Are your secrets making you less mentally healthy? New research shows it does. Although there are also benefits to keeping secrets. American researcher Michael Sleepian explains that the average person is thirteen years old. It reveals the kind of secrets most people keep. And most importantly, how it usually – but not always – is harmful to our health.
Think of a secret you’re keeping from someone else. You must have one, because each person keeps an average of thirteen secrets. American psychologist Michael Slipian (Columbia University) conducted research on this topic. He also published a book about her: The Secret Life of Secrets.
Slepian research was conducted with more than 50,000 participants from all over the world. He had participants complete anonymous surveys and asked them about their deepest secrets. So feel free to call him a professional secretary. Note: He managed to distinguish 38 categories of secrets. And 97 percent of people currently have a secret in at least one of these categories.
These are the most common types of secrets
“We all have secrets and we all have the same kind of secrets,” Slipian explains on The Mind Body Green podcast. His research also shows that the most common secrets relate to addiction, financial hardship, lies, ambitions, health problems, or secret relationships. However, not every secret has to be so shocking. However, they can all place a real burden on our shoulders.
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Especially since you can’t share obscure facts with anyone. No matter how motivated you are to protect someone’s reputation, relationship, or feelings, secrets make you feel lonely and isolated. Although there is also good news, you can read about in Slepian’s book. A lot depends on what kind of secret you hold. Some also improve our health.
Secrets make you lonely
In 2019, Slepian was already investigating mysteries. And yes, those who constantly worry about a secret become exhausted. This is because we can quickly feel lonely when we are keeping a secret. “The costs are higher than you think: The ordinary secret harms our well-being,” Slipian says.
If you find yourself stuck in a secret and don’t know what to do with it
Or ashamed of it is no longer healthy.
But this does not mean that everyone should become an open book. There is a difference between keeping something confidential and protecting your privacy. But if a secret bothers you, do not bear the burden alone. “If you find yourself stuck in a secret and don’t know what to do with it or feel ashamed of it, it’s no longer healthy,” he says on the podcast.
There are also people who keep secrets in order to keep their problems to themselves. “You don’t work out your problems and are afraid of them, so you keep them a secret. When you just need a conversation.” So again the problem of isolation. Research has shown that loneliness can affect our immune system. Keeping secrets to yourself will never break this emotional wall. So: reveal this secret.
Useful secrets for you
And now the good news. There are also “health secrets”. Think about wanting to propose to someone and walk around with the ring in your pocket for a few days. Or surprise your family with the news of a happy baby, but keep it to yourself for a while. Sleepian classifies such secrets as “secrets of interesting revelation.”
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And most importantly, you control when the secret is revealed. This is exactly the reason for feeling good. “When we control our decisions, we live healthier lives. It concludes that we have less stress, and therefore live longer.” Jack crack, the key in the pocket? Or will you soon reveal one of your deepest secrets?
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