You’ve probably been lied to a few times in the past week, and if statistics are right, you have probably told a lie too. The problem is that we don’t just lie about big things, we lie about little things to make ourselves look better, more important, or more likable. We also lie to gain something professionally or personally. If you cheating your on your significant other, you’re living a constant lie. You may be getting away with it, but did you know that lying has a huge impact on your mental and physical health?
The Progression Of A Lie
Any lie you tell is followed by a typical pattern in your mind and body. You will probably recognize it.
First, the second you lie, the stress and sense of danger that comes from creating a story encourages your nervous system to release cortisol. This is why you may experience things like a fast heartbeat or sweating.
Next, your mind needs to try to keep the story straight. Considering we can only remember a few conscious things at once, and depend on our subconscious to handle the rest, this means that your lie is going to be forefront in your mind during your day.
Soon you may go through emotions, such as anger or regret. This causes stress, and as you work out what you should do, you will stay in a state of stress.
Once the negative emotions subside, your brain will spend some time justifying your behavior. Again, this is taxing on your brain and puts your lie ahead of other things going on around you.
After that, you may let go of the lie and continue on with your life not giving it too much thought until the need arises, or you may obsess about it, feel negative about it, and promote stress on your body. If you hold onto it for too long, anxiety sets in and this is when the mental and physical issues can really take a turn for the worse. For example, you may not be able to think clearly, you may have trouble getting to sleep, and all of that adds up to more stress.
Lying Has An Impact On Mental Health
People who lie are more prone to feeling down. The anxiety and stress from a lie can have a huge toll on overall happiness. And, relationships can suffer whether a lie is disclosed or not, which can have a further impact on happiness.
In addition, not being able to live up to certain lies, such as professional accomplishments, can lower self-esteem, which can have a negative impact in all areas of life.
Lying Leads To Physical Sickness
Lying causes anxiety and stress. This is because deep inside you know that lying is not right. It is not ethical to lie to someone to their face and then deal with them as though you have been honest and straightforward with them. That little nagging voice in your head will be more than happy to remind you that you are not the upstanding person you are pretending to be, and that can cause acute and even chronic anxiety and stress.
Stress impacts all systems in our body, including the gastrointestinal, endocrine, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular system. In fact, stress is now known to be a huge contributor to most illnesses, so it is imperative to avoid as much stress as possible.
How Big Does A Lie Need To Be To Cause Stress?
Research has shown that all lies have a way of making you sick. Big lies may affect your health more negatively in the moment, but small lies still cause stress. Continuously lying can influence the way you view yourself and the way other people view you, which can lead to more stress.
For instance, if you tell someone a small lie, such as you are too busy to attend something that is important to them, then you will think about that lie in the moment, during the event, and as they discuss the event with you later on. You may even think about the lie in between those moments and feel a twinge of guilt or anxiety about ditching them or being caught. Moreover, if they find out you lied later on (which often happens) you will have to deal with a negative confrontation, a loss of trust, and relationship issues that were not present before. All of that stress will come from one little lie.
Take Some Weight Off Your Shoulders
Sometimes it may feel as though telling the truth will make you feel worse, but in actuality it feels like a huge weight is lifted off your shoulders when you are honest with people. You feel better about yourself. You feel more confident in your truth. You feel more empowered to be the person you want to be.
How other people deal with your truth is up to them, but the positives you feel usually outweigh the negative reaction that other people may have. And when they don’t, you can still take comfort in the fact that you were strong enough to be honest with someone else when you could have easily lied.