Is Lying Bad for Your Health?

Happy Saturday!  This is a hot topic sure to fire up some conversation around the dinner table!  Every week I look for inspiration to write you these pieces and every week, someone manages to inspire me!  I thought it interesting to share this one with you, as it no doubt crops up for you too from time to time.  It relates to the benefits of delayed gratification vs the drawbacks of instant gratification.

I don't know about you, but I find lying overly tedious for everyone involved.  Not only is it time consuming once the truth inevitably comes out, but the chemistry that is involved in keeping the secrets and mopping up the despair in finding them out, surely must be outweighed by ripping off the band aid of honest truth and getting the air cleared to start with.  However, to play devil's advocate - let's take a look at the anatomy (and physiology) of a lie...

For the liar (seeker of instant gratification - get it out of the way)...

Initially, when confronted with the concept of revealing an uncomfortable truth, the liar is faced with a fight or flight situation - do I tell the truth and risk immediate retribution and disappointment, or do I tell a lie and wager this will pass and I am equally set free?  In implementation of this - speech can rapidly increase (inner and outer talk), breathing shallows and adrenal hormones go into over drive.  Heart rates can speed up, stress hormones invade the blood stream...all of which are inflammatory in nature.  Not to mention - the digestive system slows down, muscles tighten up and in some cases - sleep becomes disrupted due to a number of adverse chemical reactions.  This could be where the saying 'How do lie straight in bed?' comes from!  Often a liar will almost immediately seek a compensatory 'stuffing' of their falsities with food, cigarette smoking, alcohol or other habits). From a long term health perspective - none of this is advisable.

If the liar is pathological, that is they lie to cover up lies - this cycle of adrenal overload becomes a chemical mish mash of over compensatory and unnecessary self (and other's) destruction.  Eventually - the only healthy thing to do is to be honest.

For the truth hunter (prepared to deal with the immediate consequences for a longer term benefit)...

Instantly, the truth hunter feels something isn't right.  It's as instinctive as the fight and flight felt when the liar is confronted by the choice of telling the truth or keeping the lie and the hormonal harm is quite the same.  As the honest information is eventually delivered, depending on the magnitude of the story, who delivered the truth and how it is communicated, the truth hunter can experience a number of deeply invasive emotions and their chemical reactions - none of which are commonly health promoting...unless it is decided that they aren't offensive.  Mostly, it leaves the truth hunter, hunted.  They become the prey rather than a predator they started out to be when seeking the truth on their instincts.  In other words - instincts may be muted...the liar has broken ground.

To start with there is the adrenal hormone responses.  Depending on how long these are present (often depending on the repetitiveness of the lying x frequency of being lied to + other life stressors), the truth hunter may also feel anxiety, suspicion, apathy and anger - especially when the truth is finally revealed.  Sleep may be interrupted, appetite increased or suppressed and an increase of stimulants or relaxants are commonly introduced to deal with the inability to unravel the issues at hand.  At this point - responses become erratic, unusual, irrational and oppositional.

Although smaller and larger versions of this scenario are either less or more harmful...the fact of the matter at hand is that telling the truth is a far more direct and clearer method of communicating.

After all - who has the time these days to waste on messy unnecessary chemical reactions and their impacts?

Truthfully yours,

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