Liar!

Have your pants caught on fire recently? How about your nose? Still the same size it was yesterday? We can imagine the absurdity of a world where lying is an impossible practice to hide, but the truth about how lying affects us may actually not be all that far off the mark.

We all do it. Most of us at least once a day. But some people lie as frequently as 2–3 times every ten minutes! Often we do it to protect people we love (“That haircut is fabulous!”) But sometimes we do it for no good reason, or for the really wrong reasons.

While most of us aren’t pathological or compulsive liars, those little white lies quickly add up and change our behavior patterns, make us more suspicious and judgmental. But the bigger issue comes from the lies that gnaw at us daily. Lying is directly connected our health. Check out these reasons to trade in those tall tales for some good old-fashioned truth telling.

1. Decrease Your Stress: Research has made the connection between frequent lies and increased risks of anxiety, depression and stress. A precursor for many more serious health problems, stress can also degrade our immunity, affect our appetite, make us feel tired, angry, and prone to headaches.  

2. Boost Immunity: It’s no wonder that the saying goes “laughter is the best medicine.” Happy thoughts produce endorphins, which make us feel good, and they also support our immune function. When we lie, we have a lot more to keep track of. That can lead us to worrying and mulling over our fibs, which makes us less likely to experience the endorphins that do our immunity good.

3. You’ll Sleep Better: Figuring out how you’re going to get that lipstick stain off your collar is going to keep you up at night. Lying makes sleep more difficult and can even cause disturbing nightmares. Lack of proper sleep has been connected with serious health issues including depression, weight gain and headaches.

4. Better Digestion: Few things will make you as instantly sick to your stomach as telling a big fat lie. Ongoing lying can cause irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, loss of appetite, stress eating and other eating disorders.

5. Decrease Cancer Risk: While there are no studies directly connecting lying and cancer, there are connections between stress and certain types of cancer. As mentioned before, the less we lie, the less we stress, which may not only save our lives, but make them more enjoyable, too.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Resources:

http://www.mental-health-matters.com/index.php?option=com_content&;view=article&id=89

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/stress

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201203/white-lies-affect-your-behavior

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2009/05/18/were-all-lying-liars-why-people-tell-lies-and-why-white-lies-can-be-ok

Image: Ian.Kobylanski