Lying less can significantly improve your mental and physical health – and even stave off sore throats and headaches, a recent study has suggested.
The 'Science of Honesty' study, presented at the American Psychological Association, found that people who told fewer white lies, improved their overall health in just 10 weeks.
“Recent evidence indicates that Americans average about 11 lies per week. We wanted to find out if living more honestly can actually cause better health,” professor Anita E. Kelly from the University of Notre Dame said in a statement.
Researchers enlisted the help of 110 people aged between 17 and 71, by asking half of them to stop telling major or minor lies for 10 weeks. The participants’ health was later measured using a polygraph test.
Participants in the no-lie group who told three fewer white lies than they did in other weeks, experienced four fewer mental-health complaints, such as feeling tense or melancholy, and three fewer physical complaints, such as sore throats and headaches.
In contrast, the group who were not asked to curb their lying also noted an improvement in their mental and physical health when they told fewer lies.
The changes in the participants’ everyday lying habits included telling the truth rather than exaggerating and making false excuses for being late or failing to complete tasks.
Find out how to spot a liar...
Watch out for an avoidance of eye contact or eyes moving too quickly
Do they look more 'smug' than normal?
Are they displaying high levels of 'calm'?
Are their words accompanied with frequent 'small shrugs'?
Do they play with their hair while talking?
Does their smile reach all the way to their eyes?
Does this person deliberately place an object/piece of furniture between you and them while talking?
Are they sweating more than normal?
Do they touch their face while talking?
“We found that the participants could purposefully and dramatically reduce their everyday lies, and that in turn was associated with significantly improved health,” says professor Anita E. Kelly.
The study also revealed that lying less not only benefited participants’ health it also improved their relationships too.
In weeks when participants told fewer lies, they reported that their close personal relationships had improved and that their social interactions overall had gone more smoothly during the 10-week period.
Can't stop telling lies? Find out how to stop lying (WATCH)