A simple way to good health, no lieBlog added by Kathryn Mayer on August 22, 2014
Kathryn Mayer

Kathryn Mayer

Joined: August 16, 2012

Turns out, lying is super-dangerous. Not only will it set your pants aflame, it will hurt your health.

This nugget of advice comes from Anita E. Kelly, a psychology professor at the University of Notre Dame. (It also comes from my mother, but her research isn't scientifically-based).

Kelly and her team recruited 72 adults and randomly assigned them to two groups: a “sincerity group” and a control group. The control group wasn’t given specific instructions, but the sincerity group was told the following:

“Throughout every day of the next five weeks, you must speak honestly, truthfully, and sincerely — not only about the big things, but also about the small things, such as why you were late. You must always mean what you say in situations where your statements are to be taken seriously, as opposed to when joking or obviously exaggerating. While you certainly can choose not to answer questions, you must always mean what you say.”

In a word, Kelly wrote in her blog posting in Psychology Today, the results were “amazing.” Not only did the sincere group report better physical health — fewer headaches, sore throats and nausea — but its members also cited feeling more mentally fit.

Basically, the suggestion is that sincerity and honesty are keys to good health.

Think this key piece of advice doesn’t apply to you? Well, you’re only lying to yourself. Kelly, for one, estimates the average person lies 11 times a day. (I didn’t even realize I talked that many times a day …)

I love these kinds of studies because it shows how much mental anguish — in this case, the stresses of managing all those lies, not to mention guilt — can affect our physical health. It’s a good reminder that we can help ourselves, if we put our minds to it. Plus, we can all tell our mothers we did listen to their advice growing up.

Kelly, in a blog post, cited her own experience: “Since the fall, I too have been following these instructions. Normally I get 8 hours of sleep and have five-to-seven colds in a winter. Now, even with only 3 hours of sleep, I have been sick zero times since the fall. Thus, I could not hold off on telling you about the results. The impact is so compelling that I urge you to try it.”

I, for one, am taking her challenge. As someone with a compromised immune system who frequently suffers from the above ailments, (I swear I’m not a liar! Well, maybe that’s another lie …), I think it’s worth a shot. So …

No, I don’t like your hair like that.

I think you definitely should break up with your boyfriend.

I don’t have time for that work.

That meeting was a big waste of my time.

Sorry I can’t make it your party this weekend; I have plans with myself to order a large cheese pizza and have a Netflix binge-watching session, in my sweatpants.

Ah, I feel healthier already.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com
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