You’ve likely heard that keeping secrets is a burden emotionally, but new research in the Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests it may also be a physical encumbrance. The research suggests that when you’re holding onto a secret you can’t judge spatial distance and you rate physical tasks more difficult than they really are.
In several experiments the researchers found that keeping big secrets like infidelity made people less likely to perform heavy tasks and they lost the ability to accurately judge distance. The researchers explain:
People who recalled, were preoccupied with, or suppressed an important secret estimated hills to be steeper, perceived distances to be farther, indicated that physical tasks would require more effort, and were less likely to help others with physical tasks. The more burdensome the secret and the more thought devoted to it, the more perception and action were influenced in a manner similar to carrying physical weight.
It seems to suggest that secrets do indeed weigh you down. The next time you’re holding onto a big whopper of a secret you might consider shying away from jogging up any large hills or helping a friend with moving until you let the secret go.