Whether it’s reading a trashy gossip mag or watching a YouTuber’s vlog about getting their nails done, every now and again we all need to escape from our own lives by becoming absorbed in someone else’s. Yes, it can feel like you’re wasting your life away, but God, it’s therapeutic! And if you ask us, there’s no better way to do that than with The Sims. The life simulation computer game (which turned 18 last month. Feel old yet?) was — and is — the ultimate way to disengage from real life. For those of you who actually spent your time outdoors growing up, the game essentially allows you to play God by creating an alternate universe with families and houses (PS. if you weren’t just creating your friends, family, mortal enemies and crushes, you were playing it wrong).
It all sounds a little unhealthy, right? But according to new research, it’s actually quite the opposite! New research has concluded that escaping with a virtual reality computer game can actually make you healthier, happier and more creative in real life.
“The Sims can allow a person to escape social normality, its pressures and chronic stresses that are so prevalent in the real world, it allows the gamer to create a perfect reality in which they play the main character and have full control over the outcome. It is important to remember that immersing yourself in your imagination periodically is actually a very positive form of escapism and is considered important for our brain functions as it can expand our creativity. It allows the gamer to express a part of their personality that they may not have known if they hadn’t played. Albert Einstein once said ‘creativity is intelligence having fun’.
Our consciousness is very adaptable and allows us to create an opening to different paradigms of reality every time we focus on alternate versions of life through our thoughts. With the assistance of life simulation games such as The Sims, we can enhance our inner experience. Without escapism, we would simply burn out. It’s the main reason why we dream at night when we sleep as it’s our minds way of disengaging from the state of conscious living.”— Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown via UNILAD
The Sims is just the beginning of the virtual reality movement which is about to transform our lives as we know it. Obviously, it’s possible to overdo it with tools that allow you to escape from everyday life (especially if you’re under a lot of stress) and this isn’t a positive thing. McKeown says: “The more we escape the real world and spend more time in a world of fantasy the less we engage in actual social interaction.” So, while you shouldn’t feel guilty about indulging in games like The Sims every now and again, it’s important to ensure you’re getting enough IRL connection in your life.
Feeling a little lonely? Check out our guide to making new friends as an adult.