According to psychologist Michael Slepian, Ph.D., author of The Secret Life Of Secrets, the average person keeps 13 secrets. By researching thousands of secrets through anonymous surveys (call him a professional secret keeper!), he compiled a list of 38 categories of secrets people commonly keep to themselves. “97% of people have at least one secret from the list right now, and the average person has 13 secrets from this list of 38 at every given time,” he says on this episode of the mindbodygreen podcast.
Not every secret has to be a huge, life-altering piece of information, but still, all these skeletons in the closet can become quite a burden. In fact, Slepian says keeping secrets can ultimately harm your well-being—while a very specific set of secrets can actually bolster your longevity. Below, find out whether the secrets you’re keeping can enhance or hinder your health goals.