woman with pinocchio noseNo matter how well we feel, there always seems to be room for improvement. One fewer cold a year. One less headache. Just a little less stress. Believe it or not, all of that might be possible if we were to put an end to a pesky little habit ... No, not smoking, eating junk food, or missing out on sleep in order to catch up with our DVRs. We'd do well to quit lying!
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At the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, researchers said that in a small group of 18- to 71-year-olds, health improved when people abstained from lying. Specifically, they had four fewer mental-health complaints (like feeling tense or melancholy) and three fewer physical complaints (sore throats and headaches) than the people who were free to throw out falsehoods as they pleased. Crazy!
Actually, it doesn't strike me as all that surprising, given what we know about the connection between negativity and mental and physical well-being. Some of the most positive people seem to be those who live the longest, healthiest, most full lives. (Like my 92-year-old grandmother who always seems to see the sunny side of any situation.) On the other hand, being pessimistic, angry, spiteful, or, you know, a walking storm cloud clearly tears away at mental and physical well-being.
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That said, it really does make perfect sense that emotions that are a product of lying -- like guilt, embarrassment, remorse, feeling conflicted, etc. -- create stress, which we all know takes a huge toll on health. And with Americans lying on average 11 times a week (I know!!), it seems like a dirty little habit we could all stand to curb. Not just for the greater good, but obviously, for our own good.
Now, be honest -- how much do you lie? Do you believe it affects your health?