Coping strategies come to our aid in dealing with distressful events, the pressures faced during a long day at the office or the exhaustion of dealing with the obstacles we face in our daily lives. Be it a disagreement with a loved one or time spent worrying over the future of the ongoing pandemic, we can choose from a delectable selection of coping mechanisms to escape what is real and present.
Scrolling through a favoured social media app, trying to beat someone’s high score on a videogame, watching a film, kicking back with the latest book of your favourite author – the choice is endless. They all help us to get away from what is real and difficult. For a while, they give an escape to a fantasy land where there are no responsibilities or conflicts.
If we aren’t careful, a seemingly unharming stress buster, can turn into our personal vortex of escapism. Reality is hard and the truth we encounter when we have that long pending conversation with ourselves can be difficult to accept.
It does, however, make us stop and take account of what is wrong, why have we been avoiding it and the way forward. Just being able to have this conversation with ourselves will calm the overbearing need to hide away, whenever life gets too tough, in a web series we may have watched over five times already.
Setbacks and failures come with a shot at change for us. Being ranked 9th, when only 8 spots were available, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam narrowly missed his chance to see his childhood dream of becoming an Indian Air Force pilot come true. After this failure, Dr. Kalam walked around meditatively for a while till he reached the edge of a cliff and decided to go to Rishikesh and “seek a new way forward.”
Dr. Kalam came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology.
Of his subsequent success, Dr. Kalam said,
“It is only when we are faced with failure do we realize that these resources were always there within us. We only need to find them and move on with our lives,”
Mindfulness and meditation help us see the immense capability we haven’t had the chance to unlock. The quiet time that we dedicate to ourselves, helps our inner disconcertion to be heard, addressed and remedied. This practice in self-reflection lets us have the conversation with ourselves which we have been avoiding. The truth may be harsh, but as it is said, the best way out is always through.
Meditation calms the mind and gives you the courage to tame your detrimental impulses. It helps you to take stock of your life. When we feel the need to escape reality, thinking ahead of the consequence and not acting upon the desire, will ensure no regret or self-deprecatory thoughts. Foreseeing the consequence of our impulse, makes it less alluring and weakens our desire to act upon that impulse. As Lord Krishna, in the Bhagvad Gita had called desire the “ever-present enemy of the wise…which like a fire, cannot find satisfaction.”
If we are able to see past the time wasted on a TV show that could have been spent in a more productive and creative manner, the habit of escaping when faced with failure ameliorates with time. We can spend that time by addressing the problem that plagues us, which we originally were trying to run away from.
Meditation alleviates anxiety, irritability and curbs our cantankerous nature. It gives us control of our mind and introduces emotional stability. For battling the seemingly endless loop of escapism, we just need to go within us.