Opinion: Reading is a healthy form of escapism

For as long as I can remember, reading has been my way of escaping everyday life. There is no better feeling than opening up a book and being able to connect with the characters and get lost in the plot. It really does not matter what type of book I am reading, Jane Austen or Celeste Ng, as long as I am able to connect with the characters.

Escapism is a mental diversion that allows individuals to ignore their everyday life. It is usually done through activities that involve imagination or entertainment. There are many different forms of escapism that individuals use such as drugs, alcohol, self harm, etc. These are all examples of unhealthy ways to escape, but reading is usually considered a healthy alternative.  

I remember when I first read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, I was sitting on the bay window in my room listening to Abbey Road on repeat, or the time I read Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks I was in Mykonos, Greece listening to Banks. I read to be able to take a break from all the thoughts I have. I know that I will always have a book that will be there when I need a break from school, or just life in general. I go through different periods when I get deeply involved in reading. These periods usually come around when I am the most stressed about something in my life. 

Reading and other forms of healthy escapism give people the distraction they might need from everything else going on. Not everyone needs a complete escape from their daily lives but reading allows them to be able to shift their awareness from thoughts that might be clouding their brain. 

Because I use reading as a form of escapism I can always remember the situations I was in when I was reading a particular book. I am the type of person who reads and listens to music at the same time. It does not matter what kind of music it is whether it is rap, alternative, classical, or pop, I pick it based on the feeling I get from the book. It allows me to really focus on the book and not get distracted by other thoughts or noises around me. People have different ways that they choose to escape, some being unhealthy and some being healthy, but reading is my escape. 

Stefania Bitton  

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