Have you ever lied on a resume? How about in an interview? How about when your girlfriend asks you if you think she’s fat? Lying is done on a constant basis and it’s done every day. It’s in human nature to lie, and on average, you lie three times within the first minute of meeting a stranger, and up to 200 times per day.
Lying requires a lot of effort, though. When you tell the truth, it’s just as simple as recalling a memory. When you lie, you have to consider what you’re trying to hide, think up a version that is believable, and then actively sell that lie – for as long as it takes to not get caught. If you’re lying to your girlfriend about her butt not being too big (but I wouldn’t even begin to imagine why this would be a problem), then you’re actively thinking about it every time she brings it up. That’s a lot of pressure. On top of that, a lie builds up every time you repeat it.
Just like many other things, lies cause stress. Just consider the lie detector machine. Unless you’re a very experienced liar (and studies show that most people think they’re more experienced than they actually are), it can be graphically proven that lying increases stress.
Just last year, a study in Notre Dame that involved a group of 110 people of varying ages were asked to come in and report how many of them lied in the previous week. Half of them were given instructions and tips on how to avoid lying, while the other half did not. Obviously, on a test that asked how often people lied, gradually, everyone lied less. However, the group that was given tips on how to avoid lying had provided lower numbers. Additionally, when asked to report, those who had lied less reported far better mental and physical health. Included in the report were better relationships with people, less trouble sleeping, and away with migraines.
You probably already knew about the relationship of lying and stress, anyway. However, note that this article does not serve a purpose to make bash out on liars. In fact, lying is useful and even necessary in certain situations. When lying assures safety or when honesty becomes a dangerous thing, you probably should lie. Exceptions always exist, and you can’t always tell the truth – but as far as honesty goes, you’ll be happier, and so will your brain and body.