Try this 1-minute meditation to help curb anxiety and stress today

It is obviously a stressful time.

I suffered an anxiety attack in my sleep last week. I didn’t see it coming—but I should have. I was constantly trolling Twitter and news outlets to see what terrible thing could happen next in this pandemic. I’d been checking on people every day, including 8 friends I personally know who have coronavirus, which was stressful, then someone I knew passed away from covid, and that hit me hard. I have also been cooped up with a very active and impatient dog, 24/7, which has been exhausting me, and the bleak news notifications on my phone was taking a toll. All of this lead me to think negatively. I was constantly thinking of worst-case scenarios, in the worst possible headspace.

I was practically feeding my anxiety with tons of fuel.

Then I started to feel completely run down, which made me think I had covid. I had taken all the necessary precautions, to an extreme level, so there was no reason why I would have it. This led me to further panic. My neighbor, a paramedic, told me I likely didn’t have it, that I was just so stressed out from the times that I was weakening my immune system.

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And it’s true. I had been drinking tons of electrolyte water, sleeping 10 hours a day and taking all the proper vitamins (once a day vitamins, immunity boosters, etc). But I was getting to a dark place mentally because of anxiety, which was compromising my health. I feel fine. I’m physically and mentally fine now because I took a step back and addressed this situation.

Meditation can help ease stress and anxiety.

Anxiety and stress can weaken your immune system. This is a fact. Stress weakens your white blood cells that help fight off infection, so coronavirus or not, you can still get sick… and many people might start feeling “off” because they are compromising their immune systems.

I’m starting to think that a lot of people who believe they have covid may be incredibly stressed out, leaving their guards down, becoming more susceptible. In fact, almost 50 percent of people with covid start with diarrhea as a symptom, which baffles experts, because coronavirus is a *respiratory infection*. I personally believe, because diarrhea is a symptom of anxiety and stress, and NOT a symptom to respiratory disease, some people are simply getting sick from anxiety first, which opens the doors for susceptibility.

Obviously I’m not a doctor, and you should just assume you have it and self quarantine if you feel covid symptoms, but you should take care of yourself mentally, which is just as importantly as physically. In fact, your mental state can have an impact on your physical state. The point is: your stress and anxiety right now could compromise your health.

A friend lent me Healing Back Pain by John E. Sarno, which I’ve read three times. I have back issues, and the main takeaway from this book is that a lot of my back pain was attributed to my mental state — because physical symptoms *do* transpire from your thoughts and emotions and feelings. Why do people get stomach aches when they’re nervous? Why do people get headaches when they’re stressed? People can manifest certain physical symptoms.

Yesterday, I unplugged from social media and emails all day. I did meditation. I thought about good moments in my life to release chemicals in my brain that suggest I’m happy and healthy and in a good place. I had to switch my brain. I took a mental health day, and it helped significantly.

One meditation I’m doing is extremely helpful and incredibly simple. 

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath for four seconds, and think about positivity and love and light and people you love as you inhale. Hold for four seconds. Then exhale all the anxiety and stress and negativity from your body. Do this five times.

It’s just a simple meditation, but I find it to be incredibly powerful.

It’s important people are in good mental health right now, so do whatever you can to get there!

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed in over 600 hotels and has flown a million airmiles. He lives in New York City.

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