The psychological effects of keeping secrets

If you’ve ever had to keep a big secret, you’re probably familiar with the toll it can take on your mental health. All that worrying about who you might hurt if the secret gets out, and the pressure of keeping it to yourself in the first place, is enough to get to the most discreet person. Not all secrets are created equal, however, and some are more damaging to our quality of life than others.

The reality when it comes to secret keeping

While keeping secrets is very common, research shows that it is bad for both our mental and physical health.


Negative psychological outcomes

Whether you’re keeping hush about a family member’s infidelity, or keeping your job promotion under wraps, the psychological effects of concealing the truth include a range of negative outcomes.


Poor sleep and mental health disorders

Keeping a secret has been shown to increase stress hormones, which in turn impacts blood pressure, inhibits sleep, and contributes to an increased risk of depression and anxiety.


Substance abuse and chronic pain

Studies have also shown that people who keep secrets are therefore more likely to engage in substance abuse and suffer from chronic pain.



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