When you think about a secret, you use up motivational resources which can drain your energy and make simple tasks appear difficult. Telling a secret to someone you trust can help restore motivation.
Researchers say a secret can preoccupy your mind and the more you think about it, the more you use personal, intellectual and motivational resources.
‘Being preoccupied by a secret at work can be demotivating,’ said Michael Slepian, an adjunct assistant professor of negotiations at Columbia Business School and co-author of the study. ‘The burden of secrecy can make things around you appear more challenging and if you’re less motivated to tackle these challenges, your performance can suffer.’
As part of the study, scientists performed a series of experiments to assess the effect secrets had on a subject’s ability to judge the steepness of a hill.
Those that dubbed their secrets as preoccupying judged the hill to be steeper than it actually was.
‘This is the same kind of outcome we see when people are carrying physical burdens, seeing the world as more challenging, forbidding and extreme,’ added Slepian.
The defined a preoccupying secret as one that causes daily concern and may be related to more serious life-altering issues like money, sexual orientation or a health concern, the researchers said.
According to the study, one of the best ways to gain back your productivity is to simply get the burden off of your chest.
But, Slepian said, that doesn’t mean you should star immediately airing your dirty laundry.
He said it’s important to remember that revealing the secret to the wrong person could do more harm than good.
For those without a confidant, anonymous hotlines provide a way to reveal the secret, while keeping your identity a secret.
Another option if you cannot state the secret out loud is to simply write it down.
For example, posting the secret on an online message board or a website that shares submissions confidentially, or hand writing the secret in a personal journal can help, the researchers added.
Either way, Slepian argues there may be both physical and psychological benefits to getting a secret off your chest.
MEN ARE THE BIGGEST GOSSIPS
Modern men cannot keep a secret – and are now worse gossips than women, according to a study last year.
Researchers found that, contrary to the assumption that women can’t wait to spill the beans, it is men who are first to pass on confidential information.
Thanks to social media, men no longer wait to see their mates in the pub and typically share a secret within three hours, the study found.
And almost half of men admit to blabbing about a secret within minutes of first being told about it.
In comparison, women will keep it to themselves for at least three and a half hours before passing it on.
The study by The Fifth Estate found that the average man will keep a secret to themselves for around two hours and 47 minutes – almost 40 minutes less than women.
More than one in ten guys even admitted to blabbing someone’s private secret within 10 minutes or less of first finding out about it.
Despite this, 92 per cent of men consider themselves to be good at keeping secrets
Culled from UK Daily Mail.