by Kahlia Meeuwsen, Lifestyle Columnist
Published in Lifestyle on 21st November, 2018
Most of us look for ways to escape from time to time, whether it's delving into the world of literature, movies, TV shows, video games or anything else that takes you away from your stressors. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be quite helpful in moderated amounts.
There are also many ways to escape, so just about anyone can find something that works for them. When used strategically, escapism can help you to focus more when you need to and relax well when you can. We're going to take a look at several of the benefits you can get from escapism.
Escapism involves anything you might to that disconnects you from your immediate reality. It can include reading, watching movies or TV shows, going into nature, enjoying guided meditation, playing video games and much more.
Most of us get lost in some form of escapism from time to time. It can help us to relax after a long day or just remove us from a reality we might be finding stressful. In other cases, some may also lose their balance and become too caught up in whatever their chosen form of escapism is.
Think about diving into your favorite TV show. Suddenly, you're in a different world with a vast array of different problems. Looking at a show like The Walking Dead, there are no more bills, awkward social conventions, homes to clean or other day-to-day stresses we experience.
While it may be true that the problems in a world infested with zombies might be much worse, we can safely enjoy them because we know it's simply a TV show. On top of that, even something as horrifying as zombies becomes a comfort, because they are fictional. In many shows and games, we also enjoy the aspect that the good guys always win.
There are absolutely some aspects of escapism that can be less than positive, but let's not forget about the benefits that are included as well. If there weren't benefits, then it's less likely we would engage in the different forms of escapism as we do.
In reality, there are many aspects of ourselves we don't get to choose, or at least not choose easily. Things like bills, taxes, certain aspects of our appearance and many about the world itself are included. However, in other worlds you can invent or play a new person, or take on the persona of one who already exists.
This is especially true in video games, where you can often customize your character as much as you'd like, choosing their clothing, race, class and a variety of other things about them. This level of control is something that many gamers enjoy.
In many ways, escapism can take you into an entirely new world. Whether it's through a game, book or show, you can dive into a world with all new problems. In some of these worlds, there are clear, black and white sides. The bad guys always lose and the good guys always prevail.
Oftentimes, this escape into a new world can be very comforting. It means leaving your stresses behind, and if you know you're going into a world where things actually will always turn out okay, it's even better. Regardless, you still get to leave behind the mundane for something better.
At the most basic level, escapism often comes alongside great entertainment. Whether you're interested in scandalous politics, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, the old west or just about anything else, you're sure to find ways that you can escape into those kinds of worlds.
You also get to choose whether you want to dive into a world filled with mystery, action, horror, or laughter. Thing about your go-to movie when you're feeling like you need to get away from your reality. Is it one that makes you laugh, or that reminds you there are good things in the world?
We all need a break from time to time, and a little escape can be a great way to get that. We can't always afford to go on a vacation, and sometimes we just don't have the time. However, opening up a book or putting on your favorite show can be a good way to get that escape for shorter amounts of time.
In addition, it can be a means of escape that is a lot less costly and easier to engage in when you only have a small amount of time. It gives your mind a much-needed break and you can go on an adventure without ever leaving your home.
Another great aspect of escapism is that you can do it alone or with others. It's easy to read a book, watch a show or play a game by yourself. You can do it at any time, and you don't have to worry too much about making plans with others.
However, when you do want to enjoy that time with others, that's an easy thing to do too! There are a variety of online games that allow you to play with friends, or you can enjoy a movie or show night with those close to you.
There's a lot of comfort in knowing that you're going to win, if you're playing a game, or that the good guys will win in a show, book or movie. In life, we can often be left uncertain as to whether or not things will turn out okay. A lot of the time, that result can be out of our control.
However, when you escape into a certain world, you can relax in knowing that the good guys will win and everything will be okay in the end. As a result, that world can be a comforting place.
Getting away from reality when it has become stressful is not just fun, it's something we need from time to time. Otherwise, we can become burnt out very easily, or that stress can result in physical symptoms, illnesses or worse.
In addition, that stress can become a huge factor in how focused and productive we're able to be, whether that's at school, work or just in general. It's important to remember that the more self-care you give yourself, the more you'll be able to ask from yourself. Working hard is difficult if your brain is exhausted.
Alongside stress and uncertainty, we can also sometimes feel like we just can't get a win. No matter how hard you're working, things can pop up that make you feel like all that hard work is for nothing. Escaping can provide some satisfaction when you may not be getting it elsewhere.
This is particularly true in video games, where you can complete tasks or quests and get a sense that what you're doing is actually helping the world around you, even if it isn't the real world. This feeling can still be very helpful for keeping us afloat when we might otherwise despair.
Remember that even though there are a lot of benefits that can be offered by the escapism in TV shows, video games, books and movies, too much of that escapism can begin to have negative effects in your life. Just like anything else, it's wise to keep escapism in moderation!
Using it as a reward, or setting aside a specific amount of time can be a great way to get a little bit of brain relaxation without getting caught up in the game or show. This can also help your focus while you need to work, because you know you'll have that set amount of freedom to look forward to.