Snoozing on the Seoul subway encouraged. Jrwooley6/Flickr

In a nation with the highest rate of stress-related suicides, citizens of Seoul vie for the title of most spaced-out.

South Korea, land of tech giants like Samsung and LG, is one of the most wired countries in the world; its smartphone penetration rate is 70 percent, compared to 58 percent in the U.S. Users have internet access throughout the country’s subways and Seoulites can now charge their phones at hydropower stations in Cheonggyecheon, a waterway running through the city. The frenetic pace of the city is enough to inspire a competition that requires people to do just the opposite: Chill out.

Korean performance group Duo Elect2ronic-ship is running a “space-out” competition. In the contest, a hand-picked group of 50 people will sit in chairs by city hall and, as the name of the contest suggests, do nothing.

“Because of smart devices, we are unable to escape from external stimulation even for a moment. In such a society, I wanted to contemplate the idea of not doing anything,” one of the organizers told South Korean news site the Hankyoreh.

For three hours, participants will not be allowed the distractions of listening to music, using mobile phones, reading, or sleeping. Mindless activities like head-scratching will be permitted, according to the group’s Facebook page (link in Korean). After the three-hour period, the participant with the lowest measured heart rate and the most relaxed body (as judged by observers’ votes) wins.

The notion that it’s healthy to zone out would help boost the mental health of Korea’s competitive and stressed-out citizens. It might even help grow the economy (mind-wandering allows people to be creative and come to new solutions). Currently, South Korea has the highest rate of stress-related suicides at 40 a day, and many of those are youths.

This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic partner site.

More from Quartz:

Could Scotland’s Currency Be Bitcoin?

Five Errors That Immediately Get Your Resume Rejected at Google

There Is Increasing Evidence That the Islamic State Is Expanding Into Asia Pacific

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    You Can’t Design Bike-Friendly Cities Without Considering Race and Class

    Bike equity is a powerful tool for reducing inequality. Too often, cycling infrastructure is tailored only to wealthy white cyclists.

  2. Transportation

    With Trains Like Schwebebahn, No Wonder Germans Love Public Transit

    Infrastructure like this makes it clear why Germany continues to produce enthusiasm for public transit, generation after generation.

  3. Life

    The Town Where Retirees Can’t Retire

    In fast-aging pockets of rural America, older residents are going back to work. But not always because they need the money.

  4. A photo of a visitor posing for a photo with Elvis in downtown Nashville
    Perspective

    Cities: Don’t Fall in the Branding Trap

    From Instagram stunts to Edison bulbs, why do so many cities’ marketing plans try to convince people that they’re exactly like somewhere else?

  5. Amazon HQ2

    Amazon’s HQ2 Fiasco Will Cost the Company More Than It Costs New York

    The mega-company has bucked dealing reasonably with New York City, Seattle, and any community that asks them to pay for its freight.