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How Nigerians Smash Their Way Out of Stress and Anger 

A rage room in Lagos provides a cathartic release for Nigerians who face many challenges in their daily lives.

by Motoni Olodun

Nigeria is a country with many challenges, such as high inflation, political unrest, and insecurity. These factors can take a toll on the mental health of its citizens, who often struggle to cope with stress and anger. According to the World Health Organization, one in four Nigerians suffers from some form of mental illness, and the country ranks 15th in the world for suicide rates.

But some Nigerians have found a unique way to release their pent-up emotions: rage rooms. These are spaces where people can vent their frustration by breaking or smashing objects, such as glass cups, electronics, and furniture. The idea is that by destroying things in a safe and controlled environment, people can feel a sense of catharsis and relief.

One of the first rage rooms in Nigeria is the Shadow Rage Room, located in the crowded megacity of Lagos. It offers 20-minute sessions for 7,500 naira ($8.93), and provides protective gear, a baseball bat, and a selection of items to break. The co-founder of the rage room, Banjoko Babajide James, said the idea came from the rising mental health crisis in Nigeria, which is still a taboo topic to discuss openly.

“We want to create a community of like minds, to make people understand that this thing is real and we are going to try to push it out,” he said. “If we can release those emotions in safe ways, then we can provide some relief from them, in the same way as scratching an itch.”

The rage room has been a hit with Lagosians, who have been flocking to it to escape the stress of living in the country’s commercial capital. Some of the customers said they felt better after smashing things, while others said they came to the rage room after losing a friend or a loved one.

“I was really angry,” said Nancy Igwe, a customer. “Living in Lagos, it is terrible, it is frustrating when you see that the prices of everything have increased.”

Anita Christian, another customer, said she came to the rage room after losing a friend. “I had to come and vent because when you don’t get clarity or closure it is really sad,” she said.

While the rage room has been well-received, James acknowledged that not everyone understands the concept. “The perception people get when they encounter the rage room is a place where we are promoting anger,” he said. “We always try to explain that we are not doing that.”

Rage rooms are not a new phenomenon. They have been popular in countries like the United States, Canada, and Japan for years. Some psychologists have questioned the effectiveness and safety of rage rooms, arguing that they might reinforce or worsen anger, rather than reduce it. They suggest that healthier alternatives to cope with anger include cognitive behavioural therapy, meditation, exercise, and social support.

However, for some Nigerians, rage rooms offer a rare opportunity to express their emotions in a society that often stigmatizes mental health issues. As the country faces more challenges in the future, rage rooms might become more common and accessible for those who need them.

Source: Reuters


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