SALT LAKE CITY -- Some professionals who help people improve their lives and fight addictions say they're seeing an unusual trend sweep the country -- people are getting more and more addicted to fantasy.
It's happening through books, television, movies and video games.
Life coach Kimberly Giles with Clarity Point Coaching and LDS Life Coaching says women can be addicted to romance novels, but it's a phenomenon that is gripping the younger generation as well. She says girls who get addicted to books like the Twilight series can become disappointed with real relationships.
It happens with movies, too. Romantic comedies aren't bad on their own, but women can get so wrapped up in them that they get upset when their real lives don't match up.
The phenomenon affects boys too. Giles says children who spend all their time playing high-stimulation video games can find talking to people boring and often don't work well with others.
For example, she says boys who spend a lot of time playing the World of Warcraft games are spending time in an alternative universe. They make friends there, they accomplish things there and that's where they want to live and spend their time.
Giles says escape can be good -- to a point. It becomes a bad thing when you are spending so much time in that fantasy world that you are detracting from the time you could be spending with friends and family.
Giles offers the following three suggestions for helping people spend more time engaging in real life:
Instead of video games and TV -- have a real adventure.
First take a look at what your family or individual interests are. Start with some of these interests and start a project together. If your family is interested in sports, set some sport-related goals together. Sign up for the Utah Summer Games and run track together, run the dirty dash or a local 5K. You could train for a long hike or enter a bike race, or maybe just get in shape enough to ride together for fun. If your family is interested in art, take art lessons or a pottery class. Plan a family trip somewhere. Learn how to play an instrument or start your own band.
Make a difference in the world by helping a cause.
Focusing on others always makes you feel great about who you are. So decide on a cause you believe in. Help a charity, put on a play for the local children's hospital, make videos to increase awareness about something you care about, plan a service trip to another country. Even if you lack funds, there are amazing things you can accomplish if you put your mind to it.
Learn how to build better relationships.
Look into groups, counseling, coaching and books that could help you to improve your real relationships. Brush up your skills in communication, learn what others have done to improve their marriages and families. Don't just wish yours was different, be proactive to make changes happen.