BY JOHN RHOADS – STAFF WRITER
On any given day, you’re probably fielding dozens of emails, finishing your economics homework or meeting with your learning team to put the final touches on a marketing project.
Stressful, right? But managing your stress level is critical to staying healthy. Studies show that stress can contribute to a wide range of health problems, like anxiety and depression in the short-term and a greater susceptibility to catching the common cold.
So what’s an M.B.A. student to do?
As impossible as it may sound, the secret to managing stress may be to avoid multitasking, according to Jonathan Guerrero (MBA ’15). When he first moved to Los Angeles, Guerrero says he developed “crazy road rage.” He was doing too much at once in the car: navigating traffic, making phone calls, checking e-mail, listening to music. “My family and friends were telling me I had changed,” he says. “I was angry.”
Then, before coming to Anderson, Guerrero spent a week with a renowned Zen Buddhist monk named Thich Nhat Hanh at a monastery in Pine Bush, N.Y. A peace and human rights activist, Nhat Hanh has dedicated his life to helping people to be passionately present in the here and now. Guerrero’s takeaway from the retreat with Nhat Hanh was simple: he needed to stop multi-tasking.
It’s worked. Now, when Guerrero drives, he focuses solely on the road. “I don’t try to be anywhere else,” he says, adding that he even turns off the radio sometimes.
“It sounds silly at first,” he says, but being present is easier said than done. It takes mindfulness and awareness to stick to the task at hand. “You can’t do two things at the same time effectively,” he says.