Thatís the conclusion psychiatrist Gail Saltz came to when she was researching her book ďAnatomy of a Secret Life.Ē Dr. Saltz says keeping secrets, or living a secret life, provokes inner conflict, and that can lead to anxiety and chronic worry. Living like that for a long time produces sustained stress, which can result in a bunch of health issues like digestive problems, headaches, back pain, high blood pressure, even a weakened immune system. If youíre prone to depression, the chronic stress from keeping secrets can make it even worse. 

Of course, itís natural to have some secrets or things you keep to yourself, but Dr. Saltz says secrets become a problem when we feel we canít tell anyone, maybe you feel guilty or ashamed of what youíre doing. But when the number of secrets youíre keeping starts to affect your relationships, the balance of power shifts, you no longer control the secret, it controls you. Your life starts revolving around covering your tracks. Your secret then cuts you off from other people. Thatís when you know itís a problem. 

So what can you do about living a secret life? Get help. The first step is telling someone you trust, who wonít judge you, whatís going on with you. If you or someone you know, needs this kind of help, start here: mentalhelp.net. And one more time, Dr Saltzís book is called  ďAnatomy of a Secret Life."

Lesson Expert

Jennifer Boller

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