Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Can you keep a secret

Recently much has been written about the physical and psychological consequences of secrecy. We know for example, that some of us can be trusted with other’s private matters, while some of us are less capable of keeping our mouths shut.

A diagnostic tool called the Self-Concealment Score gauges how secretive we are on a scale of ten (very open) to 50 (bank vault). Most of it turns out fall somewhere near the middle, which is the healthy range.

Generally, people with high-self concealment scores are those who tend to keep their thoughts and feelings bottled up and can be correlated with a host of emotional and physical issues, including stress, depression and have low self esteem.

Secrecy, it turns out, is taxing. Studies suggest that exercising the kind of self control required to deliberately conceal information is psychologically and even physically tiring, which sheds light on why secrecy can sabotage our health and well-being. It may also help explain why, for instance, it’s harder to diet during times of stress—because restraint depletes the same physical and emotional reserves as do stress and exhaustion.

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