subject read: 'The Hot List – the five must-haves to add to basket now'. Really? 'Must-haves?' Must I? I opened the email to see what I couldn’t do without now.

It read: 'A trophy jacket you need now.’ The word ‘trophy’ was a new one on me for describing clothes, but aspiring to be a winner, I must have the trophy jacket now.

The ‘anything-but-ordinary’ bra. Yes, I must have that, as I don’t want to feel ordinary wearing a piece of clothing most people won’t see.

‘The loveliest kid’s dress.’ Obviously another ‘must-have’. My granddaughter must be the loveliest in any company.

‘A genius washbag’. Pretty material, pretty functional, pretty much like other cleverly designed washbags. But I ‘must-have’ the one that hints at being clever for purchasing it.

I don’t need these items, but I must have these things, otherwise I won’t feel good enough. I’ll click on the order form now and buy them with my credit card. Easy. They will arrive and I may or may not use them. Strangely I won’t feel any better than I did before I read the email. I may even feel worse.

One of the first credit cards on the market decades ago, came with the slogan:‘Takes the waiting out of wanting.’ It fulfilled that statement and with thousands of other credit cards available, the nation is now sinking under a sea of debt. We spend our time buying things we don’t need, with money we haven’t got. Short-term gain, long-term pain.

The wail from children can be heard every day in shops. "I need it, I really, really need it".

Adults can be heard saying it too. Adults who may seek help wondering: “I don’t know what’s the matter with me, I’ve got everything I want.” They may have, but they don’t have everything they need. What are those needs? The giving and receiving love and attention – healthily. A meaning and purpose. Being stretched and feeling a sense of achievement. Being part of a community. A feeling of security. A sense of control. Time for privacy and reflection – though not too much.

Needs are for now, wants can wait. So can the ‘must-haves’.

Rita Leaman is a psychotherapist and writes as Alison R Russell

Find out more at chasingbows.org.uk and alisonrussell275.blogspot.co.uk