5 Reasons Keeping Secrets Is Making You More Stressed


We're all guilty of it sometimes: You keep secrets from your friends, family, boyfriend or girlfriend and teachers when you know, deep down, that you should be open and honest. Although your favorite movies and TV shows may glamorize the mystery of keeping secrets (and the dramatic reveal), keeping important experiences or feelings to yourself may have a serious negative impact on your life and relationships.

Here are five reasons you should be spending more time talking things through with the people you trust -- instead of holding it all in.

1. Secrets have been shown to lead to depression.

Researchers in the Netherlands recently found that young people aged 14-19 who kept private secrets had higher levels of rule-breaking behaviors and reported lower moods and more complaints of headaches. The study also found that secrecy was correlated with feelings of loneliness. To avoid the isolating and stressful burden of carrying a private secret on your shoulders, tell a trusted friend or adult.

2. It's true: Secrets don't make friends.

There's a lot of truth to the childhood maxim, "Secrets don't make friends." The Netherlands study also determined that teens who reported keeping more secrets also confessed to having lower-quality relationships that young people who kept fewer or less significant secrets. While there's no need to air your dirty laundry to all your friends in the interest of avoiding secrets, keeping important things from people who trust you can harm (and even ultimately ruin) your friendships.

3. Keeping a secret private can be stressful.

Some things aren't easy to keep to yourself, and you may have to watch your back to make sure parents or friends don't find about about your secret -- whether it's an under-the-radar relationship or the fact that you're failing Spanish. Small secrets can easily snowball into big secrets. The stress of lying to your friends and family can be a major source of anxiety, and it's one that you can easily avoid by coming clean right away.

4. Secrets lead to lies.

A big secret can easily turn into a web of lies. After all, it's not easy to keep something important from the people you care about without telling a few little white lies (and maybe some big ones) to cover your tail along the way. Without getting into all the reasons that lying is something you just shouldn't do, suffice it to say that honesty really is the best policy.

5. People are more trustworthy and understanding than you might think.

If someone has proved themselves to be worthy of your trust, then that person is worth confiding in. You might be surprised at what a relief it is to open up about the things you've been keeping to yourself.

Tell us: What's the worst secret you've ever kept? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet @HuffPostTeen.

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