How To: Keep a Secret

Why is it so hard to keep a secret? For me, it’s not hard now, I have no problem keeping a secret, but when I was younger I couldn’t keep a secret to save my life. It was like something inside of me took over and I had to tell someone. According to a study done by a Harvard psychologist, there is a scientific reason why it’s a tough to keep a secret. It is something called “ironic processes.”

According to the study, “Even though your conscious mind is trying to do the right thing, the unconscious mind is looking for the worst. It’s trying to protect you, but it’s actually more resistant to distraction than the conscious mind. A bit of distraction will unveil the process that it’s looking for the worst that could happen.”

You can read the original study here, but I will break it down for you. There are four things this article says to remember which will help you keep secrets locked in the vault.

1. Don’t get stressed out – Getting stressed out puts a limit on what your conscious mind can control. We’ve all been there, stressed, talking fast, not paying attention… next thing you know… Opps! The article says, “Whenever you’re trying to control your mind, it’s a good idea to have lots of spare mental capacity.”

2. Keep a journal – This study shows that if you write the secret in a journal, it will lessen the chances that you will say it out loud. Hmm… I don’t know about this one.

3. Don’t get drunk – I know that you will be surprised to read this, but getting drunk encourages you to spill the beans. Really? :)

4. Get hypnotized – Apparently some people have gotten hypnotized into keeping a secret. (Wow, it must have been a juicy one!) But the article goes on to say that, “Just a small percentage of the population is susceptible to hypnosis that it might not be useful.”

What if you want to get a secret out of someone? After reading this article, that shouldn’t be too hard to do. A couple glasses of wine ought to do it! If that doesn’t work, here is a video with some great tips for getting someone to tell you their secret.