Coping with Anxiety

Anxiety is a general term for numerous disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension and worrying. This affects the way that we feel and behave and can manifest in physical symptoms. If you suffer from anxiety for extended periods of time and it become debilitating and impacts your daily life then you may need to seek a professional opinion.

There are many different ways of how to deal with anxiety and here are just a few of the basics:

  1. Make lifestyle changes to combat anxious feelings, eliminating anxiety-inducing food/drink from your diet can do this. Changing the way you eat can impact your anxiety levels; here are a few anxiety provokers that you might want to avoid:
  • If you drink coffee every morning try changing to decaffeinated tea or just water for a few weeks. You will notice reduced stress levels in those weeks.
  • Alcohol, this is one of the most common triggers of anxiety. After a hard day at work people tend to unwind with a few drinks that make you feel stress free but shortly thereafter this feeling of relaxation gets cancelled out.
  1. You can add mood-enhancing foods to your diet consuming nutrients that allow your body to fight anxiety.
  • Foods that contain Gamma-linoleic acid or omega 6 fatty acids.
  • Antioxidants such as acai berries or blueberries.
  • Foods high in magnesium and potassium such as bran, fish, almonds, dark chocolate, and pumpkin seeds. It has been proven a lack of magnesium leads to increased anxiety.
  1. Exercise is also a way to combat anxiety and relieve its symptoms, regular exercise creates feelings of well being during and post exercise.
  • Cardiovascular exercise such as running, weight building and bike riding can help reduce anxiety
  • Yoga is one of the more common exercises done to fight anxiety as the self-reflection and calm environment allow for relaxation.
  1. Deep breathing exercises are highly recommended for anxiety sufferers, when we are stressed, we breathe faster in in shorter breaths.
  • Meditation and Slowing down the breathing allows more air through the lungs thereby decreasing blood pressure and relaxing the muscles.
  1. Get plenty of sleep to reduce anxiety caused by excess cortisol in your system. Cortisol is a hormone and in high levels causes stress and anxiety, so make sure you get the recommended 8-9 hours of sleep every night.
  • Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This regulates the sleep cycle and results in better sleep.
  • If you have a hard time falling asleep try taking melatonin supplements from a pharmacy or health shop.
  • In this technology driven era this next one is a hard one but a must do- avoid your phone, laptop and television an hour before bed. These are common sources of anxiety; the bright light that comes from them disrupts sleep and prevents melatonin production.
  1. Confront the source of the anxiety if you can control it, keep a journal to gauge you anxious moments and figure out the cause of the stress. If you cannot control the source of the anxiety then try to avoid it, if people cause you anxiety then confront them and make changes so that you don’t have to deal with them. If the anxiety is caused by work or school then take time out and remove yourself from the situation by turning off your cell phone and not checking your email.
  1. Natural herbal methods to decrease anxiety such as the following:
  • Chamomile supplements or tea, the chamomile flower is known for its calming effect.
  • Ginseng is also known to relieve stress and taking a supplement could help.
  • Valerian root is a popular sedative and can be taken during severe bouts of anxiety.

As a more extreme action you can seek the help of a professional to determine if you should be put on medication to deal with your anxiety. You will have to see a therapist if the anxiety is chronic and you feel it might be anxiety disorder. If you suffer from extreme social anxiety, panic attacks, and prolonged anxiety then it might be time to consider medication.

Hold You Down or Financially Oppress You?

Recently I had a twitter conversation with @DatAfricanGirl about the Dj Khaled video “Hold You Down.” Specifically the part of the video where he says to the video vixen “say my name baby” and tells her if she says it he will give her money to “go buy your momma a house.” If you can’t see where I am going with this then all hope is lost!

This video is offensive and an example of the “situation-ship” or “relationships” that are all too common in Zambia. A young girl or perhaps even a grown woman gets involved with a man because he can financially provide for her, that story is as old as time. The danger is when the man uses this financial control as form of emotional abuse, making the woman do demeaning things in order to get it.

Before I get ahead of myself let us start with the tweet that @DatAfricanGirl tweeted that sparked our conversation:

Now I have to agree with the idea that this girl is playing along with his ownership fetish can definitely lead to dangerous situations. A woman who allows herself to be treated like a piece of property or who is with a man for financial means and status is a woman asking for trouble. This man is not forced to love you or respect and cherish you because you are both playing a game. He knows he can talk down to you, demean you in public, dress you like his personal barbie doll all because you have agreed to fall in line with his fetish.

As a grown man who probably has sister and maybe a wife or girlfriend and a daughter you would think Dj Khaled would be aware of the message that short clip was sending. This is a grown man living in an industry that demeans and degrades women openly, surely in 2014 he knows the message he is sending is wrong.

