The Best Fighter is Never Angry

Our careers and the people we work with are a great source of happiness. We celebrate many positive experiences and cherish goal achievements and a sense of purpose. Work, however, can also be a source of stress, insecurity, and overwhelming activities. Because we spend a significant portion of our lives at the workplace, chances are that, sooner or later, we are likely to find ourselves in a situation at work where our patience is tested.

Do you know how you will react to this or how you would address anger issues? You might have an outburst at the workplace with a colleague and the outcome was severely bad. However, in the words of Lao Tzu, “the best fighter is never angry”.

Earlier this year, mHub published its annual report about the state of mental health at the workplace in Rwanda. According to the survey, 8.9% of the respondents were extremely stressed every day and 43.5% were stressed at least once a day. Anger is a normal and a powerful human emotion and frequently related to stress.

The long-term physical effects of uncontrolled anger include increased anxiety, high blood pressure, and headache. Anger, when properly expressed, can be a positive and useful emotion. Long-term anger management strategies include regular exercise, relaxation technique learning, and counseling.

So, what is it that is causing everyone to be so anxious and irritated? Essentially, workplace stress and fury are the result of an unsolved issue that causes anxiety, worry, fear of failure, humiliation, or incompetence. Some common examples include the following:

  • The instruction to do something that contradicts personal beliefs or has been found to be wrong
  • An overly critical supervisor or a supervisor who is micromanaging
  • Feeling more qualified than supervisors or colleagues who do the same job for greater pay
  • The specific or promised salary increase, promotion, or major project
  • Conflicts between colleagues and superiors

In many cases, anger at the workplace is not triggered solely by work-related catalysts. An employee showing anger may be dealing with a series of personal events that challenge his or her ability to deal with common stressors at work. Divorce, financial stress, serious illness, and other personal problems can easily make a person feel overwhelmed and irritated.

Tips for anger management
You must endeavor to find strategies to positively channel your frustrations in order to successfully control your emotions in challenging situations. One useful approach is the anger-management method of “turning lemons into lemonade”:

  • The first step is to identify the anger catalysts. Focus on the triggers and ask yourself about the root causes and why you are getting angry as a result.
  • Concentrate on calming yourself down. This is crucial. You don’t want to say or do something out of anger that you will regret later. Take a deep breath, relax, stretch, count to 100, and take a walk or a run.
  • Use imagery that reminds you of a happy moment either from your mind or a visual devise.
  • Slowly repeat a calming word or phrase such as “relax” or “take it easy”. Repeat it to yourself while breathing deeply.
  • Avoid escalating the conflict. Try to be the bigger person. Resist the urge to participate in a confrontation or dispute that will only serve to exacerbate the situation. The greatest option is sometimes to simply walk away.
  • Consider other points of view and the damages anger can cause you.
  • Talk to a mental health specialist who is willing to listen and serve as a sounding board. Simply expressing your feelings can already help to resolve some of your anger. Talking through your anger issues is a healthier method to release anger.

How to talk to someone with anger issues
It is always important to know who a person with anger issues can talk to at the workplace in order to avoid damage. Angry people tend to curse, swear, or speak in high tones. This can be a distraction to the people around you and usually calls their attention. Use the following techniques when you are talking with an angry colleague or supervisor:

  • Stay calm and relaxed.
  • Use a calm voice.
  • Be direct and specific about what’s bothering you.
  • Ask, do not demand.
  • Firmly make your point, then give it a rest.

Your attitude must always stay in control
You are responsible to control and regulate your own emotions. As Maya Angelou said, “if you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude”. There are plenty of things in life that we can’t control. We are frequently confronted with situations and circumstances beyond our control, but we always have power over our attitude and how we respond. Yes, anger is a normal emotion; however, it can lead to damages that are hard or impossible to reverse.
Before it controls you, learn to control anger. It’s best to find out what it is that triggers your anger, and then to develop strategies to keep those triggers from tipping you over the edge. Anger is common in humans and, through effective communication, it can be hindered and controlled.
At the workplace, anger can disrupt the teamwork spirit and can cause insecurities to inferior workers in case the superiors are demonstrating anger issues. Inappropriate displays of anger, as well as storing anger, can be harmful to your career and organization, as well as cause major health issues such as anxiety, depression, and heart difficulties.

