Many relationships run into trouble because one partner seeks more closeness while the other seeks more distance. It’s a cycle that psychologists call a pursuer-distancer dynamic.

Typically, during the initial infatuation stage, you both want to spend as much as time as possible together. Then, reality sets in. One partner feels like they’re not getting enough attention, and the other feels suffocated. The more the pursuer clings and nags, the more the distancer criticizes and pulls away.

To make things more complicated, the roles can sometimes change during the course of the relationship. For example, when the pursuer decides to move on, the distancer may suddenly start trying to win them back.

Minor fluctuations are natural in any relationship, but this cycle can become destructive if it becomes too intense or persistent. If you see such warning signs in your relationship, try these more effective methods for staying close.

Steps to Take When You’re the Pursuer:

1. Meet your own needs. Be honest with yourself about how much you’re expecting from your partner. You may be exhausting them if you’re placing excessive demands on the relationship. Try making new friends, cultivating outside interests, and fixing your own dilemmas.

2. Ask for what you want. Your partner is more likely to respond to polite and reasonable requests than nagging and vague hints. Make it clear that you’re asking for something, rather than putting them down.

3. Level the field. Who texts more in your relationship? A slight disparity may be insignificant, but if you’re reaching out too much, you may need to exercise some restraint. Resist the impulse to leave repetitive messages just because you want assurance. Try to match each other’s communication frequencies.

4. Back off. It’s essential to talk things over, but you also want to choose the appropriate time. If your partner seems overwhelmed, encourage them to take a break. Schedule your sensitive discussions for a time when you both feel up to the task.

Steps to Take When You’re the Distancer:

1. Build trust. You’ll miss out on love if you try to protect yourself by holding back. Instead, learn to trust by remembering that you’re strong enough to deal with disappointments. Notice how your partner shows their concern and good intentions, and treat them with compassion when they make a mistake.

2. Share your feelings. Risk being vulnerable. Start small and work your way up to the deeper issues.

3. Show affection. Let your partner know you appreciate them and find them attractive. Hold hands at the movies or give them a hug when they come home. Make eye contact when they’re talking and ask questions that prove you’re listening.

4. Spend time together. Share your time. Plan a romantic weekend if you’ve been working extra hours for the past month. Wake up early on weekdays so you can get together for breakfast.

Steps to Take in any Relationship:

1. Hold yourself accountable. Focus on how your behavior contributes to the dynamics in your relationship, rather than blaming your partner. You have more control over your own choices.

2. Spot your triggers. Increase your awareness of how you may be inadvertently sabotaging your happiness. Notice when you’re trying to get your own way by checking in too often or withholding affection.

3. Work together. Remember that you’re on the same side. Support each other as you’re trying to develop healthier patterns of interaction.

A healthy relationship allows you and your partner to balance your needs for autonomy and intimacy. Replace the pursuer-distancer cycle with more open and respectful communication so you can both enjoy more love and satisfaction.

Did you know that your diet can affect anxiety levels? If you’re tired of only using medications for your anxiety, consider how you can incorporate lifestyle changes such as diet modifications to help.

As with any change you may be considering, talk to your doctor ahead of time about any concerns you may have.

Try these diet strategies to help lessen anxiety symptoms:

1. Eliminate alcohol. Although there is a belief that alcohol can relax the body, it can be harmful for those with anxiety.

* Alcohol affects the body in many ways, including making you more dehydrated. It can also affect hormone levels and other things that can lead to anxiety.

* If you drink too much, you may not be eating enough food. Alcohol has a lot of calories and carbohydrates, but they’re not healthy. Not getting the right nutrition can hurt your entire body and increase anxiety. Avoid using alcohol as a substitute for lunch or dinner.

* Experts point out that the toxins in alcohol can increase anxiety attacks.

2. Watch out for caffeine. It may not be easy to stop your coffee habit, and mornings may be more difficult. However, eliminating caffeine can help reduce anxiety.

* Too much coffee can act like a stimulant for anxiety.

* Coffee can increase your heartbeat and make you feel as if you’re having a panic attack.

