Don’t worry, be lazy
Science Focus: Laziness gets a bad rap. We’re constantly being told we should do more, work harder, maximise productivity. But there’s another side to the story. Being lazy, it turns out, can be good for both our physical and our mental health.
In fact, it may even be at the heart of what makes us human – and it’s certainly a successful strategy for the sloth. In fact, it might be time to live life in the slow lane.In a now-famous study carried out in 1999, psychologist Dr Robert Levine analysed the pace of life in cities in 31 countries, measuring things such as the speed at which people walk and the time it takes post office staff to hand out stamps. He found that the fastest pace of life was in Western Europe and Japan, and the fastest-living countries also had the highest rates of coronary heart disease.
When British psychologist Prof Richard Wiseman repeated the experiment in 2006 by simply measuring walking speed, he found the pace of life had increased by 10 per cent.Dr Stephanie Brown, a psychologist who’s written a book on the topic, describes our hunger for fast-paced living as an addiction. “People can’t stop wanting to go faster,” says Brown. “You begin to need more and more time on the computer. People talk about sleeping with their phones. You start to log on first thing in the morning. You cannot not do it. Your behaviours start looking like that first drink in the morning. You need it.”