For further information about anger management, please contact mHub Rwanda at or call 0785-318416.

Author: Adeline Imanirakiza, mHub Rwanda, 2021-11-24



They say happiness is a choice, not a chance. To be happy and feel the warmth of joy, you must be the principal character for that. However, sometimes it is very hard to choose or to walk away from mental breakdowns. Josephine Uwera is 57-year old businesswoman and mother of five living in Kigali.
In her mid-forties, she suffered grief and ongoing loneliness. Loneliness causes people to feel empty, alone, and unwanted. Her story starts when her husband got jailed.

“I was a housewife, my job was caring for the children; buying, cooking, and storing food for the family; buying goods that the family needs for everyday life; housekeeping, cleaning, and maintaining the home. My husband was the head of the family, and it was his duty to run the family’s business. We owned a shop in local market.”

“My life’s chapter changed when my husband got jailed for five years. The first thing that I did was to run to friends and family. I guess I was too dumb at that time. I asked for help from our family friends, and I got nothing. Meanwhile, my children were depressed and my firstborn started taking drugs. As a mother whose job was to take care of the home and the children, I was confused, depressed, and lonely. So, I started to stay in my room day and night, grieving.”
Life is a beautiful journey that is meant to be embraced to the fullest every day. However, that doesn’t mean you always wake up ready to seize the day, and sometimes you need a reminder that life is a special gift. Josephine realized this and took the decision that staying in bed day and night wouldn’t solve any of her problems: “I have collected my scattered parts.”

“We were hungry, and my children were suffering, too. As their mother, I had to take responsibility to make life possible. I choose to live, and I appreciate my decision every single day.”

“The first step was to accept the problem. I accepted that my husband is in prison and that he won’t be coming back until the sentence is over. The cure was acceptance and patience. I realized that I wasn’t going to depend on someone if I wasn’t reliable myself. Then I started to work. I embraced all the working challenges; I accepted all the changes, and I became the best version of myself. We can do incredible things, only if we have the will.”
Today, Josephine is still growing her business. She supported her family and helped the children to end their studies. Along the way, she made friends and she is happy with her life.

Author: Adeline Imanirakiza, mHub Rwanda, 2021-08-30

Rebelling Against Bedtime

Resting is an essential part of our lives. When night falls, the body secretes melatonin, released by the pineal gland. This hormone is responsible for the sleeping pattern. In today’s world, however, it is becoming increasingly difficult to experience restful sleep.

We regularly feel like there are things that need to be finished or accomplished even if we sacrifice our bedtime hours. We tell ourselves, for example, “just five more minutes – I will go to bed as soon as this show is over”. This phenomenon is called revenge bedtime procrastination.

Simply put, revenge bedtime procrastination is intentionally delaying your bedtime in favor of other things, like watching movies, scrolling through social media, playing video games, reading, or spending time on a hobby.

Why is it called “revenge”?
It is a phenomenon of profound emotions and psychological facts. People purposely put off their bedtime hours to enjoy themselves after a long and stressful day. That is why it is also called a “me” time.

Is it bad?
Having a “me” time is not the problem; the problem is timing.

According to our recent mHub survey of workers in Rwanda, 25.2% of the respondents had a high level of stress, while 8.9% were extremely stressed. After a long day of working, people use revenge bedtime procrastination to carve out some time at the end of the day when they feel in command. Time to do what they wish they could have done during the day.

