Small deceits doled out to protect someone else's feelings are pretty benign for you, at least, since they are probably not the kind you will obsess over. Worst case scenario: Feigning enthusiasm for your friend's flavorless gluten-free cake gives you minor, short term anxiety and may up the odds you will have to suffer through the dessert again.
Playing Pinocchio to save face or avoid embarrassment may seem pretty innocuous, but it can become a negative cycle that ripples into all aspects of your life, according to psychologist Deidre Fitzgerald, Ph.D., an associate professor of applied behavior analysis at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Another not so glam side effect is diarrhea. One study found that stress can abuse liars' immune systems, making them more likely to experience headaches, back pain, and yes, the runs.
Big Fat Lies
Larger lies can come with major guilt, stress, and remorse especially if you are telling tall tales to those you feel close to, says Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The constant threat of being found out and the pressure to keeping your story straight can initiate the same memory and metabolism destroying cortisol surge seen in secret holders and can lead to depression and anxiety.