I talk a lot about habituation because I believe it’s our best option for achieving long term relief from tinnitus.
But the habituation process takes time, regardless of how you approach it. And it’s important to have effective coping tools and coping strategies to improve quality of life in the short term.
So today, I wanted to talk about a new strategy that can help you to cope with spikes and difficult moments more effectively, using the coping tools you’re already using.
I call it preventative coping.
Most people cope with tinnitus reactively. When their tinnitus spikes or suddenly becomes more bothersome, they do something about it after the fact, like putting on sound masking.
But if you can identify specific periods of time, environments, or situations where you’re more vulnerable to being bothered by your tinnitus, or more likely to have a spike, you can take steps ahead of time to try to prevent it from happening, using the same coping tools that you already use. The trick is to practice this whether your tinnitus bothering you beforehand or not.
But first you have to figure out when you’re more vulnerable to spikes. And one way to do this is to start keeping track of your tinnitus, environment, and lifestyle with my free printable tinnitus trigger tool.
A New Way to Think About Tinnitus Triggers:
All you have to do is fill out one of my tinnitus trigger tools every day, and then go back and compare your bad days to look for possible patterns. Though this is easier said than done. It can be very challenging to find specific triggers.
What’s nice about this approach, is that you don’t need to know exactly what’s triggering you. You just need to identify when or where you’re more likely to be triggered. It doesn’t have to be exact to be effective.
Preventative Coping Example 1:
Let’s say you figure out that you often have a difficult time in the morning. A lot of people struggle first thing in the morning, especially if they don’t get out of bed right away. It’s a time that many of us are vulnerable to rumination.
A good preventative coping strategy would be to get out of bed immediately as soon as you wake up, and put on some kind of enjoyable audio, like a great podcast or a radio show, or music you really enjoy. Keep the audio on as you go about your morning routine, and practice this whether your tinnitus was bothering you when you woke up or not. The idea here is to prevent it from even being a possibility.
Throwing in a meditation, or some other relaxing activity is a great strategy, too. Ultimately, the coping tools you choose to use is less important than actually putting a preventative coping routine into practice and being consistent.
You won’t need to do this forever – the goal is to practice long enough to break the pattern.
Preventative Coping Example 2:
I’ll give you another example. Let’s say your tinnitus often bothers you when you’re relaxing at the end of the day, while you’re watching tv. This is another common situation, because you’re probably tired and have less mental energy available to deal with the tinnitus – you probably just want to watch the TV and decompress.
One preventative coping strategy would be to do something intentionally relaxing, such as meditation, a hot bath, brainwave entrainment audio for relaxation, or even breathing techniques to calm your nervous system down in an attempt to put you in a more comfortable state to enjoy watching TV.
I hope you guys give preventative coping a try!
This type of thinking can be applied to a wide variety different situations and environments, and it can be extremely effective when you practice it consistently.