New research presented at the American Psychological Association’s 120th Annual Conference showed a direct link between improved health and fewer untruthful tales.
The study, conducted by the University of Notre Dame, took into account the experiences of 110 participants aged between 18 and 71.
Half of the group was told to cut down on lying over the ten-week period, while the control group was given no instructions.
Each week, the groups attended the lab to give it an update on how they were feeling, with the ‘truth’ group experiencing fewer health problems and improved personal relationships.
Professor Lijuan Wang, co-author of the study, said: “Statistical analyses showed that this improvement in relationships significantly accounted for the improvement in health that was associated with less lying.”
Candidates that were told not to tell lies or make excuses for their actions consequently found they suffered less headaches, felt less tense and had a general improvement in their wellbeing.
The control group had a modest reduction in health problems when they told fewer lies in a week, demonstrating that lies can have a detrimental impact on how we feel.
Methods used to test the effectiveness of the theory included using lie detectors to ensure participants were truthful about the number of dishonest stories or excuses they had told over each seven-day period.
Study author professor Anita Kelly said: “We found that the participants could purposefully and dramatically reduce their everyday lies and that in turn was associated with significantly improved health.”
Participants also answered difficult questions with more questions in an effort to avoid telling lies, the study revealed.
So as well as using exercise to enjoy a healthy summer, you might like to cut down on the number of white lies you tell to feel better!