We all know that keeping a large secret, especially one that is really bad, can have a negative effect on us. But did you know that it can make simple everyday things physically harder!!? It can also make you gain weight because you tend to eat more and do less when harboring even the smallest secret. Secrets can literally weigh you down!
Many different groups have done studies on this and have found that those with a meaningful secret saw hills and distances as higher and further respectively. Another group who were keeping knowledge of their infedelity under wraps were more likely to perceive basic tasks like carrying groceries upstairs or walking the dog as requiring more of an effort.
I am not just talking about basic secrets here…I am talking about things even like not being in sync with your partner anymore, but not wanting to talk to them about it, not liking your job but scared to speak up and do anything about it, being upset with someone over something and not saying anything about it. These are all secrets too! In fact these type of secrets actually trigger something in us that not only makes things harder, but they make us consume more of the things that are bad for us.
Unload your secrets and be an adult and embrace what comes next. If you handle things in the right way, you will find that your life will be a lot happier, and you will be a lot healthier! Lighten the emotional load to lighten the physical load!
So how does this actually happen? The cingulate cortex, essential to our emotional responses, is wired to tell the truth. This “logical lobe” signals other regions of the brain to share information so it can move on to more important functions, like learning. But when you keep a secret locked inside, you don’t allow the cingulate to perform its natural functions. Instead, the cortex becomes stressed.
When you choose to hold onto a secret, your brain’s orbital prefrontal cortex simulates in your mind just how bad sharing the secret will be, imagining all the possible negative outcomes. The prefrontal cortex is involved in decision-making, complex thought and deception. If your prefrontal cortex wins the battle within your brain over keeping a secret, the pressure it causes in the cingulate cortex leads your body to ramp up production of stress hormones. This is known as the “fight or flight” response, often triggered when we feel anxiety or fear. It can have potentially serious consequences. Every time you think about a deeply held secret, stress hormones such as cortisol surge, impacting your memory, blood pressure, GI tract and your metabolism.
In case you didn’t think that was enough, it can effect your sleep which can make you irritable and gravitate towards bad food.
The spikes in cortisol levels have also been linked to a weakened immune system, osteoporosis, increased blood pressure and a loss of collagen in the skin, which can lead to deeper wrinkles and a loss of elasticity. Yikes!