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How Lying Affects Your Mental Health

Sophie Simons
February 7, 2023

We think lying would only affect the mental health of the person being lied to. However, lying also affects the liar's mental health, if not the entire reason the person lied was due to their poor mental health. You learn as a child not to lie, but as you grow older, sometimes, to avoid the uncomfortable truth, you tell a lie. 

To you, at the moment, if you are lying to a friend, you are telling them something to help prevent them from feeling bad. What you don't realize is internal; it is tearing you apart that you know the truth and your friend does not. 

You have your little white lies, and they seem harmless, but did you know your mental health could improve if you avoided these white lies? Your mental health could dramatically improve if you avoided lying entirely, a task too high of a hill to cross for some people.

Below we will discuss lying, mental health, and how the two are connected.

What is lying?

A lie can be confusing and lost in the gray area, especially when people believe that what they are doing is not lying if they are trying to stop someone close to them from feeling bad. But a lie is considered a false statement made with the intention of the listener to believe what was said to be true. 

For example, when someone asks you where their favorite shirt is, you tell them it's in the dryer when you know it's in the closet. This scenario would be considered a lie. 

How lying and mental health are connected

If the person being lied to finds out they are being lied to, it can lead to trust issues between those two individuals, ultimately affecting the person being lied to. However, the person committing the lie also can suffer from mental health issues, especially if they are a consistent liar. 

The effects of their lying could also lead to a chain reaction of events in their life that could worsen their mental health over time. Here are a few ways lying can affect someone in the long run.

  • Depression and anxiety 
  • Failed relationships 
  • Low self-esteem 
  • Increased stress hormones in the blood 

The word that correlates with lying is stress. The more someone lies, the more stress they will feel. When someone lies once, they will most likely lie again to keep the previous lie they said going. 

Then they may have to lie to the people associated with the person they lied to so this new person does not tell the initial person the truth. This revolving door continues to build over time, and you begin building this immense stress. This stress leads to mental health issues, as stress is the primary driver of depression and the result of increased stress hormones. 

Then you look at your failed relationships if the message that you are a liar has spread amongst people. Now you find yourself alone or unable to develop a lasting relationship. Loneliness affects 58% of people in America. 

Loneliness alone can contribute to deteriorating mental health. So lying can lead a person down a dark path of worsening mental health, which can be irreversible unless they are willing to stop lying and be more forthcoming with the truth. 

How to improve mental health

Lying is the primary catalyst to a cascade of events that can deteriorate your mental health. Of course, to improve your mental health, the first step would be to stop lying in general, but once your mental health is already in a poor state, there are methods you can use to improve alongside your quest to stop lying. Some tips include the following. 

  • Make amends with those you have hurt - Talk to those you have hurt in the past and seek to apologize for any pain your lies may have caused them.
  • Stay active - Exercise more, walks, and do things that keep your body in motion and your mind off the stress and pain you may be experiencing. 
  • Build a new trusting relationship - If past relationships are unsalvageable, it may be best to seek new ones. Seek to make these relationships different from the prior relationship by only telling the truth and allowing the other person to trust you and your word.
  • Journal your thoughts - With declining mental health, many thoughts are going through your mind that you may not be able to express openly. It is best to write those thoughts down on paper to express yourself without having to broadcast all your thoughts and feelings to others. 

Conclusion

Lying is an issue all people deal with daily. Sometimes we think that "a lie is a lie" and it will not hurt people. It may not hurt that person at the very moment, but it will hurt you inside because you know what you said was a lie, and you are hiding something from that person. 

The weight of having the truth in your mind and having your friend walking around under the veil of a lie can eat away at you and cause more stress on your body. It will cause you to look at your friend and practically wish you could tell them the truth, but once you have gone deep into the lie, it becomes harder to change course. 

Then you have to lie to your friends and continue to come up with lies to your initial friend to keep the first lie going, which continues to eat away at you. It makes you question whether or not you are a good friend or a good person. It's this immense amount of weight on you that, for some people, is too hard to endure. 

The best solution to this is to initially never lie, or if a lie has already occurred, try to make amends for it as quickly as possible and make the person understand there was no harm intended. White lies and big lies are all the same, and the effects are the same.

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Sophie Simons

Sophie Simons is a leading psychologist with a passion for enriching relationships. Through empathetic counseling and insightful guidance, she empowers couples and individuals to foster deeper connections, resolve conflicts, and create lasting harmony. Sophie's expertise in relationship advice has touched countless lives, making her a trusted source for building fulfilling partnerships.

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