By Arvind M. Dhople, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Florida Tech

Laziness may reflect a lack of self-esteem, a lack of positive recognition by others, a lack of discipline stemming from low self-confidence, or a lack of interest in the activity or belief in its efficacy.  Laziness is disinclination to activity or exertion despite having the ability to act or to exert oneself.  It is often used as a prerogative, terms for a person seen to be lazy include “coach potato” and “slacker”.

                Laziness may manifest as procrastination or vacillation.  Studies of motivation suggests that laziness may be caused by a decreased level of motivation, which in turn can be caused by over-stimulation or excessive impulses or distractions.  These increase the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for reward and pleasure.  The more dopamine that is released, the greater intolerance one has for valuing and accepting productive and rewarding action.  This desensitization leads to dulling of the neural patterns and affects negatively the anterior insula of the brain responsible for risk perception.

                ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) specialists say engaging in multiple activities can cause behavioral problems such as attention/focus failure or perfectionism and subsequently pessimism.  In these circumstances laziness can manifest as a negative coping mechanism (aversion), the desire to avoid certain situations in the hopes of countering certain experiences and preconceived ill results.

                A French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan theory says laziness is the “acting out” of archetypes (from Greek: ãrkhö, ‘to begin’ + tüpos, ‘sort, type’) from societal programming and negative child rearing practices.  Boredom is sometimes conflated with laziness.  An outlook found to be helpful is “being mindful and not looking for ways out of it, simultaneously to be also open to creative and active options if they should arise.”  It points out that a relentless engaging in activities without breaks can cause oscillations of failure, which may result in mental health issues.

                Get more sleep seems to be such a popular thing to say, but it really is true.  I felt like I was born again even after just one day of letting myself to be completely lazy and not to think about any commitment at all.  I can only wonder how it felt when I spent more time like that.

                Obviously, none of us has a luxury of napping and reading all day.  But taking just a day every week, or spending just 20-30 minutes every day doing something really relaxing could probably make a big difference.  We could add these 30 minutes to our sleep by going to bed earlier, or read a book or take a rest from exercise if we are actually feeling tired.