* Caffeine is addictive, so you may have trouble eliminating it at first. Pay attention to the hidden sources of caffeine such as dark chocolate and other products.

3. Beware of refined sugars. Refined sugars can make anxiety worse, and these sugars are hiding in many of the foods you may eat.

* These types of sugars are included in a variety of products. Carefully read labels to ensure that there are no refined sugars.

* Sugar acts like a stimulant, so your anxiety symptoms can increase.

* Refined sugars can be in many things that you might not even suspect, including bagels, cereals, oatmeal, crackers, and other products. Even canned vegetables may have unnecessary added sugar.

4. Get enough B vitamins. Research shows that a lack of B vitamins in your body can contribute to anxiety. Pay attention to how many B vitamins are in your diet.

* It’s easy to get a deficiency of these vitamins, so try to eat more legumes, meats, eggs, rice, leafy greens, and other sources of these nutrients.

* Consider eating more asparagus and avocado. Studies have revealed that these two vegetables can lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Avocado has B vitamins and asparagus has folic acid.

5. Look for your own triggers and eliminate them. You may have specific foods that trigger anxiety, so it’s important to determine which foods can negatively affect you in this way.

* In some cases, the anxiety-triggering foods or beverages are linked to traumatic events. A difficult memory can rise to the surface after eating or drinking them, causing anxiety.

* In other cases, food intolerances and allergies may cause anxiety. There are reports that show some people react to dairy, and it can mimic some of the symptoms of anxiety.

* Many of the common triggers include dairy, gluten, processed foods, soda, and fried foods.

* Keep a food journal and track how you feel after eating dairy, fried foods, or other things you suspect may be triggers. Make a note about your emotional well-being before and after eating each item. This will help narrow down the list and make it easier to see what food should go.

The food that enters your body can affect more than just the scale. It can also affect anxiety levels. Pay attention to what you eat each day and keep track of anxiety symptoms that manifest themselves after you eat certain foods.

Why is it so difficult to ask for help, especially at work? Maybe you worry about appearing weak or incompetent. Perhaps you think you’ll wind up owing favors that you’ll need to pay back.

The truth is that your reluctance to reach out for assistance could have a negative impact on your career. You could be missing out on opportunities to learn from your colleagues, develop valuable relationships, and enhance your job performance.

Stop trying to tough it out alone. Run down this checklist for when and how to ask for help at work.

When to Ask for Help at Work:

1. Seek clarification. If you’re unsure about how to complete an assignment, asking for help is more effective than trying to bluff your way through it. Any temporary embarrassment is less risky than making a serious misstep.

2. Starting a new job. It’s natural to consult others when you’re a recent hire. You may even make friends faster.

3. Tackle an unfamiliar project. One of the greatest benefits of reaching out is the opportunity to learn. Ask your boss for some one-on-one time to discuss strategy together. Invite more experienced coworkers to join you on a high-profile venture or engage a consultant who can show you the ropes.

4. Fix a mistake. If you take enough risks, you’re bound to have a project that turns out differently than you hoped. A wise boss will evaluate you based on how you handle the situation. Impress them by acknowledging your errors promptly and looking for a solution, even if that means bringing in additional staff members.

5. Manage a heavy workload. Maybe there’s too much on your plate. Arrange with a coworker to cover each other’s calls on days you have back-to-back meetings.

6. Promote collaboration. Even if you excel at a certain task, it can be illuminating to see how someone else would handle it. Develop a reputation for being a team player.

How to Ask for Help at Work:

1. Try it yourself first. Before telling anyone that your computer is broken, check that it’s plugged in. Test the obvious solutions before you approach others, especially your boss.

2. Act promptly. On the other hand, once you know you’re stumped, seek help quickly. Minimize delays and downtime.

3. Be specific. Make your request clear. Let your colleagues know what you need and any related details and deadlines.

4. Exude confidence. Rehearse your request if you feel nervous. You can feel comfortable about asking for help because it shows that you are strong enough to be vulnerable and you care about your work.

5. Show respect. Let others know that you value their time. Be brief, and tell them that you’re happy with whatever method is convenient for them. Respond graciously even if they turn you down.

