Finding Shangri La: Other People’s Stress

It goes something like this; You’re feeling great, you’re ready for the day; You’ve planned to get those projects done, maybe catch a nice dinner with family or friends in the evening after work and you’re looking forward to all good things.  At lunch, all of your co-workers want to dump all of their problems on you.  It isn’t long before your stomach is in a knot, or your blood pressure is up and your lunch isn’t digesting.  The worst thing is that nothing has really gotten accomplished. At the end, everyone goes back to their corner and what could have been a nice bit of relaxation for you has left you exhausted.  While we can’t run and hide when a friend or loved one needs us, we do have an ‘all clear’ to go ahead and take care of ourselves first. 
Lunch, whether  it is one hour, or a half-hour should be spent nourishing yourself and pursuing something completely different from your work, so that your brain can rest and your body can shift positions to re circulate the energy.  Try to avoid eating with co-workers unless you all agree not to talk shop during lunch, or talk about anything but fun, uplifting topics.  Anything serious can’t be solved during a lunch anyway, so save your good intentions for a time when you can listen and be a good support.  Use your lunch time to step out of your work environment if you can.  Get anywhere near green living plants, water, enriching sights etc.  If you have an hour, you can eat in about 20 minutes leaving 40 to do some Tai Chi, Yoga stretches or breathing, listen to a book on tape, learn a language, watch half of a funny movie or write love notes.  The plan is that you not trade your precious lunch time letting other people dump on you. Nicely tell them that you are following a stress management program, or taking extra credit courses so that they won’t take it personally.  Work will take on the patina of being more of an adventure as you look forward to all the new things you are going to be doing instead of listening to and taking on ‘other people’s stress’.  And that is one way of how you "Find Shangri La" at work. 
Acharya Khadi invites readers to submit questions about incorporating more Shangri La techniques into their lives. Please email her at  Your question may be featured in next week’s column. Names withheld upon request.
Acharya Sri Khadi Madama is available for consulting & coaching based on the concepts in her book, Finding Shangri La: Seven Yoga Principles for Creating Success & Happiness, available at Barnes & Noble, Borders Books and  on line.  You may also visit her web site at
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