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Here’s what happens to your brain when you’re keeping a secret

Secrets are hard to keep, despite our best efforts. New research has shown that keeping a secret can damage our mental health.

According to a study published on PsycNET can increase a person’s individual anxiety and drain the mind. A team at Columbia University surveyed 600 people and found that 96% currently had a secret, mostly of romantic nature, according to the Independent.

The participants were then asked how often they had to hide the secret or how frequently they were thinking about it. The latter, mind-wandering, was discovered to be twice and it was the reason that caused the most damage. The result remained the same among random tourists in New York City that the team spoke to.

The study suggests that not the nature or content of the secret was harmful, but how the mind reflects on the information. Furthermore, poor well-being has less to do with the importance of the secret and more to do with the repetitive thought of having to keep it in your head.

The researchers also asked 186 people how constant reflection upon a negative life event that was known to the public affected them. While they admitted that the experience wasn’t pleasant, the secret group still had a worse state of well-being.

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