I want to talk (well, write), about something thats been on my mind quite a lot recently…
Evident by the title of this post, today I will be attempting to conclude why we are so fascinated by forms of escapism.
Now, you might be reading this thinking, ‘I don’t have an urge to escape reality’, but the fact of the matter is; if you have ever picked up a fiction book, switched on the TV, been to the cinema, played a game, booked a holiday, or even just scrolled through apps on your phone, you have subconsciously made the decision to escape reality for a while.
The big question is; why? Why do we seek out such distractions? What is it about the world in which we live that causes us to seek relief from everyday life?
The answer, in my opinion, is rooted in our constant quest for productivity.
We never feel good enough which leads to us taking on unhealthy amounts of work, often at the sacrifice of our health, both mental and physical.
Due to our hectic lives as described above, we are becoming increasingly stressed, with many of us seeking some relief, whether that be in the form of reading a book or playing a playstation game. We are therefore paying to “escape” our lives for a bit.
Its not all doom and gloom though, for a lot of the things we turn to as a way to ‘escape’ are actually really beneficial for our mental and physical health.
For example, when we choose to read a book, not only are we giving ourselves some ‘down time’/a chance to rest, we are also engaging our brain in something that will help us to grow and learn.
Likewise, when we go to the cinema to watch a film, we too are benefitting our minds because, again, we give ourselves an opportunity to rest, but we also allow our imagination to get to work, something which is often left neglected amidst the mundane tasks of busy day to day life.
Whilst I have mentioned the positive forms of escapism in today’s post (reading books, watching TV, playing games etc), as is the case with everything, there are of course some negatives too, with addiction, whether that be to drink, drugs, gambling or even shopping, social media, or exercise, perhaps being the biggest and most dangerous form of escapism there is.
The major problem with using addiction as a form of escapism is that it has absolutely no benefits. It is life limiting.
Unlike positive forms that allow you to escape reality by doing something that will benefit you in the ‘real world’, addiction allows you to escape reality by giving you a temporary high from an extremely dangerous source, a source that, even when you enter back into the real world, you will still experience the negative impact of, and continue to crave. Addiction therefore doesn’t allow you to escape reality, instead it simply provides you with a false sense of security.
So now you know this, I hope that the next time you find yourself yearning for a distraction/craving a fantasy world, you will ask yourself this; “will this action help or hinder me?” Remember, the reason why we seek to escape reality is often due to stress. We therefore must not increase that stress by chasing unhealthy sources of escapism.
My final advise for everyone reading this post? Write a gratitude list- a list of all the things you have to be grateful for in your life. If you still want to escape reality after doing that, then go pick up a book, it’ll do you good. But please, never ever turn to addiction. It’s just not worth the pain.