Scrolling through social media posts, reading a book, or watching your favorite TV show might be a good way to end your day. However, these mindless, nonproductive pastimes add to your stress and anxiety and even jeopardize your health when they cut into the restorative rest your brain and body need. The blue light from devices will disrupt your biological clock and make your brain lose the ability to fall asleep. This will result in fatigue the next day.

How to avoid revenge bedtime procrastination?
The following are the tips that can change your life from a revenge bedtime procrastinator to a healthy sleeper:

  • Take a walk or do some yoga: Step away from the computer and set up for a walk or gentle yoga. Stretching your muscles will benefit your sleep. In addition, yoga relaxes your mind and body.
  • Take a break: Set up a break during your working schedule for meditation or even a power nap.
  • Learn work-life balance: Prepare a schedule and a to-do list of all the activities you have to do during a day. Create space for work – and also space for “me” time, i.e., time to relax.
  • Set a media curfew: It is important to turn off all your screens (TV, phone, laptop…) at least an hour before bedtime to avoid the blue light that can disturb your sleep.
  • Learn to say no: Say no to overwhelming activities during the day. Delegating a few of them can save up your sleeping health.
  • Schedule sufficient sleep: Set up an alarm for your bedtime. Get sufficient sleep every day of the week.

A well-rested individual accomplishes more and does it better than someone who is sleep-deprived. Because sleep provides so many health, wellbeing, and quality-of-life benefits, you might as well consider it the ultimate “me” time.

Author: Adeline Imanirakiza, mHub Rwanda, 2021-08-22

In the Eyes of Depression

Depression and other mental illnesses change the way you think about yourself and the way you see the world around you. Mental illness gives you irrational or false thoughts, and even though you might know this, that doesn’t stop them from coming.
– Natasha Tracy

We’re living in a world where depression is a common thing, and it ends up taking away our positivity. It tends to bring about the negative aspects of life and amplify sad emotions. It makes everyday things paralyzing and oppressive, and it smothers the sufferer’s emotional state. One thing to highlight is that depression doesn’t select individuals. Anyone can have it, either at work, at home, or at school… The focus of this blog is on depression at the workplace – how to recognize it and what to do when your employees show signs of depression.

While statistics in Africa are difficult to come by, let’s take a look at the situation in the US. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, a staggering 8 in 10 full-time employees experience symptoms of depression while on the job. We can imagine that the situation isn’t all that different in Africa.

What are the symptoms of depression?
Certain symptoms that easily recognizable on a depressed person. They include struggling with time management, missing deadlines, eating disorders, withdrawing from their friends or colleagues, and so forth. But let’s dive a little deeper.

Depression is not always visible to people, and many face it silently. One wouldn’t necessarily even notice that an employee suffers from depression. In fact, depressed people may be very invested in their work by being glued to their phones or computers. Work becomes a coping mechanism people use to make their minds ignore or avoid painful issues that may be contributing to their depression.

People may find many possible ways to keep themselves busy while experiencing uncomfortable situations that they don’t want to face inside of them.

Additionally, people can start suffering from back pain or headaches. Also, some employees may either lose or gain a lot of weight. That’s because depression can lead to unhealthy eating habits, such as eating much or eating very little because of loss of appetite.

It is common for depressed employees to struggle finding motivation. Making decisions, even about small matters, becomes very challenging. Another tell-tale sign is impatience and irritability. Some people will even cry more easily than usual.

At the workplace, depression can result in colleagues withdrawing from the team and isolating themselves. Why? Well, people who are depressed often feel very unsure about their abilities. They lack confidence. Also, they procrastinate which has a negative impact on productivity.

Additionally, depressed employees can experience inappropriate reactions to situations, which can lead to strained relationships between individuals and/or in teams. Another issue that has an effect in the workplace is that depressed people’s appearances often change, and this is not always all that professional or good for customer/client relations.

