6 Slacker Behaviors That Science Says Are Good For You
Every grizzled mentor worth their salt will tell you that success takes a lot of work. Getting a good job requires an education, good health requires discipline and good hair requires vigorous conditioning.
But science says that while those high-octane achievers may make more money and climb the career ladder faster, it's the slackers who prevail in the end.
Smoking Weed May Fight Alzheimer's and Cancer
First of all, if marijuana is illegal where you live, printing out this article for the judge is not going to get you out of jail or make your white guy dreadlocks any less ridiculous--we're not advocating that you break the law. It's just that there may be a medical upside to go along with all the bad stuff you've been hearing about since you were a kid. When a professor emeritus of medical chemistry starts talking about the cancer-blocking properties of weed, you have to wonder if those stoners aren't smarter than they look.
So How is This Helpful?
According to Professor Raphael Mechoulam, what we should be focusing on when it comes to weed are cannabinoids. These are organic compounds found in marijuana and in a very similar form in animals and humans. It's because of the similarity between plant and animal compounds that cannabinoids from weed can create a euphoric state if smoked. However, this similarity also means they can influence our body in other ways.
One example of how cannabinoids could be used is for the treatment of Alzheimer's. Mechoulam conducted a study that found that cannabinoids could delay the advancement of brain diseases. Apparently these guys not only halt cognitive decline but reduced inflammation in the brain.
For instance, this man will live forever.
In a very similar study researchers discovered that cannabinoids could halt the growth of tumors. So far the tests were successful on mice as well as two humans, successfully delaying cancer by triggering the death gene in cancerous cells.
Suck on that, cancer!
Again, you should always obey the laws in your area. If you're not sure, just call up the local police department, say that you're considering buying some weed, and see if they give you the thumbs-up.
Being Fat Might Help You Live Longer
When we say that some fat can help you live longer, we're not talking about being obese here. Obesity is still worse for your health than trying to ride a bear that is riding shark. But...
In a rather morbid study, Canadian researchers observed thousands of people for 12 years, carefully noting when they kicked the bucket. Not surprisingly, the super obese subjects died first, proving once and for all that all the video games where you gain more health as you eat more are not scientifically accurate. However, people at what was considered a healthy weight tended to die second, leaving the not-exactly-svelte to laugh as they slurped a milkshake. Then the milkshake came out of their noses, and that made everyone laugh.
Gods among mortal men.
So How is This Helpful?
The most likely reason for the chubbies living longer is stress tolerance. Their bodies have fat reserves they can use while sick or under stress; skinny bodies don't. In other words, being an underfed, stressed out Calvin Klein underwear model is a lot more dangerous for you than lounging on the couch all day.
So fat can make you last longer under stress, but it's not like a big booty can actually save your life, right? Wrong. A study in England discovered that having fat on your back and thighs helps your body produce beneficial hormones that lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Even more interesting is what happened to the patients who decided to lose their ass fat during the course of the study, presumably right around the time the scientists told them they qualified for participation in an ass fat study. The subjects who lost fat around their butt during the study were actually more likely to have a heart attack, marking the first and last time that taking medical advice from Sir Mix-a-Lot saved someone's life.
Sir Mix-a-Lot 1, Cosmo 0.
One of the reasons for fat's unexpected healing powers is that dangerous acids tend to build up in fatty tissue, instead of loitering inside your liver or heart. And in case you're wondering, having toxic acids inside your buttocks is significantly better than having them in your heart valves. It's pretty much like having an angry chipmunk bite your ass versus the same chipmunk biting your heart.
Skipping Out on College Can Make You Happier
Back in the day, college was all about toga parties and binge drinking until your liver burst into flame. Nowadays, it's more about all-nighters hopped up on Ritalin so your GPA can justify spending 40 grand a year. But all those exhausting classes, internships and research projects have to count for something, right? According to researchers: They do. All that effort adds up to a depressed and miserable life.
Meanwhile, skipping out on all that misery might just help you live longer than those Einsteins who don't.
So How is This Helpful?
The Curtin Institute of Technology discovered that the more education you have, the more you're at risk of becoming disillusioned with life. Sinking into a soul-crushing depression is just one of the ultra-fun side effects of higher education, along with a more stressful lifestyle and unmanageable financial debt. Higher education is pretty much like Christmas Day if you expect to get a pony, but instead you discover you're trapped in a Dilbert cartoon, and also there is no pony. Only thousands of dollars of debt in a pony shaped stocking.
If that isn't enough to drive you to the nearest Everclear bottle, another study showed that more intelligent people have less sex. The study, which does come with the important warning that a lobotomy won't make you a sex god, shows that having higher test results means you're not getting lucky tonight, or any time soon. So school is basically an epic anti-aphrodisiac, with the average moron getting more lovin' than the smart guys.
Sleeping in is Good for Your Health
Your whole life you've been told the early bird gets the worm, which is totally true, if that worm happens to be a metaphor for death. Because contrary to what your parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches and ridiculously motivated roommates have told you, sleeping later is better for you than hopping out of bed at the crack of daylight.
So How is This Helpful?
While it's true that too much sleep can be bad for you, it's worse to not get enough. There's a reason you feel like shit at the moment you crawl out of bed to kill your alarm clock. You're killing yourself.
