The Psychological Burden of Secrets and Lies
Keeping secrets is part of human nature, and the ability to lie and deceive actually marks an important milestone in our development. Lies aren’t always bad and we often deceive people to protect their feelings or avoid conflict.
Whenever we choose to keep secrets or lie to other people we are putting our brain under pressure and asking it to go against many of its natural instincts. Some secrets and lies can cause intense conflict in our minds, leading to stress, anxiety, guilt, insomnia and mood swings.
Research shows that keeping secrets stresses the brain. It takes energy to maintain a deception and withhold information from others. The brain can only handle so much at a time and has a limited amount of processing power. So if it’s concentrating on maintaining a lie, it can compromise normal and healthy cognitive processing. Telling the truth is automatic, effortless and often liberating. Lying takes more effort – it’s intentional, deliberate end often exhausting.
As well as the psychological effects of lying, you may also notice physical ones, because stress and anxiety tend to lower our immune systems and increase tension in our bodies. Deception puts a great strain on us both emotionally and physically, and can eventually corrode our own self-esteem and worth.
Letting Go Of Lies
If you want to stop lying but don’t feel you can, try asking yourself why you need to keep these secrets or tell these lies. Some of us become serial liars, lying about seemingly small and insignificant things. This is often linked to issues of control and trust, helping us feel like we are controlling our surroundings, but it can be damaging to relationships.
If you feel you have a big secret that you can’t escape, ask yourself if it is really necessary? Perhaps try writing out the pros and cons of telling the truth. Most of us lie because we are trying to avoid something uncomfortable, whether it’s upsetting someone else, embarrassment or facing up to bad behaviour.
Studies show that, although there may be initial discomfort, when people lie less they experience more positivity, less anxiety and become more productive. They also experience happier relationships and easier social interactions because lying puts barriers up between you and other people, not allowing you to be fully authentic or relaxed.
The relief of letting go of lies can be immense and gives people a fresh start. Often the repercussions are not as bad as you fear, but even if they are, it marks the start of a new part of your life and a new freedom.
Hypnotherapy and Life Coaching
The first step is understanding why you lie. Do you struggle with anxiety or depression and lie to cover it? Do you feel the need to control everything around you? Are you in an unhappy relationship and lie to avoid conflict or dissolution?
Whatever the cause my treatments can help you come to terms with your behaviour and understand why you feel it necessary. We can explore together in a blame and guilt free environment, then decide what steps you want to take to give yourself the freedom to move past any situation you feel trapped in.
Deception, lies and secrets can be harmless, but more often than not it’s you who pays. Stress, anxiety and unhappiness build up until it becomes much easier and better for everyone to just tell the truth.
Please do contact me for help with any issue – big or small – today.