Now, as an employer, what can you do to help your depressed employees?
First of all, as a manager, you should talk to your employees! They may actually tell you what is contributing to their feelings of depression. Perhaps you will hear that their workload feels too overwhelming or complicated. In this instance, you could try to break up large projects into smaller tasks, and in this way help employees to reach their goals and realize successes more frequently. Similarly, you could offer fewer and shorter-term deadlines instead of one comprehensive and long-term deadline. This can reduce negative emotions by reducing the input of stressors on the side of employees.

Secondly, when your employees meet their given deadlines, you should celebrate their successes together with them. Reward and recognition are important for every person’s wellbeing.

Thirdly, you should know your employees’ individual strengths, so that you can play to them. This allows you to design and distribute work tasks they’ll be more likely to view as important and complete more quickly. Importantly, they will experience a sense of validation.

Last but not the least, as a manager, remember that you are a leader in your organization. If you interact with a depressed person while you feel angry, frustrated, or diminished in your role, then you will not find yourself in a good position to support any employee. Take care of your own mental wellbeing first, so that you can be a role model to others.

When you appropriately help your employees, you are also helping your team, and your organization as a whole. In this way you can contribute to the overall culture of wellbeing at your workplace and become a mental wellbeing ambassador. On top of this, you can start thinking of promoting the use of an employee wellbeing program as this will remind the employees of the availability for staying mentally and physically healthy and productive.

For further information about depression at the workplace, please contact mHub Rwanda at or call 0785-318416.

Author: Ange Uwimana, mHub Rwanda, 2021-08-16

Understanding Workplace Anxiety

Did you know that anxiety can make you feel inferior and ignore your positives?

Yes, you got it right! Anxiety can affect your life when it gets severe. Before digging deeper into how anxiety can make you feel underestimated, let’s see the good of being anxious.

In July 2021, I spoke with an employer in a non-profit organization, Ingabire Leatitia, and she said that when she is anxious she stays alert and focused, and that motivates her to solve problems. She also said that anxiety helps her to get around safely in the world and to her, it is an early warning system in a range of experiences.

However, when you are constantly anxious and it is interfering with your relationships and activities, that’s when it crosses the line from normal, productive anxiety into the realm of a probable anxiety disorder.

If you answer one or several of the questions below with “Yes”, then you might be at risk for an anxiety disorder, and you are highly recommended to consult a mental health professional to understand what you may be experiencing and how to manage it.

After assessing yourself, let’s see how anxiety can make you feel inferior and take away your confidence. When you start discounting the positive about yourself, convince yourself that what you think are negative personal traits (flaws) and make them bigger and more pronounced than they are, then you are getting into the habit of ignoring all your strengths and positive attributes. According to Mugisha David, an employee in a private Rwandan organization, instead of letting yourself down, intentionally shift your attention to one or two of your strengths and positive qualities. For instance, if you were given a task to accomplish at work and submit it, but your boss doesn’t appreciate it, and instead scolds you, don’t give up. Just remind yourself that you make mistakes just like others and find a way to make better the tasks assigned to you. You will be amazed by the outcomes.

Now, as an employer, how can you help an employee who has anxiety issues? Consider these key tips to bring out the best in your employees:

When the employees are effectively cared for, there will be higher retention rates in the organization, stronger talent attraction, greater engagement, more effective risk management, and improvement of organizational indicators such as resilience, absenteeism, presenteeism, performance, supportive behavior, and mental health symptoms.

A word from mHub Rwanda
There are benefits of being anxious, but when it is severe, it can cause health problems such as having low self-confidence and ignoring positives to the individuals experiencing it. However, some tips can be used to help an employee who is experiencing anxiety disorder which includes encouraging the behavior of speaking out, maintaining a confidentiality policy, and so forth. Now that you have information on anxiety disorder and you want to know more about it, mHub Rwanda is happy to provide you with the support you need. The crucial part is that you will be able to meet mental health professionals who will go with you on your journey. Consider contacting us by sending an email at or call 0785-318416.

