The Wisdom of Slowness: Lessons We Can Learn from Lazy Animals

The Wisdom of Slowness: Lessons We Can Learn from Lazy Animals

Have you ever been called lazy? Well, that may not necessarily be a bad thing. Recently, researchers have been looking into the power of being “lazy”, the value in slowing down, and taking cues from nature’s laziest creatures, like the sloth. In our fast-paced, high-stress human lives, animals offer us valuable lessons in surviving and thriving by embracing a slower, more deliberate pace.

Sloths, often characterized as lazy, shaggy creatures, are masters of energy efficiency. Amelia Symeou, an ecology coordinator for the Sloth Conservation Foundation, reveals that sloths have the slowest metabolic rate of any land mammal. Their bodies are designed to use minimal energy, from their unique muscle fibers to their methodical digestion of food. It can take up to 28 days for them to digest a single leaf!

Symeou’s insights challenge our perception of laziness and suggest that conserving energy is a key aspect of survival. Just as sloths recharge to perform more efficiently, humans can benefit from prioritizing rest and recognizing its importance in our daily lives.

Recent research is redefining Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” concept with “survival of the sluggish.” A study analyzing various mollusk species, including slugs and snails, found that those with lower metabolic rates were more likely to survive extinction. The reason is simple: lower physiological demands translate to less resource consumption, a valuable trait when conditions change, such as climate shifts.

Additionally, grizzly bears, known for their massive size and strength, prefer to take the path of least resistance. A study revealed that these bears avoid steep hills and overexertion, opting for human-built trails in parks. This behavior isn’t laziness but rather energy efficiency in food-limited environments. Bears move slower than expected, and their evolutionary instinct to conserve energy parallels human tendencies to avoid unnecessary exertion.

This behavior highlights the importance of conserving energy and efficiently utilizing available resources, especially during challenging times like Climate change.

Finally, lions spend approximately 20 hours a day resting. Contrary to appearing lazy, their downtime is essential for conserving energy and preparing for intense bursts of activity during hunting or territorial battles. In a world where many struggle to get enough sleep, lions offer a lesson in prioritizing rest for enhanced productivity.

Devon Price, a psychologist and author, suggests that we can learn from animals by dispelling the notion that our worth is determined by productivity. Animals eat when hungry and sleep when tired without questioning their self-worth based on productivity. By adopting a more compassionate view of ourselves and others, we can reduce the societal pressure to overwork.

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This article by Trinity Sparke was first published by One Green Planet on 25 September 2023. Image Credit :Janossy Gergely/Shutterstock.

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