Escaping from Reality – Avoidance Or Healing?

 Sometimes, our lives are so scattered or busy that we daydream and try to escape Reality. 


Sometimes, we all need a break from Reality, you know? It’s like a coping mechanism that helps us escape the stresses of everyday life, even if it’s just for a little while. Diving into a good book, getting lost in a movie, or exploring the vast universes of video games can do the trick. It’s like a refreshing break that recharges our mental batteries and gives us a fresh outlook when we return to our routine. The article will explore why we avoid and deal with the truth without escaping reality.

What is the psychology of escaping from reality?

At times, the crushing weight of responsibilities, expectations, and the daily grind can be overwhelming, leading us to yearn for an escape – a desire to run away. This is not inherently negative. It’s a primal response of self-preservation, a signal from our minds that our current situation or environment is causing undue stress or unhappiness. 

In the dictionary, the term is the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant situations, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.

In psychological terms, escaping from reality is a mental diversion from unpleasant or dull daily life, typically through activities involving imagination or entertainment. This can be a healthy coping mechanism, temporarily relieving day-to-day pressures.

However, when used excessively, it can become a retreat from responsibility, leading to neglect of crucial aspects of life. The psychology of escapism is often linked to what Freud described as the “pleasure principle” – the instinctual seeking of pleasure and avoidance of pain to satisfy biological and psychological needs. 

Individuals may use escapism to create more pleasurable surroundings, albeit temporary and unreal. Cognitive dissonance theory also provides insight into escaping the truth. It suggests that when a person’s self-concept conflicts with his real life, they may use imagination to reduce this dissonance. Creating an imaginative world for themselves.

While fantasizing, Endorphins ( a neurotransmitter) are also released during pleasurable activities. Endorphins, known as natural painkillers, can help reduce discomfort and stress while boosting feelings of pleasure. This release of brain chemicals is part of why fantasizing can feel rewarding and enticing, often as a brainy escape from situations. 

Related: Cognitive Dissonance: Theory, Examples & How to Reduce It

“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.”

                                                                                           – Lloyd Alexander  

People use different methods to Avoid their real-world

People resort to other ways to hide from their natural world. Some of these methods include

  • Daydreaming
  • Reading
  • Gaming
  • Drinking
  • Binge eating
  • Overworking
  • Socializing
  • Watching movies and shows

Positive and negative forms of escaping reality

Positive and negative conditions of escaping reality exist in our society. Joyous escapism involves using a creative outlet or hobby to run everyday life’s hurdles and tapping into your productivity and self-discovery.  

In contrast, negative escapism is characterized by self-destructive behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse, addiction, procrastination, feelings of alienation from facts, and reduced attention. 

Positive Ways of Escaping from Reality

Positive escapism, referred to as self-expansion by Stengseng and his colleagues in 2012, can be seen as a healthy means of detaching from daily routines and pressures, providing comfort, and promoting creativity and self-expansion. This strong desire to escape can include engaging in activities like

  •  Practising a hobby
  •  Relaxing vacationing
  •  Losing oneself in a captivating movie
  •  Intellectually challenging literature

 These activities help refresh the mind, igniting renewed energy for facing life’s realities. Individuals who use positive escape to get temporary distractions are reasonably satisfied with the outcome and overall work and life fulfilment.

Negative Ways of Escaping from Reality

On the other hand, individuals who want to avoid unpleasant events or feelings use the negative form of escaping reality known as self-suppressive escape. Such Individuals could find it difficult to align their actions with how they view their duties and priorities, which increases anxiety. It frequently manifests as

  • Overindulgence in gaming
  • Impulsive social media use
  • Binge-watching television shows
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol

Harmful escape from activities may provide temporary relief, but their long-term effects can be detrimental. They act as a Band-Aid, avoiding underlying issues and addictive behaviors impacting physical and psychological health. Disconnecting from facts intensifies feelings of isolation as individuals withdraw socially to delve deeper into their escape world. Recognizing and addressing the root causes is crucial to break this harmful cycle.

