Laziness: Why it Exists and How to Overcome Chronic Laziness
Australian researchers have identified a new condition characterized
by extreme laziness: motivational deficiency disorder (MoDeD).
MoDeD is far different from being a couch potato when you
get home from work or sleeping in late on a Sunday morning.
Instead, motivational deficiency disorder is described as
overwhelming and debilitating apathy.
People with motivational deficiency disorder are more
than just couch potatoes; they lack a desire to feel
or do just about anything.
In cases when a person loses even the motivation to breathe,
the condition can be fatal, researchers said.
Though the condition is thought to affect up to one in five
Australians -- with an economic impact of $1.7 billion a year
-- little is known about the causes of or treatments for motivational
"This disorder is poorly understood," says neurologist
Leth Argos, who is one of the researchers that identified
MoDeD. "It is underdiagnosed and undertreated."
What is Laziness?
Laziness, as defined by the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary,
is a disinclination to activity or exertion. While we all
feel lazy once in a while, someone who is suffering from extreme
laziness would feel this way chronically.
Laziness is not an illness or a mental illness (unless it
is the extreme form described above), but it can be a symptom
of one, including:
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Laziness can also develop after a period of intense work
or stress, and in this way may actually be the body's way
of protecting itself and getting the rest it needs to recuperate.
Lazy or Just Not Motivated?
According to Mel Levine, M.D., a professor of pediatrics
at the University of North Carolina Medical School and director
of its Clinical Center for the Study of Development and Learning,
the desire to be productive is universal.
However, a person's drive can become frustrated by various
things -- causing a person to lose it altogether (until those
dysfunctions are remedied). For instance, a child who has
a language production dysfunction may not be able to express
his or her thoughts and may give up. Or, a person
whose ideas are constantly ignored at work may decide
there is no point in trying.
"When we call someone lazy, we condemn a human being,"
writes Mel Levine in his book The
Myth of Laziness.
"We gain energy and feel good about ourselves whenever
our personal output wins the approval, the acceptance, the
respect of our friends, our families, our bosses (or teachers)
and, most of all, our self-critical selves," he continues.
Everyone deserves a lazy day once in a while, but if
laziness is starting to interfere with your life, check
out the five tips to overcome it below.
Levine believes that when a person's natural output is interrupted
-- by failing to produce for whatever reason -- they have
"output failure," a condition that is not laziness
but is rather a neuro-developmental dysfunction (which could
be anything from having trouble writing or speaking to lacking
organizational skills). This can cause difficulties throughout
adulthood if not remedied.
How to Overcome Laziness
If you or someone you know is experiencing chronic laziness,
the following tips can help to get back on track.
Do something that motivates you. All too often, laziness
stems from boredom or a complete disinterest in your daily
tasks. If you don't feel that your work is rewarding,
careers. Likewise, if your child isn't inherently
motivated to do schoolwork, set up a reward system that
gives him or her something to work toward. Also, if a
particular task seems overwhelming to you or your child
(and therefore causes you to not do it), take small steps
to make the task more manageable.
Exercise. The more time that passes without taking action,
the easier it is to fall into the laziness trap. Exercise
is an excellent way to boost your energy levels and put
you in a better mood -- so you're ready to face a new
Rule out illness. If you lack the desire to do anything,
you may be suffering from an illness such as depression
or the newly defined motivational deficiency disorder.
When laziness becomes chronic or overwhelming, you should
talk to your health care provider.
Make a change in your life. Sometimes, just the routine
of daily life can lead to laziness. If you feel your daily
routine is turning into monotony, sign up for a class
at your local community college, volunteer at your town's
animal shelter or call up a friend to play tennis.
Surround yourself with supportive people. When laziness
begins to set in, one of the worst things you can do is
surround yourself with other lazy people. Instead, actively
seek out people -- in both professional and personal settings
-- who will support your ideas, encourage your success
and embrace you as a person.
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Australian Scientists Discover New Disease
Myth of Laziness