Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lying & Health

The study is not yet peer reviewed or published, but the headline caught my eye:

Study finds that avoiding lies can improve your health - 1 group was instructed not to lie, the other served as the control. Researchers found that decreased lying was associated with better mental & physical health. Participants also reported that their social interactions went more smoothly.

... when participants in the no-lie group told three fewer white lies than they did in other weeks, they experienced, on average, approximately four fewer mental-health complaints and about three fewer physical complaints.
Personally, I seldom lie. If I do find myself wanting to lie, it prompts me to ask myself some questions. Why do I want to lie? Am I ashamed of what I'm doing? Am I trying to avoid some kind of conflict? If I am ashamed of what I'm doing, why am I doing it? Or maybe, how can I hide it better so that I don't feel the need to lie about it in the future? Why avoid conflict? Maybe conflict is the better option. Maybe through conflict I can test my beliefs & convictions or even convince the other party of something.

An example that comes to mind is lying about my eating habits. My wife's mother is always trying to get me to eat Fruit, but my currently favored hypothesis is that Fruit is not good for you. Rather than arguing with her & having her disappointed or frustrated, it might be easier to just take the Fruit & give it to someone at work or throw it away when I'm out of her sight.

Perhaps trying not to offend her is harmful, though. Maybe what I should do is to convince her. Sort of like yanking out a bad tooth, a brief, painful conflict will prevent greater amounts of stress & strife down the line.

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