Escaping from Reality Quotes

Here are some insightful quotes:

“We all need escapism. I think there’s a time and a place for everything. If you dive too deep into anything, it can get dangerous, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a harmless escape here and there.”

                                                                                                                                 – Ronda Rousey.

“Escape from reality is a necessary ingredient in the recipe of creativity.” 

                                                                                              – Anonymous

Coping Strategies People Use To Avoid Facts

According to a study at the Universität Mannheim, how much time people spend watching television indicates how much they like avoiding situations. These psychologists found that people who need less time for introspection and self-reflection also tend to watch more television. Here are some coping strategies:

Situational avoidance 

Situational avoidance can be an escape in which people attempt to flee or avoid particular things or situations that they find upsetting, distressing, or anxiety-inducing. Situational avoidance can take many different forms. To eliminate social anxiety, someone can, for instance, avoid crowded settings or social groups. Similarly, staying away from circumstances like flying because of a phobia can also be a way to escaping reality from an uncomfortable situation. 

Cognitive avoidance

According to research, studies have shown that cognitive avoidance can be a coping mechanism for stressful circumstances. Escaping Reality, in which people attempt to separate themselves from their daily life issues mentally, is frequently linked to it. For instance, when confronted with pressures related to chronic disease diagnosis, people may use cognitive avoidance tactics to escape the emotional load of the disease momentarily. Like other escaping techniques, cognitive avoidance can have both advantages and detriments. While it can ease discomfort temporarily, it also prevents long-term problem-solving and emotional processing. 

Somatic Avoidance

To avoid facing emotional or psychological facts, those who engage in somatic avoidance strive to remove themselves from their physical sensations. For example, avoiding situations that make you physically uncomfortable or repressing strain- or trauma-related physiological feelings. For instance, a person who has gone through a terrible heartbreak may practice somatic avoidance by avoiding physical reminders or sensations connected to that event.

Protective Avoidance

In this context, protective avoidance is a coping strategy in which people avoid circumstances that make them feel threatened or anxious to safeguard their emotional health. Someone who refrains from applying for jobs out of concern about rejection could serve as an example. They shield themselves from the possible hurt of rejection by abstaining from using. However, they are also giving up the chance to land a job they might like or enhance their quality of life.

Emotional Avoidance

Emotional avoidance is like burying our emotions under the rug, hoping they’ll disappear. It’s when we dodge uncomfortable or distressing feelings instead of facing them head-on. For example, someone might use substance abuse or overeating to numb themselves. But here’s the thing – these temporary distractions only worsen matters in the long run. They can lead to even more emotional distress, mental health problems, and a prolonged healing journey.

Instead, we should focus on building emotional resilience and embracing our emotions. Mindfulness, self-compassion, and therapy are powerful tools that can help us navigate emotional turbulence and promote our overall well-being.

Virtual Reality Trend As a Tool for Escaping from Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) offers a unique escape, immersing users in interactive environments. It transports individuals to inaccessible realms, enabling them to experience situations and landscapes beyond the physical world. VR broadens the spectrum of escaping reality, enhancing tension relief, mood, and creativity from gaming to meditation. However, mindful navigation is crucial, as VR can become a negative form of escaping reality. Finding the balance between virtual escape and real-world engagement is critical.

Books Reading to Escaping from Reality

Books have long been a refuge from the truth of your life, transporting readers into different worlds, times, and perspectives. They are an excellent tool for positive escape, providing mental rest and stimulating imagination.

1. Some excellent choices to lose yourself include J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, a journey into the fantastical realm of Middle-Earth, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which offers a poignant exploration of humanity and morality.

 2. For science fiction enthusiasts, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series presents a future universe where the fate of humanity hangs in the balance.

3. Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment explores the depths of the human psyche through its tormented protagonist, posing profound questions about morality and redemption.

4. Immerse yourself in a rich tapestry of intellectual literature to kill your time productively. George Orwell’s 1984 delves into a dystopian society, provoking contemplation on politics and power. 

