Keeping secrets: Is it healthy?

You can call me the extroverted type. Sharing is caring — like it or leave it — with inner secrets slim to none. Personally, I usually find a tremendous amount of comfort and relief in getting secrets off my mind. Be free, I cry, be free! When I’ve confided my silliest and darkest stories eating me up inside to friends or complete strangers, I often found I wasn’t alone with many of them. Will I be sharing some of them here? Not today, but let’s talk about secrets. Is keeping secrets a healthy thing to do or not?

Last year I was completely turned on and freaked out by Frank Warren’s PostSecret project, where hundreds of people could confess anything from munching on boogers (sorry) to having experienced childhood abuse by sending a postcard to an address in Maryland. From those postcards a book was born called PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives. Checking out the PostSecret site will give you an idea of some of the stories shared, and apparently how revealing has lead to healing.

On the flipside, I just came across this Newsweek piece which discusses why keeping secrets can be a healthy thing. The article first speaks on the new Secret deodorant campaign urging women to spill the beans and applauding them for doing such. Moving onto how and why keeping secrets can be considered an ill and toxic thing for the mind and body, researchers went on to explore to the effects and health of people carrying secrets. In their study scheduled to be published in the Journal of Personality in October, they found that people hiding something had fewer psychosomatic symptoms than those with clear consciences. They also note that well-chosen secrets can preserve a more idealized and healthier self-image.

Take a look at both sites and let us know what your take on confessing, confiding, sharing and shouting your secrets is. Does it make you feel good or sick and sad inside?

Author by Adrienne Wilson