Mental Health
App aims to help people overcome anxiety by confronting their fears
AnxietyCoach, $4.99 for iPhone

Anxiety disorders can be debilitating. For people who don’t seek professional help, a new iPhone app offers guidance in the palm of their hands.

AnxietyCoach, developed by two clinical psychologists and the Mayo Clinic, allows people to track their worries; based on a user’s responses, the app suggests therapeutic exercises.

Users begin by taking a short test to measure the severity of the anxiety. The app then creates a plan to deal with the problems. Users select situations — such as talking to authority figures, being observed while eating, and using public restrooms — that make them anxious. Each situation is linked to a to-do list, exercises that the app’s creators say challenge people to face their fears.

For example, if someone has a fear of speaking in public, the app would suggest “Give a compliment to a stranger” or “Approach and join an ongoing conversation.” An exercise such as “Purposely mispronounce a word during a conversation” might seem counterintuitive, but it can show someone with anxiety about speaking that he can recover from a minor verbal stumble.

Healthful eating
Museum contest challenges chefs to put a healthful spin on international cuisine
Healthy Plate Cookoff, Koshland Science Museum

Traditional foods from around the world may be tasty, but they don’t always fit neatly into the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines, which suggest building meals around grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy products.

The Koshland Science Museum is challenging aspiring chefs to put a health-conscious spin on international foods.

In the Healthy Plate Cookoff, students from D.C. Central Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training program will get a lesson in cooking healthful, balanced meals. They will then be asked to re-create “global recipes,” taking traditional dishes that don’t meet MyPlate guidelines and transforming them into recipes that do. Dishes at last year’s event included stuffed peppers and chicken-pineapple-pepper kebabs.

The cook-off will be held Friday, May 17, from 12 to 1 p.m., when visitors to the museum, at 525 E Street NW, can sample dishes and vote for their favorites. To register for the free event, call 202-334-1201.

Maggie Fazeli Fard