A new study from the American Psychological Association suggests the more lies you tell, the worse your health.
Researchers studied a group of people ages 18-71 for a few months; half of them were told to be as truthful as George Washington – the other half weren’t told anything about the study, but then had their fibs numbered and analyzed at the end of the study period.
Turns out the liars paid a price in health compared to the Honest Abes. More illness, more anxiety, more depression, more exhaustion, and more headaches. Other studies show liars tend to have a jump in blood pressure and strain on the heart when fudging the truth. Those you practiced honesty generally felt well.
It makes sense. unless you are pathological or psychologically impaired, that telling lies releases stress hormones, which in turn beat up your immune system, cardiovascular system. And that those who told the biggest whoppers had the most health complaints.
Obviously, the study isn’t perfect since it doesn’t look at all of the factors that might contribute to crummy health, and makes you question why certain politicians don’t drop dead as soon as they run for office. (That’s a tongue-in-cheek joke, you overly serious people. On second thought, maybe I lied and it wasnt a joke — and maybe that’s why I have a sudden headache.)
Two final thoughts: the average person tells 11 lies per week. Maybe we doctors need to advise some moderation there.
And … that famous honest by legend politician George Washington must have been a straight shooter. He lived until age 67. Not bad when you consider the average life expectancy for males in that time period was 36.