That struck a chord with me, “selling ones liberty” this rings true because you are selling your own free will when you put yourself in such a position or allow a man to put you in that position. A liberty that was fought for by your ancestors be they slaves or be they colonized Africans, ownership over thyself no less! To wrap up our twitter conversation @DatAfricanGirl made the following beautiful point:

Yes! Dear women please stop seeking validation from others, learn to love yourselves above all else and only then will men value you.

Dynamic Diabetes Support Group Zambia

A local, Zambian community Facebook page for people living with diabetes or friends and family of those living with diabetes. The purpose of the page is to share information and encourage a healthy lifestyle, they also hold meetings, the last of which was 2 weeks ago (check on fb for details on the next), where you and your loved ones can share your journeys with diabetes.

1383606_657701754327715_6337772648506304477_n

As November is diabetes awareness month I wanted to do my part to help spread the word about this particular group. I believe this disease is one that is a silent killer in African communities and is often undiagnosed or poorly treated by people in Zambia. Undiagnosed Diabetes, especially in Africa is a bigger killer than Cancer and HIV Aids together, infact in 2011 it was reported that 78% of people with diabetes in Africa are undiagnosed. Described as Africa’s silent epidemic the number of people with diabetes in Africa is expected to rise from 14.7 million (as of 2011) to 28 million by 2030

Make sure you like and share the Facebook page and if you have comments or questions or ideas for them please inbox them directly. You could be a part of helping to save lives and give diabetics a better quality of life right here in Zambia.

Emma Watson #HeForShe Campaign

Emma Watson gave an empowering and powerful speech about gender roles in society at the launch of the#HeForShe campaign at the United Nations on Saturday (September 20) in New York City. I thought it was important to share and I hope a lot of men watch this and come together with us women in solidarity for equality. Below are the video of her speech and an excerpt from her speech that I found moving:

“When I was 8, I was confused about being called ‘bossy’ because I wanted to direct the plays that we would put on for our parents. But the boys were not. When at 14, I started to be sexualized by certain elements of the media, when at 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of their beloved sports teams, because they didn’t want to appear ‘muscle-y,’ when at 18, my males friends were unable to express their feelings, I decided that I was a feminist,” Emma told the attendees at the summit. “And this seems uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word.”

SEX TAPE CULTURE

It seems that lately every young person in Lusaka is linked to an Internet scandal of some sort, be it a sex tape or naked photos. In the last 4 years we have seen sex tapes by college students and more recently upcoming rappers.

What I want to know is what has motivated these people to get involved in sex tapes; I mean it can’t be the money! As far as I know a sex tape qualifies as pornography, which Zambia has strict laws against. It’s not a Kim Kardashian and Ray J type of situation where you sign a distribution deal and get rich from getting off (excuse the pun).

Are kids so desperate for quick and easy “fame” that they are willing to compromise their integrity by releasing these sex tapes? Whatever happened to working hard at a talent or having an actual skill that you could build a brand on? If you want celebrity then do something the old fashioned way to get it.

Most of the people who have sex tapes claim that their laptop or mobile device was stolen and that is how the tapes were released. I don’t know if I am going to buy that though, because these people always seem to release a sex tape before an album drops or some project is released.

Again its not like you are going to build a million dollar empire off of one very badly lit, unedited and just all round gross sex tape. Please remember that you are not Paris Hilton and even her video was in night vision!

If you think you are going to catapult yourself to celebrity-ville and start getting sponsors and crazy money- you are dead wrong. Even the most well known people in the entertainment industry in Zambia are struggling to pay rent on time and put food on the table. We don’t live in America and we are certainly not living the American dream.

I am increasingly disturbed that the sex tapes that get released feature people engaging in unprotected sex or sex that carries on even after a condom breaks. It is as if people have forgotten about STDs and HIV/AIDS. You will not pass Go and collect a cool million or get Muvi Tv or ZNBC to set you up with a reality Tv show. If your sex tape is anything to judge by then perhaps you will get sponsorship from Society for Family Health but you will be the poster child for what happens when you have sex without protection.

Let us remember that we have family, siblings, parents, grandparent and one day we will have children who we don’t want or need to see our niave mistakes. The internet makes sure that things live on forever!

The Semi-Naked Truth

I woke up this morning and logged onto Facebook, I saw a promotional picture of the Singer Dambisa Lunda  on the cover of an online magazine. Pregnant belly exposed and breasts covered and I thought “awww cute” then I logged out and carried on with my day. Let me preface the post by saying that I will not be posting the photo you can head over to www.ezmmagazine.com to see it.

As it turns out my nonchalant attitude about a beautiful pregnant woman on the front of a Zambian magazine was the opposite of most people’s. The conservatives and judgmental Judy’s of Zambia quickly took to Twitter and Facebook to shame the poor woman. There were many disrespectful things said about her and the photo which i shall not repeat. Instead I want to share a few positive tweets and discuss why it is that people felt uncomfortable with the photo.

