Everyone knows that telling lies can get you into trouble. Most of us learned that as a kid. When Mom or Dad found out it was you, not the dog,who ate the last piece of chocolate cake, you were in for it. But what if you got away with it? Chances are, if you did get away with it, you tried it again and if it continued to work for you, lying became a useful tool in life. The thing is, sooner or later that kind of antisocial behavior catches up with you. It starts to affect your relationships and, according to new studies, it can affect your health.
Our nervous system is connected to our immune systems, so it makes sense that our brain and our emotions can send out messages that affect our health. To put it simply, your body responds to the way you think.
When we think happy thoughts our bodies produce endorphins; hormones that make us feel good. Those chemicals also contribute to a stronger, healthier immune system. Conversely, when we are worried, anxious or generally stressed out, our bodies produce different kinds of hormones such as cortisol, and norepinephrine.
Cortisol increases blood sugar and suppresses the immune system.
Norepinephrine undermines the “flight or fight” response – our heart rate accelerates, and our blood pressure goes up.
Modern medical doctors as well as holistic practitioners agree that a person who lies continuously will eventually face anxiety, depression, physical illness and even psychological illness.
Source: Saundra Dalton-Smith M.D, author of Set Free to Live Free: Breaking Through the 7 Lies Women Tell Themselves.(available from the Amazon Link below).
Why Do We Lie?
Psychologists tell us that we lie because we are fearful of the consequences of telling the truth. Guilt bears a heavy burden on those who live into it, so people lie to avoid looking stupid, or incompetent, or so someone won’t get angry at them.
There are other reasons why people lie. People are afraid of being punished. They may feel embarrassed, they may loose face, status, or they might not get what they want, as many liars lie to manipulate people.
Liars think they are protecting themselves, but that kind of pay-off obliterates the meager benefits listed above and it can be devastating to one’s health and happiness.
Lying Is Hard Work!
It takes a lot more effort to tell a lie than to tell the truth. To be a believable liar, you have to live into the lie, which often means believing in the lie yourself.
Deluding yourself is stressful work because it’s a lot easier to remember the truth than it is to remember the details of a lie.
If you’re questioned about the situation that led to the lie, you have to stick with it even if someone challenges your lie with proof that you’re lying. It takes a smooth operator to gloss over every challenge, and it takes a sharp memory to defend every lie with conviction.
Even the most convincing liar constantly worries that his or her lies will be exposed. It’s that kind of anxiety that brings on the ulcers, headaches, sleepless nights and paranoia.
Lying is not only an anti-social behavior, liars often become anti-social themselves. If they hang around people they’ve lied to, they begin to dislike those people. They may even blame them for their problems. It’s no wonder that lies can ruin work relationships, marriages and friendships.
If you’re caught in a lie, your credibility drops to zero. Without credibility or friends it’s easy to understand why liars are prone to self-criticism and depression.
Don’t Worry About Choosing the Truth
If you are tempted to lie, relax. Remember that the repercussions of telling the truth are really much easier on the mind and body than are the repercussions of telling a lie. There are a lot of benefits in choosing to tell the truth, including saving your sanity and physical health.
Simply by saying you’re sorry (if you did something wrong) and offering to make up for your error may end the ordeal quickly and you won’t be plagued with having to constantly uphold the charade of the lie.
Simply by telling the truth about an embarrassing situation and taking responsibility for your actions can win you respect and perhaps even the support of others.
You’ll also gain a reputation for being an honest person. True, you may be known for making mistakes, but honesty is still the best policy and you’ll avoid that stomach ulcer.
People may become more truthful to you and that has lots of advantages.
- You’ll worry less about whether others are telling you lies.
- By being a truthful person, you’ll become more persuasive.
- People will trust you more.
It’s ironic, but truthful people get more of what they want in life and if you get what you want you have less to stress about. By being truthful, you’ll sleep better, eat healthier and consequently, you’ll look better.
To Stay Healthy, Stay Honest
Remember, whether you call them fibs, white lies, or exaggerations, if it isn’t the whole truth..it’s a lie. Sure, we often justify those little white lies to “protect” others, but even those seemingly altruistic white lies can come back to bite you if your caught.
We don’t often realize that something as simple as the words we chose, can make us ill, but it’s true. Lies will eventually eat you alive; the truth will support and nourish your mind, body and spirit.
So don’t jeopardize your mental and physical well-being by letting fear rule your actions and choice of words. Lies will enslave you…and as the saying goes, “The truth will set you free”.