Author: Ange Uwimana, mHub Rwanda, 2021-08-02

How Presenteeism is Killing the Productivity at Your Workplace

Do you know this problem? You’ve been staring at your computer screen for minutes or even hours, but you’re unable to focus and complete your task. And that’s not because the work is too complicated, but because you’re preoccupied. A physical or mental condition is preventing you from focusing adequately.

Researchers call this phenomenon “presenteeism” – the problem of workers’ being on the job but, because of illness or other medical conditions, not fully functioning. The result is lost productivity. What’s more, contrary to the other big productivity-reducing factor, absenteeism, presenteeism isn’t always apparent. It’s obvious when someone doesn’t show up for work. But it’s much less obvious when an illness or medical condition is hindering someone’s performance.

What’s important to note in this context is that employees contributing to presenteeism are, by definition, trying to give their best efforts but are physically or mentally unable to do so.

Many of us have experienced an increase in presenteeism during the current Covid-19 pandemic. And here, it has mainly psychological reasons. As a consequence of the pandemic, individuals and communities who have previously never given a second thought to their mental wellbeing are suddenly confronted with considerable degrees of stress, uncertainty, fear, worry, and concern. The changes that people face are major known psychological risk factors for anxiety, depression, and self-harm. And they can be a strong cause of presenteeism!

The phenomenon of presenteeism has been studied by researchers for quite some time now. A common consensus has emerged that presenteeism is typically of greater consequence to the employer than absenteeism. Take depression research as an example. Greenberg et al (2015), for example, have found that employees with major depressive disorders only work at 70% of their peak performance and lose about 32 incremental workdays to presenteeism.

Likewise, Harvard Medical School (2010) has taken a look at the costs that employers incur due to absenteeism and presenteeism. They found that these indirect costs far exceed companies’ spending on direct costs such as health insurance contribution or pharmacy expenses. Workers with depression, for example, reported the equivalent of 27 lost work days per year. 9 of those were lost because of sick days or other time taken out of work. A staggering 18 days, however, reflected presenteeism.

These numbers show that employers have a strong incentive to invest in the mental health and wellbeing of workers – not only for the sake of the employees but to improve their own bottom line. Presenteeism has a serious impact on productivity at your workplace!

Report: State of Mental Health at Work – Rwanda 2021

Mental health and wellbeing at work are a growing concern for employers worldwide. Even before Covid-19 turned our lives upside down, we saw an increase in the global rates of common mental health challenges such as depression or anxiety. This went hand in hand with decreases in productivity and rising costs.

The Covid-19 pandemic has further aggravated the situation. Individuals and communities who have previously never given a second thought to their mental health and wellbeing are suddenly confronted with considerable degrees of stress, uncertainty, fear, worry, and concern. The changes that people face are major known psychological risk factors. As a result, it is undisputed among experts that the pandemic will have long-lasting consequences and effects on the mental health and wellbeing of billions of people both now and into the future.

Employers have a compelling interest to take effective and sustainable action. Leave alone the life-altering impact of untreated mental illness on workers and their families, they face rising healthcare costs, reduced productivity, and employee turnover. A growing number of studies show that comprehensive long-term approaches to employee wellbeing that especially also focus on evidence-based prevention and early intervention activities can not only be cost-effective but actually save employers money.

Over the past year, we noticed a significant interest among employers in mHub countries in Africa to introduce effective and sustainable Employee Wellbeing Programs. They also desire to launch workplace-wide dialogue about mental health challenges in order to fight the stigma and discrimination that remain pervasive in our countries’ societies and cultures.

For our 2021 report, we surveyed 214 full-time workers across Rwanda to better understand their attitudes and experiences related to workplace mental health and wellbeing.

