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Why telling white lies may be bad for your health

sex-and-relationships Updated: Aug 11, 2012 11:20 IST
Relaxnews
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How to be healthy? Exercise, eat your vegetables, and refrain from telling little white lies, according to a new study.

In early findings from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, US, researchers studied 110 participants who were told to stop telling either major or minor lies for 10 weeks. The control group was given no special instructions about lying. When those in the no-lie group told three fewer white lies than in other weeks, they complained less of headaches, sore throats, tenseness, anxiety, and other problems than those in the control group.

"Recent evidence indicates that Americans average about 11 lies per week," said lead author Anita E. Kelly in a recent press release. "We found that the participants could purposefully and dramatically reduce their everyday lies, and that in turn was associated with significantly improved health."

Kelly presented her research on Saturday at the American Psychological Association's annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Linda Stroh, a professor emeritus of organizational behavior at Loyola University in Chicago, told USA Today that the findings are similar to her own research on trust. "When you find that you don't lie, you have less stress," she says. "Being very conflicted adds an inordinate amount of stress to your life."

Some of the ways people refrained from lying in the study included avoiding exaggerating the truth about daily accomplishments and not making false excuses for running late or not finishing tasks.