6. Know who to approach. Figure out who is likely to have the answers you’re looking for. Consult the staff directory or use your network to find a referral.

7. Express appreciation. Thank others for their assistance. Follow up so they know how their efforts made a difference.

8. Be willing to reciprocate. Giving generously is a powerful way of showing your gratitude. Volunteer your services before a colleague even has to ask. When you’re consistently eager to lend a hand, your coworkers are more likely to do the same for you.

Knowing how to ask for assistance is a vital soft skill that’s just as important as any official credential on your resume. Transform yourself into a more valuable team member by giving and getting help on a regular basis.

The average school-age child in the US spends 7 and a half hours a day in front of a digital device, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. As a parent, you want your kids to have access to the technology they need to succeed in school and prepare for successful careers.

However, you also want them to lead balanced lives and appreciate the value of inexpensive and enriching offline activities.

Encouraging the moderate use of media gives your children more opportunities for interactions and experiences that are essential for healthy development. Take a look at the benefits of disconnecting, and ideas for what to do when you’re offline.

Benefits of Electronic-Free Activities:

1. Shape up. Too much time sitting in front of screens increases the risk of obesity. Give your children a head start on making exercise a regular part of their routine.

2. Sleep well. Bright screens and mental stimulation interfere with good quality rest and sleep. Set a curfew so electronic devices are turned off at least 2 hours before bedtime.

3. Promote learning. Digital devices can deliver excellent educational content, but a steady diet of empty entertainment or texting can distract from studying. Help your child keep their mind on their schoolwork.

4. Manage behavior issues. Using media wisely helps prevent aggression, substance abuse, and other risky activities. It also promotes the development of important social and communication skills.

5. Save money. Maybe you have trouble affording the latest devices. Inexpensive activities teach kids how to value relationships and creativity rather than material possessions.

Ideas for Electronic-Free Indoor Activities:

1. Make music. Your kids probably know how to stream music, but can they play an instrument or sing? Introduce them to the joys of expressing themselves through music.

2. Do crafts. Collect household items or visit an art supply store so you have supplies on hand to do arts and crafts anytime. Practice making origami animals or holiday ornaments.

3. Play board games. Pull out your old favorites or shop for new versions. Spend an evening with Monopoly instead of watching a movie.

4. Put on a play. Create your own productions. Turn a large cardboard box into a puppet theatre. Read a play out loud with each family member taking a different role.

5. Cook dinner. Prepare meals together. Even small children can rinse fruit or tear up salad greens.

Ideas for Electronic-Free Outdoor Activities:

1. Go for a walk. Make it a habit to take a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. Walking is a gentle form of exercise your children will be able to do anywhere with no special equipment needed.

2. Toss a Frisbee. A Frisbee makes it fun to move around, and even your dog can master the rules. For more variety, stock up on other simple toys like hula hoops and jump ropes.

3. Plant a garden. Grow your own vegetables and flowers. Gardening teaches your kids where food comes from and how to work with others.

4. Take a dip. Having an in-ground pool isn’t the only way to enjoy the water. Let your kids ride their bikes while you spray a hose around them.

5. Visit the library. Libraries are a community gathering place. In addition to bringing home books, check out the calendar for special events.

6. Camp out. Pick a campground that suits your idea of roughing it or just sleep in your backyard. Toast marshmallows and tell ghost stories.

In a digital age, your kids are bound to be surrounded by computers, smart phones, and televisions. Show them that it’s possible to have fun without any screens involved, and carve out boundaries to keep the overuse of technology from interfering with healthy development.

Some adults love a tough workout, and others dread any activity more strenuous than washing their hair. Given that 80% of Americans fail to meet government guidelines for aerobic and strength training, it’s obvious that most of us fall into the second camp.

A new study by the University of Freiburg in Germany suggests that just 2 changes can make you enjoy exercise more. Participants with similar fitness levels were asked to ride a stationary bicycle for the same amount of time. Those who considered themselves to be athletic said the activity was more enjoyable, and required less effort.

The researchers concluded that personal expectations made the difference. The secret is to believe in your athletic abilities and the benefits of exercising.

