The trauma of pandemic life has left many people yearning for a sense of escapism – some took to gaming, others to crafting. Now, Gen Z's desire to get away is playing out in the form of ‘reality shifting’ – a TikTok trend that involves shifting consciousness from one reality to another.
Described by @beashifting as the act of "moving your consciousness from one reality to another reality,” so-called reality shifting is taking off on TikTok, with videos featuring the hashtag #shiftingrealities gaining over 1.7 billion views. The trend, which is particularly popular among Gen Zers, involves using scripts, music, breathing, and visualisation techniques to enter into a dream-like state within another realm. “Ever since I was little, I have used daydreaming and lucid dreaming as an escape from my reality. About one year ago, I came across shifting and I immediately felt drawn to it,” explains 15-year-old Mavi, a member of the shifting community. “Shifting feels like real life. I have only shifted to Hogwarts once [but] it was amazing.”
As i-D notes, fictional worlds are prevalent alternate realities explored by the shifting community. With 53% of Gen Zers expressing a penchant for fantasy fiction, the reality shifting trend provides yet another example of this cohort's love of all things fantastical. It can also be read as a reflection of Gen Z’s appetite for adventure and escapism after the pandemic placed significant restrictions on what's available to them IRL. Brands looking to appeal to Gen Zers’ fondness for fantasy would do well to understand the significance of fantasy worlds and spiritual practices as spaces of recovery and escape from a tough reality.