In a recent study, a Notre Dame psychologist had groups of undergraduates write down a personal secret and told them it would be read by someone critical, someone accepting, or no one at all. Eight weeks later, those who’d imagined sharing their secret with an understanding confidant reported fewer illnesses than the others. And those who’d imagined a judgmental confidant got sick most often. In addition to vitamin C and a good night’s rest, spilling your guts to a close friend might be just what your body needs to stay healthy.

MORE: The Actual Weight of a Secret