What is Escapism?

Escapism is when an individual chooses to place their focus on things they find pleasant and enjoyable instead of real life, in other words the day to day realities we all face. There is a certain amount of escapism which can be healthy, this helps to avoid depression due to daily struggles, there is also a way in which it is taken to an extreme and cause individuals to become obsessed and in the end completely ignore their reality, this can be quite detrimental.

One of the initial practices of the human species in development is healthy escapism. If we look at for example the early cave paintings or perhaps carvings, it seems to indicate that even way back then there was a human need to focus on more than just the day to day tasks and escape even for just a little while. It may seem as if some of these practices were of little use, however any kind of escape from the mundane was obviously appreciated.


If we apply this concept to our modern day lives, we could see that perhaps watching your favorite TV or sports show, reading a book, listening to music or playing a video game are all forms of healthy escapism. If this is occasionally done as a way to briefly escape from reality there is not much harm there.


There are those who believe that this type of behavior can lead to addiction. One of recent subjects undergoing scrutiny is the addiction to the internet which seems to becoming quite vast. Perhaps it is used to work, or maybe to have an online relationship as opposed to a real life relationship, perhaps downloading music constantly surfing pornogrphy, regardless of what it is, what starts out as a simple search can turn into an obsession to constantly be on the computer and internet.


Another example of unhealthy escapism would be those who are overly enthusiastic fans of books, series and movies etc. There are people who view comic book fans or Trekkies who try to live their lives as their favorite characters even to the point of dressing as them have become lost in a world of fantasy. There may even be hardworking fans who are devoted to work and home but long to live in a different reality, one which seems a better option than the one they actually live in.

There are even day to day activities such as sleeping, eating etc. which if practiced in excess can be perceived as an act of escapism. Let’s take eating, the mere act of eating in itself is not unhealthy but if one were to begin to overeat due to emotional or physical stress, this can not only cause all kinds of health problems such as obesity, diabetes etc but also mental issues such as insecurities and depression.

In today’s society we can clearly see why everyone tends to use a bit of escapism, from the news which only seems to become worse and more violent and twisted, to our work situations, relationship problems and even learning to deal with ourselves, we all desire a bit of an escape from time to time.

That being said, if the activity used to escape becomes out of control and excessive it may cause us to become numb to the reality we are living in our day to day lives. This can lead to very unhealthy addictions, marriages and relationships that are destroyed and not being able to actually make it in the real world. There is a fine line between healthy and moderate escapism and unhealthy excessive escapism, one can help us to live more productive and happy lives and the other can cause us to ruin our lives.

10 Signs to Know if You are an Escapists

Here are ten signs that will help you be aware if you are being an escapists, some are positive and others are negative:

Positive Signs

  • You have a very creative side.
  • You are prone to frequent daydreaming sessions.
  • The idea of traveling the world excites you.
  • You believe that your life should be lived according to your terms and no one else’s.
  • Book on fiction such as sci-fi and fantasy not only appeal to you, they tend to be your favorites.

Negative Signs

  • Addiction to certain things such as video games or surfing the web.
  • A tendency for procrastination.
  • You daydream about quitting your job which can actually cause you to not perform well at your job.
  • You have come to the conclusion that the world is nothing but harsh.
  • Facing uncertainty is not something you are capable of doing.