5. Finally, for those interested in philosophy, Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra offers a challenging yet rewarding read, delving into themes of morality, truth, and the meaning of existence.

Coping Tools To Avoid the Negative Side of Escaping from Reality

Here are some tools to avoid excessive diversion :

1. Tapping Into Your Creativity

By harnessing our creativity, we can transform our truth into a canvas of exploration and self-expression, achieving fulfillment and satisfaction in our day-to-day lives. It encourages us to confront, rather than evade, our emotional and psychological landscapes. This process can be cathartic and profoundly enlightening, enabling us to understand better our motivations, desires, fears, and dreams.

Creative activities, whether painting, writing, crafting, or even cooking, can serve as therapeutic outlets for expressing emotions, often allowing us to articulate feelings, self-care, spiritual growth or ideas we find challenging to communicate. 

2. Reflection

Reflection is crucial in dealing with excessive diversion. It helps individuals understand their inclination to escape reality, listen to their voice, and prompt critical questions: why do they need to escape? What are they running from? How can they change their situation? Through self-reflection, individuals can address the root causes of discomfort with facts rather than avoiding them.

This process promotes personal growth, self-awareness, and healthier coping mechanisms. It also fosters an appreciation for the present moment, allowing individuals to find contentment in their circumstances instead of constantly seeking escape.

3. Maintaining a balanced lifestyle

Maintaining a balanced lifestyle is crucial. This includes regular exercise, a healthy diet, enough sleep, and social interaction. Physical activities boost mood, reduce tension, and improve well-being. A healthy diet supports brain function and mood regulation, while adequate sleep ensures proper cognitive functioning. Social interaction provides emotional support and a sense of belonging, reducing feelings of isolation.

4. Journaling or writing

Creative outlets like art, journal, writing, can be therapeutic outlets for expressing emotions that may be difficult to articulate. These activities can provide a sense of accomplishment and a means of self-expression, which can help individuals feel more connected and satisfied with their lives.

5. Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy can be incredibly beneficial, providing a secure environment to explore underlying issues and develop healthier coping mechanisms. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), in particular, can help individuals experiencing challenging negative thought patterns and behaviours help to change how they perceive truth.

Stop Avoidance and Start Facing. 

While not facing the situations may offer temporary respite from life’s challenges, it is imperative to confront the truth directly. Avoiding problems only exacerbates them and your healing journey in the long run. Instead of seeking solace in an alternate universe, individuals should bravely face their fears and challenges head-on.

 Acknowledging that every person possesses the inner strength to overcome adversity is crucial. Often, the solutions to our problems lie within us. Tools such as self-reflection, therapy, a well-balanced lifestyle, and creative outlets can equip us with the necessary skills to face life’s challenges rather than evade them. Ultimately, embracing the truth cultivates personal growth, resilience, and a more fulfilling existence or relaxation.  


How to Escape Reality Forever?

Avoiding the situation permanently is not a healthy option. Life includes both positive and negative experiences that shape us. However, temporary strategies like meditation, hobbies, travel, and physical activity can provide a break if you feel overwhelmed. Remember, these are quick solutions, and seeking professional help is essential when needed.

Why am I escaping the truth?

It can be an automatic response to discomfort, a way to seek temporary relief from life’s hardships. However, this can also be a barrier to confronting and resolving underlying issues, ultimately hindering personal growth and resilience.

Why am I addicted to escaping from reality?

Addiction to escaping often stems from a desire to avoid discomfort or unpleasant emotions. It provides a temporary refuge from current situations but may become a chronic response, potentially hindering personal growth, emotional resilience, and effective coping strategies. It’s crucial to find healthier alternatives for stress management.

How do you escape from Reality for a while?

Mindfulness meditation can provide a healthy desire to escaping reality. We can temporarily detach from our surroundings by focusing on breathing and letting go of intrusive thoughts. Reading a captivating book or immersing ourselves in a hobby can offer a pleasant, stress-relieving diversion.

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