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Homeopathy and Laziness

Procrastination and laziness. We’ve all been there… You have the ability, time, and resources to complete a task… so what’s stopping you?

Homeopathy and Laziness 1

Imagine you have a task to do. It could be the laundry strewn across your floor. It could be writing your Presidential acceptance speech.

Either way, it’s ticking away in your mind like a time bomb, and it urgently needs to be done. But instead of starting the task…you open up Netflix.

We’ve all been there…so what’s going on? You have the ability, time, and resources to complete it…so what’s stopping you? It’s like an invisible wall, isn’t it?

Your parents and teachers probably had a word for this: “laziness”: a moral failure worthy of blame and punishment. But laziness, ironically enough, is itself a lazy concept.

The brain is a complex beast, and to understand why we’re failing to do something requires more than moralistic judgment, it requires understanding.

Laziness is not bad. It is morally neutral. Just as panic is an unhealthy expression of a healthy emotion (fear), or rage is an unhealthy expression of a healthy emotion (anger), laziness is the bitter fruit of a useful tree. We neglect that tree at our peril.

Imagine an animal that works tirelessly at every task, no matter how pointless. It digs a burrow for itself…and then digs ten more burrows beside it, just to be safe. It finds enough food to eat…and then keeps gathering food, even though it can’t eat it and the excess will spoil.

As you can imagine, such indiscriminate industriousness would be maladaptive: the animal would exhaust itself and die.

Clearly, a degree of laziness is evolutionarily useful. We are programmed to differentiate between important, necessary work and unimportant, unnecessary work.

And when combined with our ability to rationalize (“how important is cleaning my room, really? It’s not like the world will end if I don’t do it…”) it’s no surprise when necessary tasks get mistakenly lumped into a mental “do not do” basket.

What is surprising is that the more important a task is, the less we want to do it.

In psychology, this is termed the Overjustification Effect, and was illustrated by Undermining children’s intrinsic interest with extrinsic reward (MR Lepper · 1973). In this study, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, it was noted that children who played with markers did so less when they expected to receive an award for doing so.

Many artists have fallen prey to the Overjustification effect: they were happy to draw, or paint, or write for free. But as soon as they started getting paid to do it, their motivation vanished.

It’s theorized that we do things because of an internal motivation (it fulfills our sense of self), and once this internal motivation is replaced by an external one (“I have to clean my room, or mom will get mad at me!”) we find this hollow and unfulfilling, and no longer want to do it.

In short, we don’t like to do things because of pressure from others. The desire has to come from within.

All of this dovetails fascinatingly with homeopathic thinking. It proposes that “the patient, not the cure” is important: sickness comes from inside, and so does the restoration to health. If you’ve lost the will to do a thing, then external pressure will never re-light that particular fire. Only you can do it.

Homeopathy has much to say on mental states, including laziness and procrastination. For example, consider the keynotes of the remedy Agaricus muscarius, which include:

  • Dullness of mind, laziness and lack of motivation in the morning.
  • Anxiety about health with an extreme fear of cancer.
  • Excited and ecstatic states.
  • Clumsy awkward children who are fearless of climbing, running, etc. ‘Dare-devils’.
  • Restlessness with poor focus or comprehension.

…or those of Capsicum annum:

  • Sadness or depression – can become suicidal.
  • Nostalgia – longing for the past.
  • Homesickness.
  • Ailments after moving house or changing countries.
  • Dislike change to the daily routine.
  • Laziness or lack of motivation.
  • Indifferent to cleanliness.

… and even common Sulphur:

  • Theorizing and expansive ideas but lack of attention to appearance.
  • Lazy and messy.
  • Lack energy and tire easily.
  • Dislike washing or bathing.
  • Not concerned about appearance.

While there’s a lot of cross-over in the laziness symptoms of these three and other potentially useful remedies, the key to choosing a corrective one is to make sure it matches other co-existing physical symptoms the “lazy” person experiences.

And while we’re sure that “excited and ecstatic states” of Agaricus muscarius describes a lot of you, laziness isn’t just not wanting to do something. It’s being distracted by something else. Particularly something bright and shiny and internet-y.

One of the most fun terms to arise in the internet age is “productive procrastination”. It’s where you don’t do the thing you really want or should do, but your bed is made, your house is clean, and your sink is shining and spotless.

If you engage in this, there’s hope. You clearly are not lazy. You have powerful mental energies you can channel: they’re just being misdirected somehow, and it’s up to you to get them flowing again, perhaps with the help of homeopathy.

Of course, chronic and life-limiting symptoms of laziness are best treated with the help of a qualified homeopath to manage the changes in potencies and remedies that may be required.

But for those suffering mental roadblocks, there’s hope: maybe a fix is easier than we think. Good news for the lazy!