Breaking Down the Myths of Being Lazy

By September 20, 2021Mental Health

The time to end the stigma of being lazy is now. Laziness is not a counterproductive behavior, and people should not feel discouraged or shamed if they choose active rest. The list of benefits of being lazy is endless, including increasing a person’s physical and mental well-being.

Encouraging your clients to indulge in laziness may take time because most people don’t understand the benefits. However, as a mental health or addiction therapist, you have an opportunity to explain why a client should embrace the act of doing nothing.

The Word Lazy

The connotation of laziness can conjure images of a person lying around while letting others do all the work. Oxford Languages defines laziness as the unwillingness of a person to work or use energy. However, people who incorporate laziness into their daily routine reap health benefits just by taking downtime. Lazy people permit themselves to do nothing and avoid tasks just to stay busy. Being lazy is taking time to relax, unwind, and let the brain rest.

Society places value in constant activity even if that activity produces nothing of significance. Activities such as scrolling social media sites, reading news or stock market updates, or another form of distraction are viewed as rest. However, these acts of filling up time fail to create the rest needed for productivity.

The Focused Mind

Ask your client to think about how much time they spend participating in activities each day. People can identify several different types of actions performed throughout the day. Those who remain focused on their goals or work are called “hustlers” or “goal diggers” by some. These nicknames refer to those who are constantly working towards their future.

Society glorifies the active person. In fact, there are articles and magazines dedicated to telling people how to improve concentration. Goal-oriented people who work long hours are often used as examples for getting ahead.

When you ask your client what being focused and productive means to them, listen to their examples. Do they emphasize task completion? Researchers at Harvard University explain how concentration is an effective tool to complete tasks or move forward.

The Unfocused Mind

A constant state of focus can decrease creativity and increase exhaustion. Your focus-oriented clients aren’t wrong for wanting to achieve more in little time, but teaching them to be unfocused is essential to their well-being and, consequently, mental stamina.

An unfocused mind doesn’t mean a person’s mind is inactive. The stigma of being lazy creates an interesting problem. Teaching your client to embrace laziness also addresses negative emotions such as guilt.

Does your client feel guilty if they are doing nothing? Sometimes people experience guilt if they take time for themselves. Perhaps they don’t feel comfortable taking the time to recover from the continuous flow of information they encounter throughout their day. Work with your client on understanding what the lazy mind can accomplish.

Unplug, Unfocus, and Create

The unfocused mind aids in a person’s creativity. Benjamin Baird, Jonathan Smallwood, and Jonathan W. Schooler conducted a study examining how being unfocused can increase creativity. The study examined how individuals can go forward past their current environment, affording the person mental freedom.

Letting the mind wander is counterproductive if a person is trying to complete a task on a deadline. However, when the mind wanders, socio-cognitive goals are often met. When a person allows their mind to drift off, they connect their current concerns with spontaneous thought. Their mind-wandering is often directed at achieving a goal. A benefit of letting the mind wander is a person’s imagination potentially leads to anticipating and devising ways to achieve goals relevant to the person.

Often, people have creative ideas when they aren’t focusing on searching for a solution or idea or moving towards a goal. The easiest way to explain how being lazy is beneficial is to ask your client when they last had a great idea. Sometimes an idea comes to a person when they aren’t hyperfocused on the issue. Instead, the solution as a creative alternative occurs when a person exercises, watches TV, or participates in mindless activity.

The Benefits of Being Lazy

Suppose your client is hesitant or doesn’t believe that being lazy can increase well-being. Here are a few benefits to share about being lazy.

  • Laziness increases focus on long-term goals. How? In the article “Letting go of the present: Mind-wandering is associated with reduced delay discounting,” researchers found that when a person lets their mind wander, they are more likely to think about long-term goals and their future.
  • Being lazy equates to being well-rested. The benefits of sleep are so well-known that a simple Google search can direct you to countless articles. Some of the health payoffs include:
  • Improved memory
  • Increased attention span
  • Decreased stress
  • Those who are lazy are less likely to experience burnout. Taking time for yourself is self-care, a timeout for the mind and body.
  • Lazy people are less likely to waste time. Conversely, people who value their time are more likely to evaluate whether or not an activity is worth their time or energy.
  • Binge-watching tv can increase emotional intelligence. Of course, not all shows are created equal, but a study from the University of Oklahoma discovered watching tv dramas can increase a person’s ability to detect emotion, increasing empathy.
  • The desire to rest after completing a task improves efficiency, meaning rest motivates the mind. While completing the job, an individual is more likely to pay attention to details because they don’t want to spend time starting over to fix issues.

Laziness is something a person should embrace. The time spent doing nothing is time spent mind-wandering, which in moderation increases a person’s well-being. While mindlessness can derail a person from a task, it can also provide several benefits. The freedom to let the mind wander increases a person’s creativity. Laziness is more than its definition and stigma. When a person is lazy, they are putting their mind in recovery mode. Athletes and those who regularly exercise understand the importance of a rest day. They actively take time to recover physically while allowing time for the mind to float. Alta Centers understands the importance of freeing the brain and redefining rest. Our private location in the Hollywood Hills provides the perfect opportunity to rest in a serene environment. We encourage individuals to find creativity and healthy solutions. Our detoxification program focuses on the unique needs of each person. To learn more, call us at (888) 202-2583.

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