Happy Wednesday, dear readers, and to all our Southern followers who are dealing with the snowy weather today: Stay safe (and inside if you can)!
In today's news roundup: the latest on mindfulness, how secrets impact your health, and finding the perfect relationship (yes, it's possible!). As always, we want to hear from you. Scroll down to catch the stories, then tell us: What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us @Shape_Magazine!
1. Secret-keeping is bad for your health. Researchers say that nearly 95 percent of the population keeps at least one bit of information about themselves private (and the five percent that don't are probably lying), but it turns out that struggling with how and when to tell someone your secret can stress you out and make you sick. In an excerpt from the book Secrets and Lies: The Price We Pay When We Deceive the People We Love, Psychology Today discusses the ramifications of keeping life-changing secrets from your loved ones. Ultimately, the effects are very long-reaching.
2. The mindfulness revolution. In today's stressed-out, multitasking, always-on-call world, is it possible to slow down and focus? Science says yes, but mindfulness is key. Time magazine explores that concept this month in the cover profile by Kate Picket, using the argument that your attention is like a muscle—if you exercise it regularly, it will grow stronger, and you'll be able to cultivate more mindfulness and find peace of some kind.
3. The anatomy of a protein bar. Protein and protein bars certainly are enjoying their moment in the health-food spotlight, but are the benefits all they're hyped up to be? The New York Times takes an inside look at what really goes into building the perfect protein, and the verdict is mixed. While many protein bars can serve as a healthy post-workout snack, they often tend to be processed with cheap fillers, low-cal sugar sweeteners such as sugar alcohols (which can cause an upset stomach), and high fructose corn syrup. Check out the full infographic.
4. There is such a thing as the perfect relationship. Coupled up? Put down that phone! Couples who hash out problems via text messages tend to be less happy in their relationships than others. [Tweet this weird fact!] That's just one of the things researchers found when they analyzed a number of relationship studies to cobble together a list of the qualities that make up the "perfect relationship." Obviously there's no absolute right or wrong way to have a relationship (for the most part), and what works for one couple may not work for another, but the science behind it is fascinating.
5. Half of women don't talk about reproductive health with their doctors. And 30 percent visit their gyno less than once a year, plus one-fifth are unaware of the effects aging has on their fertility and reproductive success, according to a new study. Whether you think you may want a child in one year or 10 (or not at all), here's how to talk to your doctor today about your best chances for success.