Escapism vs. Living in the Moment

How often do we stumble through days, feeling just blah, not quite on top of the game, getting the necessary stuff done, but thinking about how good it will feel to sit and zone out watching TV or playing computer games or whatever your preferred method of zoning out is?

How many hours do we lose by not thinking about them? What epiphanies do we miss having by shutting our brains down?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of emptying my head and entertaining my brain with fluffy stuff on a regular basis. But sometimes it gets to be a habit. One of my favorite things to do, and probably one of the most dangerous to my productivity and attitude, is to read novels. I love to read, and my favorite genre is kids’ fantasy.

Sometimes, I read in order to escape thinking. I’ve been described as “negative” and “critical” more than once.  Given the wrong set of circumstances, my head has the potential to take me down some dark, uncomfortable paths.  While exploring those scary places can be beneficial, much more often, it’s better to follow the advice of the Carter Family and “keep on the sunny side.”

When you feel the veil of sadness creeping up and tugging you towards a damp, creepy line of thinking, the easiest thing to do is submit. Let go and be sad for a day. Two at the most.  Zone out. Eat bad food. Read novels. Watch bad TV. Whatever you do. Then it’s time to get  yourself in hand and try to find some sunshine.

Action usually works. Just get up and do something, preferably something that will get you closer to your goals. If you don’t have goals, figuring out one or two might be a good way to pull yourself out of the doldrums. If you aren’t quite up to doing something that feels important, choose a menial task. Washing the dishes works pretty well.

If menial housework doesn’t do it for you, find something you can do for someone else. This one works nearly every time. Drag yourself out of your bubble and do a good deed. It doesn’t really matter who, but help someone. For a real mood-boost do something nice for someone who has recently irritated you.

Plant something. It could be a literal seed or an idea or maybe even a big, juicy kiss. If you go with the literal seed, you will get to see it grow and change, choose the idea and there’s no guessing where it will lead; plant a kiss and you’ll probably get a smile.

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