A few of the tweets I agreed with were:

“Once again Zambia is the only place in the world where ‘culture’ is static and not dynamic. Re: dambisa mag cover”

2.  

“I see nothing wrong with Dambisa‘s pose.”

3.  

” In other good news I’m loving the promo pics of Dambisa for the 1st ever printed issue of coming out next month! ” 

4.  

The things Zambians are so concerned about, leave Dambisa alone! She was comfortable with her shoot, so what now?! Drama for nothing!

 

 

A friend of mine also posted a Facebook status that read: “Loving the comments on various pages over the Dambisa pics….Many are supportive n some call it sinful n unafrican….Always funny how Zambians like the whole “this is not african stance”….My thoughts, we stopped living “african” when we got colonised….Nothing we do is “african” anymore.”

This made me have an AHA moment of sorts, first of all I do think the backlash is just the deeply religious fanatics and the extreme conservatives and general “haters” reacting. Most of us are  more evolved and know that a semi nude pregnant belly photo is nothing to lose your shit over.

What struck me with the status was the “we stopped living African” part, which is so true! Think about it, women would expose their breasts and that was tradition. That was our culture, not all this covered up head to toe nonsense. As colonized Africans we have lost part of our identity and we don’t truly know what it is to be African. It is seen in the way we dress, the music we listen to and the way we speak. Across the board we are Westernized and the irony here is that in the West, Kim Kardashian can pose and expose her pregnant belly and we don’t bat an eye. The second one of our own does the same we want to bully her into submission, its nothing you haven’t seen on your DSTV or in your Elle Magazine!

I for one, am all for women expressing their beauty in whatever manner they see fit; even if it means being naked. How is it that we still have people in our society who are so backwards ? The same people judging her will wave the “Christian Nation” flag meanwhile they are having premarital sex and doing worse.  The human body and the naked one at that is not something to be ashamed of especially when done tastefully, I suggest you get off your high horses and leave Dambisa alone. The photo is tasteful, natural and beautiful and nothing to get heated up over.

 

Are We Raising a Generation of Rapists?

We are moulding our sons into rapists and making our daughters the scapegoat. I say that because when we tell our sisters, mother and daughters that the way they dress could affect whether or not they are raped; we are making them accept responsibility for being raped.

I have talked about how Swaziland has banned mini-skirts and openly stated that women and young girls who dress provocatively can face up to 6 months in jail. It is a now a criminal offense to dress provocatively, which I find ridiculous because a bare shoulder can be just as provocative as bare feet, exposed legs or cleavage.

In Swaziland, police spokesWOMAN Wendy Hleta was quoted as saying “The act of the defiler is made easy, because it would be easy to remove the half-cloth worn by the women.” Once again perpetuating rape culture by putting the blame on the victim and not the perpetrator. With people voicing such outrageous and back dated thoughts on the subject of rape is it any wonder that we are raising a generation of rapists?

Yes, that sounds dramatic but with the rape statistics of Sub-saharan African countries we need to be dramatic. South African police statistics record more than 64,000 cases a year – more than seven an hour.

Here in Zambia the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) stated that “more than ten girls are raped in a week”. I remember reading that in Zimbabwe child rape is up by 42%, UNICEF said the number of cases of rape of minors reported to police surged from 2,192 in 2003 to 3,112 in 2006 .

In Zimbabwe 15 women are being raped daily, these are just the reported cases, we all know that the shame of rape and stigma often leads people not to report it.  I don’t even have statistics on men being raped in or outside of prisons but I am sure you get the picture. Rape is not just our problem it is the continent’s problem, it is the world’s problem.

Women and children are being told that the things they wear could determine their safety, the dress they wear to a friends birthday party could be the thing that gets them raped. What they wear to gym class could provoke a violent assault, how they dress when going to the club, supermarket or anywhere public is now seen as the “catalyst” of rape. All of these ideas are uneducated, unfounded and just so bloody outrageous.

The point of this post is just to raise awareness about what we are doing to the next generation of men on this continent. We are taking away an aspect of their humanity, we are messing with their psyche by making the women the problem. We are encouraging them to rape because we are teaching them “if she wore a mini-skirt she was asking for it” Whatever happened to teaching them that NO means NO, that they should love and respect all women the way they would their mother or sister. What happened to teaching them right from wrong, to putting them in their place when they step out of line. What happened to fathers teaching their sons how to be good men? Or how to have proper relationships with women.

Guys, what the hell happened to common sense? Parents please raise your sons to be kind and compassionate non violent people. Who see the opposite sex as human and not some prize to be won or challenge or something to be defiled.