The Four Types of Laziness and How to Beat Them

It's important to stop viewing laziness simply as a flaw or a vice. In fact, in all types of laziness there are more complex realities, which we could be overlooking.
The Four Types of Laziness and How to Beat Them
Sergio De Dios González

Written and verified by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Last update: 22 February, 2022

There are several types of laziness and each of them affects you in a different way. In fact, this feeling of not wanting to carry out an activity is more complex than it may seem at first glance. It’s often automatically labeled as something negative, but this shouldn’t happen. Because, where there’s laziness, there’s usually an underlying important cause.

The different types of laziness have different causes, characteristics, and intensities. The common characteristic in all of them is that you feel resistant to taking action, despite the fact that you know the right thing to do is to act. The bad reputation of laziness comes from religion, where it’s not considered a psychological state, but a deadly sin.

Laziness is often linked to procrastination. Indeed, a lack of interest in doing something usually leads to you indefinitely postponing it. If this happens too often, it obviously ends up affecting your performance and life in general. To better understand this state, let’s see what types of laziness exist.

“Do not yield to fatalism. It will induce inertia and laziness. Recognize the Great Powers of Thought. Exert. By right thinking make for yourself a great destiny.”


Lazy woman in bed

1. Physical laziness

This is one of the most common types of laziness. As the name implies, it concerns the resistance to physical activities. As a rule, this type of laziness is born from three factors: previous fatigue, immediacy, or lack of interest. A typical example is when you want to start an exercise routine but you never succeed, because of your lack of desire.

Sometimes, this happens because you want to exercise but you don’t have enough available energy to carry out the activity. At other times, you might not place much importance on the future benefits of exercise and you concentrate on your immediate comforts instead. Alternatively, you may be completely uninterested and your physical well-being just isn’t enough of an incentive for you.

In these cases, the best thing for you to do is to reflect on whether it’s really worth starting the exercise routine. If you work out that the benefits are sufficiently important, your conviction will lead to overcoming your resistance. The same goes for other types of physical activities.

2. Mental laziness

Mental laziness is related to the use of cognitive faculties. It’s a type of laziness that’s born mainly from lack of motivation. Generally, with this type of laziness, you don’t see any concrete benefit in intellectual activities and therefore resist doing them.

You often feel that the activity is too complex and this decreases your motivation. As in the previous case, you see no immediate benefit to be obtained from this type of task. For this reason, once again, you need to reflect.

As a matter of fact, intellectual activity not only protects your brain but also increases your daily skills and competencies. It even has an extremely positive effect on your emotions. Your brain is there to work and, if it doesn’t, feelings of boredom appear. On the other hand, intellectual activity awakens, excites, and improves your life.

3. Existential laziness

Existential laziness is the one that’s most closely related to a state of depression. It manifests as a lack of interest and enthusiasm for life in general. In this instance, you don’t possess enough energy to take initiatives, plan, or set goals.

Existential laziness is a clear indication that an unidentified psychological obstacle exists. It often happens when you go through, or have gone through, highly demanding emotional situations that weren’t fully resolved. In fact, it’s likely that this has caused you emotional burnout which needs to be rectified.

Most commonly, existential laziness arises as a result of a psychological weight that hasn’t been processed. It charges up and leaves no room for new available energy to arise. This type of laziness is common when you experience frequent ruminating thoughts and distrust yourself.

Sitting man thinking how to learn from his mistake

4. Spiritual laziness

Spiritual laziness is often associated with existential laziness. What differentiates them is that, in the case of spiritual laziness, the main symptom is a feeling of disinterest in the transcendent aspects of life.

You experience spiritual laziness when you decide to adapt to routines and follow them mechanically, without trying to go any further. You believe that existence is nothing more than a set of daily obligations, which you perform with no great enthusiasm and without any real objective.

In all cases, it’s important to note that laziness can be a symptom of an underlying disorder. It often signifies fatigue or excess, and that’s why you should always pay attention to it. However, if this isn’t the case, self-motivation is the key. This is difficult at first but is always worth it. On the other hand, if the case is more critical, you must seek professional help.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Maier, C., & de Torres Burgos, Z. (2004). Buenos días, pereza. Península.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.