Think how much easier it would be for you to stick to a workout program if you really enjoyed doing it. Try these tips for building up your confidence and knowledge.

Believing in Your Athletic Abilities:

1. Develop your own style. Each of us has our own personal interests and signature strengths. You may like ballroom dancing or playing competitive sports. You may excel at sprinting or long-distance running. Choose activities that make you feel accomplished.

2. Create challenges. Set goals that will encourage you to keep going. Work at strengthening your tennis serve or increasing your lung capacity so you can swim more laps.

3. Use external rewards. Intrinsic motivation is more powerful, but you can give yourself treats to help you feel fulfilled while you’re waiting to reach major milestones. Promise yourself a pedicure or a weekend outing to celebrate any week you visit the gym consistently.

4. Share social support. While you’re cheering yourself on, it also helps to have family and friends on your side. Team up with an exercise buddy, post your workout plans on a fitness forum, and ask your family for the help you need.

5. Find a role model. Look for someone who has qualities and achievements that you admire. You can pick someone close to you or someone you see in the news. Study what they do and focus on what you have in common.

6. Repeat affirmations. Create positive statements that help you to realize your worth and make changes in your life. Write them down and read them when you’re feeling stressed.

Understanding the Benefits of Physical Activity:

1. Do some research. Browse online or visit the library to read about how exercise affects your body and mind. Visualize yourself having more energy, strengthening your muscles, and reducing your risk for serious medical conditions.

2. Take a course. Sign up for rock climbing lessons or take an anatomy class at a community college. Learn more about your body and how to care for it.

3. Work with a trainer. Maybe you prefer working with a professional one-on-one. Ask friends and fellow gym members for recommendations. A customized program can deliver impressive results.

4. Talk with your doctor. Ask your physician about any concerns you have. They may be able to suggest what priorities would be helpful for you, such as lowering your blood pressure or rehabilitating a previous injury.

5. Evaluate your performance. As you become more physically fit, you may notice the effects spilling over into many areas of your life. Maybe you’re eating more vegetables or responding more effectively to feedback at work.

6. Listen to your body. Feeling good may be the ultimate benefit of working out. Take pleasure in your flat stomach or glowing skin.

When you want to exercise, you’ll find ways to overcome any barriers like being too busy or avoiding discomfort. A positive attitude about your athletic abilities and the benefits of physical activity will help you to stay healthy and fit.

Winter can be a wonderful time of year, with families gathering for the holidays and the sun glistening on ice and snow. Yet, it can also pose some extra health challenges, especially for older adults.

If you’re a senior or caring for one, learn how to protect yourself and those you love during the colder months. Study these tips before winter arrives.

Protect Your Heart:

1. Raise your awareness. Shoveling snow isn’t the only winter hazard, but it may be the most obvious. Keep in mind that your heart is working harder all winter long to keep your body warm, so blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks increase.

2. Shovel safely. When you do shovel, take it easy. Go indoors for a break about every 15 minutes, and check your pulse until it returns back to normal. Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco because they’ll add to the strain on your heart.

3. Watch your diet. Holiday parties and sitting around indoors can lead to weight gain. For the sake of your heart and your waistline, choose nutritious foods and measure your portions.

4. Review your medications. If you’re taking prescriptions for your heart or any chronic conditions, ensure you have an adequate supply. You don’t want a blizzard or holiday closing to catch you by surprise.

Stay Warm:

1. Limit your exposure. Seniors are especially sensitive to falling temperatures, which can increase the risk of lung spasms as well as heart attacks. If possible, stay inside on the coldest days or bundle up, including covering your face with a scarf or ski mask.

2. Prevent hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when body temperature drops to 95 degrees or less. Call 911 if you see warning signs such as cold skin, confusion, and sleepiness. You can reduce your risk by staying indoors and keeping the thermostat at 65 degrees or higher.

3. Treat frostbite. Frostbite can spread to your bones unless treated promptly, so cover up when you’re outside. If your skin becomes white or numb, soak the area in warm water and get medical help immediately.

4. Check your heaters. If you use space heaters, keep them at least 3 feet away from anything flammable. Double-check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors too.