You can read the full report here.

mHub stories: Yvonne Uwamahoro

Like many others from her generation, Yvonne had a hard time overcoming the psychological aftermath of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She chose to study mental health nursing to better understand and heal her wounds and most importantly be able to help people around her. However, she hadn’t realized the importance of cultural beliefs in her fight against ignorance surrounding mental health. For her patients’ families, bad spirits make their beloved ones act strangely, and only prayers and traditional practices could save them. Education, prevention, and awareness are key to help Yvonne reach the greatest possible number of people and support them to become mentally healthy. mHub provides a space for professionals like Yvonne and the general public to speak and learn about mental health, get treatments, and be part of a community of positive changemakers.

After high school, aged 18, Yvonne decided to study mental health nursing to better understand herself, what was going on in her mind and her own emotions – which were dominated by the feeling of being lost. It was a common feeling among her generation; anyone could feel the underlying darker cloud spread all over the country in people’s minds. As an answer to this dormant distress and no one to turn to, Yvonne felt urged to learn more about human psychology to be able to help herself and provide attention to anyone in need in the society.

Back then, many people were suffering from mental disorders, but only few professionals could understand them and support the population’s needs. Yvonne was herself dealing with psychological issues due to the traumatic events occurred in the 1994 genocide. Seeing the aftermath of these atrocities at a young age made her question and reflect on human’s misbehaviors and purpose. Providentially, she got a scholarship from the Rwandan government and went on studying at Kigali Health Institute.

Her studies healed her. In addition, as she learned more about mental health and psychology, she felt that what she went through made her stronger to understand and help anyone with mental health issues.

Once she graduated in 2004, and at a time where mental health professionals were desperately needed in the country, she quickly joined Kabgayi District Hospital as the mental health referral person. She was shocked and saddened to see that the great majority of people in mental distress were extremely poor, with limited access to healthcare services. Stigma wasn’t affecting patients only; mental health professionals were also stigmatized in the general public opinion as well as within the hospital system. When she started working, health professionals used to call out “Mental Health” when they urgently needed Yvonne to take care of a patient. Other medical staff didn’t fully understand what the role of a psychiatric nurse was, and whether or not she had magical powers to deal with unstable patients. They didn’t pay attention to Yvonne’s safety when leaving her with patients in the middle of a delusional or aggressive episode.

In her private and social life, it could and still can be challenging to maintain normal relationships. Her friends sometimes think that she is observing and analyzing them even in casual conversations. Some would describe their symptoms to her and ask for a diagnosis or a treatment. As she says, “we all have issues to be fixed”.

During her career at Caraes Ndera Neuropsychiatric Hospital (2006-2020), she felt supported in expanding her knowledge. Each year, the hospital would provide an internal plan for staff training. A British trainer provided a three-year on-field course on drug abuse, which encompassed theory and practice elements. Due to her higher position, Yvonne attended numerous conferences and seminars, and talked to various people in the field at the local or international level. Her mindset was “I want more. If I’m given a chance, I’ll take it in order to upgrade my skills”.

In her eyes, the enemies to the Rwandan mental health and wellbeing are ignorance and cultural beliefs. On one hand, many Rwandans turn to the church when they suspect one of their loved ones to be suffering from mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma. On the other hand, for the large majority, bad spirits are a reality, and ancestors may come back and haunt someone, explaining the unusual behaviors of a family member. This pushes them to have recourse to witchcraft. The frequent consumption of alcohol for diverse events is also a big issue, as it is proven that alcohol abuse often leads to psychological disorders.

Yvonne’s dream is to see everyone in Rwanda to possess basic knowledge about mental health. She wishes people could understand that mental illnesses are “normal” health challenges like malaria or diabetes. A depressive or schizophrenic patient is not a bad person or haunted by spirits, but someone who requires professional help. She hopes that discrimination and negative judgements surrounding mental health patients will drastically reduce in the coming years. In order to do so, she believes that prevention and raising awareness will help to change the mindset of the grown-up population. Her greatest hope is towards the children and younger generations, who can learn and become more educated on this topic at an early age to turn into more informed and proactive healthy adults.