But did you know that keeping secrets can harm your health? Secrecy is associated with lower well-being, worse health, and less satisfying relationships. Research has linked secrecy to increased anxiety, depression, symptoms of poor health, and even the more rapid progression of disease. Hiding a secret isn’t as easy as you’d think.
Surprisingly, it’s not hiding the secret that’s hurtful. Research indicates it’s thinking about it that does the damage. Simply thinking about a secret can make us feel inauthentic. Having a secret return to mind, over and over again, can be exhausting. When we think of a secret, it can make us feel a bit alone. The more we think about it, the more lonely we feel.
So, what to do? Experts suggest talking to a third party can help. You don’t necessarily have to spill the secret itself, but a single conversation about it can lead to a healthier outlook and mind. Also, people report that when sharing a secret with another person, they often get emotional support and helpful advice. This, in turn, makes people feel more confident and capable in coping with the secret. Finding a healthier way of thinking about their secret, means ruminating less on it, and feeling better all-round.
Whether or not you feel the need to share your secret, as long as you’re not putting anyone in danger, don’t feel bad for keeping it. We all have secrets. It doesn’t make you inauthentic. It makes you human.
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