Other Suggestions for Avoiding Winter Health Risks:

1. Avoid slips and falls. Watch out for icy sidewalks and streets. Wear sensible shoes and take small steps.

2. Get your flu shot. Most medical experts recommend flu shots for anyone over 65, with very few exceptions. Early immunization is more effective, but a later shot may still help you stay well or lessen your symptoms.

3. Shine a light. Shorter daylight hours can affect your sleep and aggravate symptoms of depression and dementia. Try to get some sunlight in the morning by taking a walk or just sitting by a window.

4. Exercise regularly. Staying fit can help you manage many chronic conditions that often become more intense in winter. In addition to keeping your heart healthy and watching your weight, you may be able to reduce joint pain associated with arthritis.

5. Socialize more. Feeling isolated could be as unhealthy as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to one major study. If heavy snowfalls and freezing temperatures are keeping you inside, stay connected with regular phone calls or see if there is anyone who can visit you occasionally.

6. Talk with your doctor. Your individual risks may vary depending on factors such as the state of your health and the medications you take. Discuss any questions you have with your doctor.

Start preparing now for a safe and comfortable winter season. Taking the appropriate precautions can help seniors to stay warm and happy until spring returns.

Do your children attract colds the way a bird feeder makes hungry squirrels come running? With some simple precautions, you may be able to keep your children free from infections this cold and flu season, or at least relieve their symptoms faster and reduce their number of sick days.

While adults average only about 2 to 4 colds a year, many children have 10 or more, especially if they’re in close contact with other little ones at school or day care centers. If you want to beat those odds, take a look at this guide to preventing colds.

Fighting Colds by Encouraging Cleanliness:

1. Wash your hands. The most effective way to stop colds is to keep your hands clean, and keep them away from your face, especially your eyes. Teach your children to wash their hands frequently with soap for about 20 seconds at a time.

2. Check your nails. Remember to scrub under fingernails too, because that’s where germs get trapped. Keep your child’s nails trimmed short and use a nail brush to be thorough.

3. Switch your towels. A dirty towel will undo all your good intentions. Consider using disposable towels, or wash cloth towels daily, when a family member is ill.

4. Disinfect toys. Stuffed toys and other playthings can transfer germs too. Clean hard surfaces with diluted bleach. Hand wash teddy bears or put them in a plastic bag with baking soda, and give them a shake.

5. Limit sharing. Show your child how to share safely. Train them to use their own drinking glass and water bottle.

Fighting Colds by Changing How You Feed Your Kids:

1. Eat up. Starving a cold is a myth. Serve your child a balanced and nutritious diet that will keep their energy up.

2. Stay hydrated. Drinking lots of liquids is good advice. Water or tea will loosen up congestion, and warm beverages feel good on scratchy throats.

3. Sip soup. Chicken soup is another home remedy that makes sense. In addition to keeping your child hydrated, it provides essential nutrients.

4. Try vitamins. A number of studies suggest that products with ingredients like vitamin C or zinc may not provide any special benefits. However, if you don’t mind the cost, you might want to see if they work for you.

Other Strategies for Fighting Colds:

1. Use a humidifier. Humidifiers can reduce coughing and make it easier to breathe by adding moisture to dry winter air. Clean them regularly to avoid mold.

2. Gargle with saltwater. Your probably know that salt can soothe a sore throat, but it may also prevent colds in the first place. Some studies show that even gargling with plain water leads to fewer colds, and it costs nothing.

3. Cover your mouth. Encourage your child to cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze. Germs are more easily transmitted by touch than by air, but it’s still the polite thing to do.

4. Warm your feet. Many studies have cast doubt on the belief that you’ll catch a cold if you go outside without a coat or hat. On the other hand, there is some evidence that keeping your feet warm helps, so let your kids wear footed pajamas or socks to bed.

5. Play outdoors. Whatever they wear, your children will benefit from spending time outdoors. Some research suggests that vitamin D supplements reduce the risk of infection by 10%, and sunshine can have similar effects.

Practicing good hygiene and eating lots of chicken soup will help your child to avoid colds or recover faster. Either way, your whole family could have fewer sore throats and runny noses this winter.

