Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread and restlessness. It’s the brain’s way of reacting to stress and alerting you to potential danger ahead. According to experts, anxiety can lead to sweating, feeling restless and tense, and rapid heartbeat.
Theoneste Bugingo, a mental health nurse at mHub Rwanda, says feeling anxious describes a mood familiar to most people, one we can experience every day. Anxiety stems from worry about lack of control over circumstances. In some cases, being anxious and worrying about a problem can generate a solution, although it only leads to negative thoughts.
When anxiety seems to come out of nowhere, is excessive, persists for several weeks without relief, or interferes with daily life, it may no longer be an ordinary mood. It could be a disease.
Christella Ishimwe, a clinical psychologist at mHub Rwanda, says anxiety is a normal emotion when a person is facing stressful life issues and the brain can send an alert that they may be a danger, everyone may feel anxious at least once in their life. However, anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that is characterized by a lot of fear or worry, strong enough to interfere with a person’s daily functioning.
“You can tell that you are anxious if your heart is racing, if you experience choking sensations, abdominal pain, numbness or tingling, muscle pain and tension, insomnia, chest tightness, restlessness, shortness of breath or feelings of unreality,” Bugingo says.
He adds that emotionally, people with an anxiety disorder may feel angry and apprehensive, fearing bad things will happen.
Ishimwe notes that stressful life events like financial instability, serious medical conditions, family disputes, societal criticism, public speaking, political issues, pandemic, work stress, divorce, future worries and much more can trigger anxiety.
Bugingo says there are lots of things you can do at home to help relieve your anxiety and stress. Some of them are a healthy lifestyle, for example, eating well, drinking water, going out in nature, spending time with family and friends, doing activities you enjoy, staying active, etc. .
The mental health nurse also says practicing different breathing techniques can go a long way in calming someone down. He urges to try alternate nostril breathing. “Place a finger on your right nostril and inhale for five seconds through your left nostril. Hold this breath for five seconds. Let this breath of air out through the left nostril (with the right nostril still covered). Now try again, but this time cover the left nostril and breathe through the right. This process helps move air to the right and left sides of the brain.
Bugingo also reveals that doing something physically active is always good for relieving anxiety or stress. Physical activity releases endorphins which help you feel better. Yoga is a practice that involves physical activity and deep breathing, both of which are good for relieving stress and nervousness.
Bugingo further states that meditation is also beneficial and he describes it as a practice where an individual trains the mind in a mode of awareness, either to realize a benefit or for the mind to simply recognize its content without identifying itself. to this content. This can be done by repeating a sentence or counting numbers. The idea is to be able to focus the mind on something non-stressful so you can relax.
He adds that stretching allows your body to get blood flowing and more air in your bloodstream. He recommends bending down and touching the ground, and reaching out to the sky. And also try many other movements to relax your body and get more blood flowing.
“You can also keep a diary. It is the practice of writing down your thoughts and feelings in a notebook each day. It can be helpful to write down what worries you, so you can better organize your thoughts and approach them realistically,” says Bugingo.
Ishimwe adds that when writing down your thoughts and feelings, try to find out why you feel anxious and what you think you can do about it.
She encourages going to therapy – therapy is a supportive conversation you can have with a mental health professional to listen to you, strategize, and help you see, feel, and think positively. and energizing.
You can also use relaxation techniques like deep breathing and coping techniques like recognizing five things you see around you, recognizing four things you can touch around you, accepting three things you hear, recognizing two things you can smell and accept thing you can taste, adds Ishimwe.