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ESCAPISM: NEW STUDY SAYS YOU CAN’T GO AWAY FROM YOUR PROBLEMS

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ESCAPISM: NEW STUDY SAYS YOU CAN'T GO AWAY FROM YOUR PROBLEMS

(CTN News) – The concept of escapism was used to understand the relationship between running, well-being, and addiction in a study published in Frontiers in Psychology.

“Escapism is a common human behavior, but little is known about its motivational underpinnings, how it impacts experiences, and its psychological effects,” explains lead author Frode Stenseng.

Are you running to find something or to get away?

Escapism is defined as “an activity, a form of entertainment, etc. that helps you avoid or forget unpleasant or boring things”. The activities we perform on a daily basis may be interpreted as,” says Stenseng.

The psychological rewards of  include reduced self-awareness, less rumination, and relief from one’s most pressing feelings and thoughts.

As a means of gaining a new perspective, escapism can be beneficial, or it can be harmful if it prevents individuals from addressing pertinent issues.

Escapism that seeks out positive experiences is called adaptive, while escapism that avoids negative experiences is called maladaptive escapism.

Depending on whether it is used for self-expansion or self-suppression, running can be viewed as exploration or evasion.

According to Stenseng, these two forms of stem from two different mindsets: promoting a positive mood or preventing a negative mood.

Self-expansion activities have a broader positive impact and long-term benefits than self-suppression activities, which suppress both positive and negative feelings.

To assess participants’ subjective well-being, 227 recreational runners completed questionnaires assessing escapism, exercise dependence, and satisfaction with life. Both men and women participated in the study, varying in their level of running experience.

The researchers found that there was minimal overlap between runners who preferred self-expansion and runners who preferred self-suppression as forms of escapism. Self-expansion was positively correlated with well-being, whereas self-suppression was negatively correlated with well-being.

In terms of exercise dependence, both modes were associated with it, but the effect of self-suppression was stronger than that of self-acceptance.

In the study, neither the escapism mode nor the amount of time spent running could be linked to age, gender, or exercise time. However, both modes had an impact on exercise dependence.

A preference for self-expansion was still associated with a sense of personal well-being, regardless of whether a person met the criteria for exercise dependence or not.

Despite the fact that exercising dependently reduces its health benefits, feeling less healthy may both cause and result from becoming exercise dependent. Dependence can contribute to feeling less healthy and can also be caused by it.

Similar to positive self-expansion, exercise dependence may be promoted by positive self-expansion.

It is necessary to conduct additional longitudinal studies in order to better understand the motivational dynamics and effects of escapism, according to Stenseng.

The findings may help people to understand what motivates them and could help those who are trying too much to do something that is not healthy.

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