For most travelers, the only thing scary about going to the airport is the long security lines, and expensive fees for excess baggage. However, millions of adults experience more serious symptoms that can interfere with holiday plans and business trips.

In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that about 25% of Americans are nervous about flying, and about 7% meet the diagnostic criteria for aviophobia. If you’re one of them, try these strategies that can help calm your nerves.

Practicing Self-help for Fear of Flying:

1. Breathe deep. Breathing from your diaphragm lowers stress and tells your brain that it’s okay to relax. Inhale through your nose, drawing air up from your lower abdomen to your chest and throat. Exhale through your nose, releasing air in the opposite direction.

2. Meditate. Meditation encourages positive thinking as well as slow breathing. Focus on a pleasant mental image or repeat a soothing mantra.

3. Look out the window. Fixing your gaze on the horizon can steady your nerves. You’ll see how level the plane is, even during turbulence.

4. Close your eyes. On the other hand, you might prefer to close your eyes. The lack of visual input fights nausea, and the darkness may help you sleep.

5. Change your seat. Upgrade to first class if your budget permits. You’ll be able to board and depart the plane faster. If money is tight, pick a seat as close to the center of the plane as possible for a smoother ride. The rear seats tend to be bumpiest.

6. Learn the facts. Research safety statistics about air travel compared to driving or other forms of transportation. It may put your mind to rest.

7. Avoid alcohol. Resist the temptation to drink whisky to boost your courage. Becoming dehydrated will just add to your discomfort.

8. Eat light. Be gentle with your queasy stomach. Consume small portions and pass on anything greasy and spicy.

9. Wear your seat belt. Follow the pilot’s instructions to keep your seat belt fastened whenever you’re sitting down. While injuries from turbulence are rare, it’s a sensible precaution.

10. Use distractions. Listen to music, solve word puzzles, or read a sensational thriller. Do anything that takes your mind off the altitude.

Seeking Outside Help for Fear of Flying:

1. Tell the flight crew. If you’re very anxious about flying, you may want to mention it to a flight attendant. Acknowledging your fears can sometimes make them less intense.

2. Ask your doctor. Your physician can advise you about over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs for motion sickness and anxiety. Some travelers also use natural remedies like ginger.

3. Download an app. There are many free or inexpensive apps designed to alleviate fear of flying. Browse online for a product that deals with your triggers, whether you dislike cramped spaces or worry about safety issues.

4. Take a course. A number of airlines offer courses to help their passengers learn to fly more comfortably, and they’re usually staffed by real pilots and flight attendants. Plus, the curriculum usually includes a test flight so you can practice what you learned.

5. See a therapist. If fear of flying is interfering with your life, you might benefit from talking with a therapist who specializes in anxiety issues and phobias. Many patients have found relief through treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Self-help techniques and professional assistance can help you minimize any anxiety or nausea you experience during air travel. As your fear of flying decreases, you’ll be able to enjoy your travels more and arrive at your final destination feeling cool and collected.

Meditation is a powerful tool, but it’s not the only way to calm your mind. Consider these tricks to find peace and inner calmness.

Try these ideas the next time you want to calm your mind and feel better:

1. Breathe. The simple act of breathing can help you calm down quickly and reduce anxiety. Breathing can help you focus on the moment and forget your worries. A few deep breaths help relax your muscles as your cells receive the extra oxygen.

* Learn simple breathing exercises or just breathe deeply.

2. Show gratitude. By showing gratitude, you can change your focus and find peace. Being thankful and saying it can help you see the positive things that are around you.

* Send an email, talk on the phone, or write a note to someone that you would like to thank.

* When stopping and giving thanks, you’re also living in the present moment. When your mind is on the present moment, there’s no room for worrying about the future or regretting your past.

3. Smile. How often do you smile during the day? Do you smile at strangers as well as friends?

* Smiling can instantly boost your mood. It can help relax the body and mind, help the immune system, and reduce stress.

* Research published in the journal Psychological Science shows that even a fake smile can have a positive effect on the body. The act of smiling positively affects the brain.

4. Go for a hike or enjoy nature. If meditation doesn’t appeal to you because it involves sitting, then go for a hike or find another way to enjoy nature. Explore a park, trail, or other natural area near you.

