Forms of Escapism
Life is getting more challenging. Technology has enabled 24/7 lifestyles where we are always on call. Stress is on the rise and so is depression and anxiety. As a result, there is a greater need than ever for people to find ways to escape in order maintain mental and emotional stability. Society frowns on people opting out and shunning corporate ladders and office politics. Finding acceptable forms of escapism has become more vital than ever and there are many ways in which we can transport ourselves away from the stresses and strains of the daily grind. How many of these forms of escapism do you engage in?
Sport serves a valuable purpose for us. Many people lead dull lives and being part of a team of supporters allows a feeling of belonging and an added dimension of excitement to life. Some sports can be particularly aggressive, such as rugby, and this provides a legitimate outlet for aggression. This lowers stress levels and leave everyday society with less anger as team players and observers get to shout and let off steam. Sport provides a valuable release and form of escapism and stress release for many and if sport was not available, this stress would be diverted into less appropriate places, thereby possibly affecting society in a negative way.
I have noticed with MANY of my clients that they use work as a form of escapism. Being busy and burying your head in emails and work projects provides a great escape from having to deal with the fundamentals in life such as personal fulfilment, quality relationships and a satisfying sense of direction in life. Many people bury themselves in work and use this as an excuse to bumble along and not deal with more important issues such as their personal relationships and even their own happiness. Work has provided a convenient excuse for us to chug along in automatic mode, it provides structure and a framework and can easily take over your life if you let it. What most people forget though, is that when all is said and done, very few people wish they had worked longer hours. Many wish they had slowed down a bit and enjoyed life a little more. Very little matters at the end when we are old and decrepit, other than what we gave back and our family, friends and pets.
This is the obvious one but it deserves a mention as cocaine use is on the rise as well as many other drugs. The harder life becomes the more people seek fulfilment in drugs to help them escape. Boredom and monotony also contribute to drug taking but it is a temporary fix that ends up causing more trouble than it solves. If life was happier and easier I believe there would be less demand for drugs as a form of escapism.
Show me an overweight person and I'll show you a person who is unhappy on some level. I believe overeating (unless it is physiological - such as hormonal or metabolic) is a form of escapism that is caused by a person seeking comfort. An escape from sadness of frustration. Find out what the void is or what the unmet need is and you will start to reduce food being a convenient escape.
There are so many forms of escapism, anything in extremes suggests a possible issue. Addictions are a form of escapism whether it's smoking, drugs, alcohol, gambling or love addiction. All of these stem from some inner lack or void. Often this lack is determined by our levels of confidence and self esteem. Psychological therapies go a long way to easing the urge to escape and can teach individuals to emotionally regulate in better ways and deal with distress in a more tolerant manner.
Positive forms of escape include meditation and mindfulness.