This week Katie and I are talking about the measurable physical energy that it takes to withhold our feelings and the impact of transparency and perception on the body. Freud even said, “secrets make you sick.” Wow, well thanks Dr. Freud. But he does have a point. While we have understood the cognitive load that withholding our feelings and even keeping secrets can have on increasing stress levels in our body, this week we explore a study that specifically has measured how we perceive distances when we have a secret that we are keeping from others. Well, guess what these researchers discovered? First, people who had secrets or something that had been unexpressed actually interpreted steepness of hills differently and perceived them to be more steep than they actually were. Secondarily, individuals who were keeping a secret also misjudged distances to a target when throwing a ball. As well, individuals also were less likely to assist others who needed help if they had a secret. So not only does withholding our feelings and keeping a secret increase our stress levels, they actually change our perception of the world around us. This even shows up in our language such as “feeling weighed down” or “held back”. But, what can we possibly do about it?
Before we get to that, we also have to remember that we can not only withhold our perceived “negative” feelings but also our appreciations. One of the keys to living a fully alive life is doing our best to keep secrets and withholds from recirculating and occurring in our life. One of the best and sometimes, safest ways to start, is to just begin using writing about your issue. There is plenty of beneficial research that supports writing as a means of processing our feelings and being able to express ourselves. Let us know what you think in the comments below.