Studies show that people who only sleep six or less hours a night have a 70 percent higher risk of dying younger. Part of the reason for this is that less sleep means more stress, worse driving and significant weight gain. Humans need at least eight hours of sleep in order to produce hormones that regulate the appetite, and to heal from workouts. And it goes without saying that the less sleep you get, the less focused and alert you are, which means the more likely you are to do something stupid, like causing the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In the end, waking up at an ungodly hour to take a jog might actually be worse for your body than sleeping in.
You're killing yourself with jogs!
Oh, and after you finally roll out of bed, don't bother making it. There are these little buggers called dust mites, insects that live inside your mattress and sheets, and they can cause asthma and trigger allergies. A recent British study discovered that an unmade bed is a much harsher environment for the critters, effectively killing them off.
More proof that your mom was secretly trying to kill you.
Apparently, when you make your bed in the morning, you kind of seal the little guys in, keeping them warm and cozy-like. So college students around the world can rejoice that their slovenly lairs are actually fighting the good fight against asthma. Still no word on the benefits of leaving your three-day-old underwear on the floor, though.
Wasting Your Life on the Internet May Stave Off Dementia
It only seems logical that spending hours upon hours surfing the abyss of the Internet will eventually destroy your brain. Five minutes of reading YouTube comments alone should probably wipe out your capacity to do long division without a calculator.
The logic behind this assumption seems sound; it's like when you watch trashy television, right? Your brain is less engaged than if you were, say, reading a book or doing a crossword puzzle. And because you're not exercising your brain muscles, they must be atrophying.
Actually, no. Because some science guys are beginning to find out that those hours of surfing the interwebs might actually be making us smarter.
So How is This Helpful?
According to this UCLA study using Google (or any other search engine) can stimulate your brain more than reading a book. To be fair, the experiment was conducted on older people, and these guys weren't exactly using the Internet to find horse porn. They were probably researching the best plum juice. Nonetheless, the findings were significant enough that researchers declared that regular Googling can fight off dementia.
Fight that brain deterioration, Pop-Pop!
Don't get us wrong about Google. They're obviously the next great supervillains, the likes of which we've never seen, and will never see again, because they're definitely going to become the masters of the planet and subjugate the rest of us to death. It's not Google itself that's magically healing old people noggins. It's the rapid exposure to new information that's doing the trick. Surfing the Internet stimulates the brain and increases neuron activity. So basically, by visiting various sites you find unexpected information that fires up your brain, preventing it from rusting down.
All of this sounds great for grandpa, but what about the rest of us? According to the authors of iBrain we're all smartening up from our hours on the Web tubes. Apparently, the World Wide Web is forcing all of our brains to evolve and improve their neurological paths. Humans are becoming faster and more capable of handling a larger number of tasks, while losing some focusing and face-to-face interaction skills. Also it makes authors everywhere put a lowercase "i" in front of their book title in hopes of sounding hip.
The book is backed up by some studies which claim that Internet sites like Facebook are already changing the way we deal with memories, improving our short-term retention. A Scottish study discovered that using social media sites can help increase IQ as well as train us how to manage new information quicker. Not surprising, using YouTube has been proven to lower one's IQ, we weren't kidding when we said reading those comments is bad for you.
Spoiling Yourself Can Fight Stress
Considering all the negative effects of stress, from erectile dysfunction to heart disease, it's no wonder stress.org calls it America's number one problem. It definitely sounds like we're not stressing out as much as we should about this whole stress issue.
#2 problem in the U.S.: Screaming men stuck in exploding concrete blocks.
Nothing on this list will reduce stress more efficiently than enjoying all those dirty pleasures everyone says you shouldn't enjoy. An Australian study discovered that skipping work or buying that solid gold ice cream scooper is exactly the kind of irresponsible behavior that keeps you stress-free, happy and healthy. Almost everyone engages in this behavior and it seems to be the best way to release steam.
So How is This Helpful?
According to the author of Everything Bad is Good for You, everything from watching trashy reality TV to playing video games can reduce your stress level. Not only do these activities improve chemical and neurological reactions inside the brain, but they release calming hormones that regulate our bodies. On a less biological level, "bad" habits prepare us for interactions with our culture, increasing the efficiency of socialization. Basically by watching American Idol you have something to talk about at work, and smoking breaks are the place to be for the best company gossip.
"That Lambert kid sure had some pipes, huh?"
As for spending all your money on crap and not bothering to work hard? It turns out that it might be the healthiest behavior in your life. A recent study showed that Swedish people are the happiest in the world, but not because they are all blond-haired, furniture building ex-models.
The secret to their happiness seems to be the fact that their socio-economic classes are very close to each other. Basically no one in Sweden is really "rich," which makes everyone (including the rich people) healthier and happier. Interestingly enough, this holds true on a larger scale: Countries that are going through a depression tend to report higher well-being among their population. Sure, people are going to grumble about not affording three plasma screens, but they will secretly be happier because they know everyone is just like them: miserable. So let's keep this recession going, guys!
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And find out about how video games are actually benefiting us, in 6 Ways Video Games Are Saving Mankind. Or find out how 2010 is bad for our health, in 7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making You Miserable.
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