Picture this: you’re an average everyday person who needs a way to unwind, but you are feeling rather lazy today. You go to Facebook and ask your collection of friends for some idea on what to do. You end up receiving two replies.
The first is from an old high school chum named Steve who believes your free time is bent spent with your head buried in a book recounting the political strife and economic factors that contributed to the decline of the Byzantine Empire, and how it is represented in their discourse. “It’s relevant to today’s geopolitical sphere,” he says.
The second reply you get is from Cassie, who has eight cats, all named after the cast of High School Musical. She suggests you watch the new Gilmore Girls on Netflix. Or maybe High School Musical.
So which Would You Choose?
If you went with the discourse on a thousand-year-old empire, well I applaud your enthusiasm for knowledge from lands far away in both time and place. I also assume you are a bit like Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. Most people, however, would go with the Gilmore Girls (their banter is rather witty.)
Why are humans like that? Why do we usually prefer the easy lifting rather than the heavy load of thought at the end of the day? The reason has to do with meta-healing that goes on when you indulge in a bit of escapism. It’s your break from the life of harsh realities. It’s how you heal.
You Don’t Escape Life; You Just Pause It
In the modern world with our focus on productivity and success, escapism has gotten a bit of a bad wrap. People today are always thinking big and trying to “make the most,” of every situation. We ignore the small things in life in a constant quest for relevance.
The truth is though, There’s nothing wrong with a little piece of escapism. In fact there are multiple types of escapism, and some are absolutely necessary for your overall mental health.
There is bad escapism of course. Drinking your problems away or using and trying to escape through drugs is an all too typical cliche of this type. Reading can be it too. When I had social issues in school, I buried myself in science fiction books. Simply finding a way to hide from your problems usually only makes them worse.
Good escapism can be learning a new school or tending your garden. It’s something you’ve learned to channel for your overall good. This isn’t to say the type of escapism that Gilmore Girls can’t be the right kind because it has no long term benefits – it comes down to you to differentiate between what helps you overall and what does not.
Simple Can be Simply Good
A little repression and avoidance can go a long way towards your mental health as long as they are used in moderation. The words typically have a negative context, but if you understand when you should let your brain forget a bit, it can be a potent weapon for further productivity in the future.
Back to our original question. There is a real reason most will choose the easy activity rather than the more difficult when they want to relax. It lets our brain take a break. I know this all sounds obvious, but it bears saying. Humans have evolved to want to give our brains a break.
Nostalgia for the innocence of childhood is something we don’t readily accept within our longing for relaxation very often, but it is there. We like to feel childish and relate to a time when things were easier. Though our brains develop quite a bit over time – we are never truly a different person than we were when we found great pleasure in childish nonsense. If you look at most popular comedies – one of the best relaxers – you see childishness abound.
Comfort food is another great example of simple pleasures that help us avoid the realities. Most don’t relax with fantastic dishes; we enjoy something simple that tastes good – look at the majority of “comfort food” available and you’ll see what I mean.
So these stolen moments of nothingness are simply your way of helping your brain and body hit the reset button. They are hard-wired into us. Remind yourself of that when society guilts you for taking a break. Without breaks, we could never be as productive.
Think of it more like the screensaver on a computer. Running at full speed all the time simply isn’t healthy, and just going into sleep mode isn’t always practical either.
Games may require some skill and thought, something theoretically the opposite of relaxing, but their ability to pull us out of the real world and into the game world has shown to go a long way towards us letting our cares go. Letting worry go is more efficient even than simply taking a rest from thought – actively engaging your brain in an unrelated activity – completely separate from your everyday thoughts – can do wonders. This is why chess has been around in various forms for a couple of thousand years. It’s also why some people can find that book on the Byzantines just as relaxing.
Spin & Heal
Slot machine games are as simple as it gets. Can’t argue anything else. You simply hit a button and hope. Then you just go ahead and do it all over again. Its simple, but its actively engaging and distracting. The stakes keep you drawn to it, and the simplicity helps you relax. You can think of which slot is best for you in our reviews like the Dracula slot review. It’s a two in one, and this is why slots have continued to be widely popular forms of escapism for over a hundred years.
Meta-healing requires you to completely divest yourself from reality. Its why we love slots, they maintain your entire focus as long as that reel is spinning. There are few things like it for those few moments. The chance that it can lead to instant win at any moment, the hope – it helps you engaged fully.
All life needs the yin and the yang. Treat yourself right and you will find you have the capacity to work harder than ever. Its always easier to push when you know you have a reward waiting.