* Notice the sounds, smells, and visuals in front of you as you walk.

* Nature can have a soothing impact on the brain and body.

5. Turn off your phone and other devices. Constant communication and connection can make it hard to have a calm mind. Turn off your phones, tablets, computers, and other devices to find peace.

* By disconnecting from technology for brief periods of time, you’ll be able to relax.

6. Play with your pet. If you’re lucky to have a dog, cat, or other animal, play with them to find calmness. Research shows that pets can help people stay calm and relax.

* Try petting your dog or cat for an extended period of time. Only focus on them and don’t think about other issues.

* Consider taking your pet for a walk and getting exercise at the same time.

7. Do some type of manual labor. Sometimes, manual labor such as cleaning the house or mowing the lawn can help calm the mind. Exercise can boost brain chemicals that make you happy.

* Manual labor can help you forget issues by forcing you to focus on completing the tasks.

* Look for activities that need to be done at home or at work. Do the dishes, vacuum, clean out closets, or organize cabinets. Sort the garage or attic, try gardening, or pull weeds. If you’re finished with tasks at home, reach out to friends and neighbors to help them.

Although meditation can be important, it’s not the only way to stay calm. Consider trying other methods and experimenting until you find the ones that work best for you.

What do registered dietitians avoid when they’re eating at home or out at a restaurant? The answer may surprise you. You already know they wouldn’t indulge in fast food or fried items, but their other avoidance foods are unusual.

Consider these choices and talk to your own dietitian:

1. Fat-free salad dressings. Health experts know that the fat-free salad dressings you can purchase in most stores are misleading.

* Fat-free salad dressings tend to compensate for the removal of fat by adding more sugar and salt. They may also add other unhealthy ingredients like chemicals.

* Registered dietitians don’t want to eat emulsifying agents commonly found in this product.

2. Refortified grains. These are grains that have been refined, but important nutrients are added back to refortify them.

* Registered dietitians don’t eat refortified grains and don’t recommend them.

* Although they have nutrients added back, they are not as healthy as the real versions that are whole grains. It’s better to stick to whole products like unrefined wheat, rice, and corn.

* Companies often use synthetic versions of minerals and other nutrients to refortify grains, and your body may not absorb or utilize them as well as the natural versions.

3. Rice cakes. If you’ve been on a diet before, you’ve probably eaten rice cakes. Rice cakes tend to taste bland. Although there are some flavored versions on the market, people still complain about their blandness. Plus, they’re not as healthy as they seem.

* Registered dietitians don’t often eat rice cakes. Rice cakes can spike your blood sugar levels and they have a detrimental, high glycemic index.

4. Diet soda. You’ll often see people choose diet soda over regular because they think they’re making a wiser decision. However, registered dietitians won’t drink it.

* Diet soda isn’t a healthier option. It has artificial sweeteners that have been linked to a higher risk of obesity and diabetes.

* You may think that by drinking diet soda you’ll lose weight. However, the opposite is true, and the word diet is very misleading in its name. You may actually gain weight and hurt your health.

5. Pretzels. Pretzels tend to have a lot of calories and salt. They’re also high in carbohydrates. In most cases, they lack fiber, vitamins, or minerals.

* You may think they’re a healthier alternative to chips, but the truth is that they’re just as bad. Both types of food can hurt your weight loss plans and spike your blood sugar levels.

6. Farm-raised shrimp. The fact that many registered dietitians won’t eat farm-raised shrimp surprises people.

* This type of shrimp isn’t the healthiest option because it can be filled with chemicals and antibiotics. You really don’t have any way of knowing what additives might be in your shrimp from the farm.

* Unfortunately, it can be hard to find shrimp that isn’t raised on a farm.

* Ask where your shrimp is from and try to avoid the farmed versions. One report found high levels of bacteria in farmed shrimp, so ask questions before buying them and ensure you know they’re safe.

Registered dietitians avoid some items that many people think are healthy. Their training and experience has shown them that it’s better to avoid these specific products. Take advantage of their knowledge and use it to help you and your family be healthier.