A zone out competition in South Korea might just be the reminder we need to take things slow


Yes, you read that right. 

The 2022 Han River Space-Out Competition is quite literally a contest on spacing out.

Kim Myeong-yeop bested 50 people and won the top prize on Sunday, September 18, 2022.

The 30-year-old TV Producer revealed to Korea JoongAng Daily that his winning tactic was to imagine he was watching a Hanhwa Eagles game as he is a long-time fan of the professional baseball team.

The contest participants were asked to sit on a grass lawn for 90 minutes and zone out. They were not allowed to do or say anything for the whole duration of the competition. Their heart rates were checked every 15 minutes as part of the criteria for judging where a stable heart rate and a steady decrease were seen to be signs of a good performance.

Contestants were allowed to take water and pee breaks granted that they were holding up a card recognized by the organizers.

Before starting the contest, the participants were asked to write down their intentions of joining, and many cited that it was because they had little to no free time in their lives.

South Korea launched its first International Space-Out Competition in October 2014 in Seoul with the goal to battle burnout.

WoopsYang, a South Korean artist who started the competition, told Vice in 2016 that she designed the contest due to her own experience with burnout syndrome.

I was suffering from burnout syndrome at the time, but I would feel anxious if I was doing nothing.’  She felt that many had the same struggles and thought about starting a program where people could zone out as a group.

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