Shifting (TikTok) – Meaning, Origin and Usage

You may have seen #shifting on TikTok, and you may even have watched a few videos of people who are "shifting". What does this concept mean, though? This post explains the fairly novel phenomenon, as well as how you can use "shifting" in a sentence.


The word "shifting" has various meanings. In the context of TikTok, however, it refers to "reality shifting", a phenomenon in which practitioners allegedly meditate their way into an alternate or parallel reality.

People who practice shifting may be called "shifters". The realities which they wish to reach may be historical or fictional, or be alternate versions of the world in which we live.

For some, "shifting" may be a way to meditate or daydream. Others simply use this recent trend to amass views and followers. Yet others may truly believe they are entering an alternate reality.

​Example Usage

Learning how to use the concept of shifting in a sentence is arguably easier than understanding what shifting means. These examples illustrate how shifting is used in practice:

  • "Quit wishing you could really go to Hogwarts and try shifting! You could meet Draco Malfoy and try Quidditch."
  • "Most people believe that you need to write a script for shifting to successfully enter your desired reality."
  • "Could shifting, one of the latest trends among internet-obsessed youth, prove to be dangerous?"


"Shifting", as the word is used in the broader English language, simply means "changing place or position". It comes from the Old English scyftan, which meant arranging, placing, or distributing. The Old English was itself taken from the Proto-Germanic skiftan, meaning to change or divide.

In the context of TikTok, "shifting" is short for "reality shifting" — the concept that it is possible to travel to an alternate reality of your choice by way of practices that include meditating, often just before you are about to go to sleep, and writing a script.

Shifting rose to popularity in the year 2020, when internet articles explaining the concept began appearing and it was defined on Urban Dictionary as "going to another parallel reality".

It is interesting to note that many scientists and philosophers alike embrace the idea that a "multiverse" is theoretically possible and even likely. In this scenario, countless other universes exist alongside our own. Some might be radically different, while others are nearly identical.

TikTok shifters do not merely claim to be able to shift to a parallel world, however, but to a target "desired reality" of their own making. This includes fictional universes, such as the Harry Potter universe or the Marvel universe, which originated in the minds of creative writers.

Shifters claim to be able to alter these worlds to their own liking — in their own desired reality, for example, a fictional character may be their boyfriend or girlfriend, or they may play an important role in saving the world.

Reading the Reality Shifting Wiki Fandom suggests that shifting is more than a creative concept to some practitioners. Some truly believe they are shifting to a new reality. Most likely use shifting as a creative way to daydream, however.

​Words Similar to Shifting

Similar concepts include:

  • Lucid dreaming, in which someone is aware of the fact that they are dreaming and able to steer the "plot" of their dream in a particular direction.
  • Immersive daydreaming, daydreams that imagine so deeply that they seem lifelike.
  • Meditation, which can allow experienced practitioners to achieve a trance-like state in which reality appears altered.

​Words Related to Shifting

"Shifters" also commonly refer to:

  • Scripts, the words they use to enter their alternate realities.
  • A desired reality, the place shifters try to reach.
  • Methods, which are the steps taken to reach an alternate reality.
  • The current reality — the world we live in.

​What Is the Correct Word?

The correct word, "shifting", is short for "reality shifting". It refers to the idea that people can use mental methods to transport themselves to alternate realities.

​Ways People May Say Shifting Incorrectly

Some people may take "shifting" to be indistinguishable from daydreaming, but proponents claim that they truly reach a different world, or that the experience is much more immersive.

​Acceptable Ways to Phrase Shifting

You can use "shifting" to talk about the practice of trying to reach alternate, including fictional, realities. If you are planning to try this, you can say you are "going to shift", and if you have already done so, you can say you have "shifted".

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