Meditation can be a simple practice that can easily be implemented into your routine. The benefits are long known and form the basis of numerous meditation styles, from breath work and body scans through to transcendental or mantra styles.
When used in relation to tinnitus, the idea is to become more present, to look to notice those things that we do automatically, without really thinking, such as breathing or chewing. We make an assumption that when reading this you aren’t already a meditation guru, so here are some basic tips to get started.
You can utilise these tips alongside the T-Minus Guided Meditation Series.
Find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you, try and keep this space separate from the busier areas of your home or environment and get comfortable. You don’t have to cross one leg over the other or keep your palms up, just be comfortable and relaxed.
Don’t try and meditate when it’s time to do the school run or right before a deadline. You aren’t going to be able to relax effectively in these times. Pick a quieter moment in the day and free up a short amount of time you can realistically commit to. If you’re just beginning, it’s fine to stick to five or ten minutes. Each time you practice, you will find the length of time easier and may wish to progress. The T-Minus meditations are around 15 minutes in length each. Look to progress to the full meditation when ready.
It doesn’t matter too much how you sit, whether in a chair, kneeling or lying down, as long as you are comfortable and not shifting around to find new positions. Notice how your whole body feels and try to let go of any obvious tension. It’s common to pull your shoulders up toward your ears when holding on to stress or anxiety.
Learn to be aware of your breath, practice listening to it, feeling the sensation of air moving in through your nose and gently out through your mouth. Let the air fill your lungs. You may want to visualise the fresh new air being breathed into your body and lungs, travelling through the blood and the older air, no longer of use to us, being expelled and blown back into the atmosphere.
It’s perfectly normal for your attention to leave the practice, it may wander to other places or important matters. When you get around to noticing that your mind has wandered don’t be frustrated or annoyed, just gently return back to the narrative or to your breath.
When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze (if your eyes are closed, open them). Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. You may not have altered of affected your tinnitus in your first goes, but you are building towards reducing the stress and anxiety in your life, both known triggers of tinnitus symptoms. Take a moment to notice how your body feels, notice your thoughts and emotions.
Take pride in the fact that you have just taken a positive step towards your own wellness.
The improvements from meditation can feel fairly abstract, it can be difficult to know why this peaceful time is important or to see the effect straight away. What is important to remember is that from that abstract sense, you are taking practical measures! Every time that you stop and meditate, you are accepting change and that you are open and willing to making yourself better. There is a great sense of empowerment in that!
Begin by fitting meditation sessions into your schedule where you can, we all lead busy lives and so it can be difficult to commit to the same time every day. Just by sitting down and preparing, you are making a positive step.
As you become more comfortable with the practices and find your routine, it is well worth stepping up to fit in one meditation a day. It is only a short amount of time and can pay so many dividends.
The key goals of meditation are to reduce stress and anxiety, and to promote a sense of mindfulness and how it is affecting us psychologically.
Part of becoming mindful of your tinnitus means paying attention to the aspects of your daily life, such as breathing, understanding how our body feels in its space, even the process of chewing and other bodily functions that we do automatically.
With practice, we hope that the use of meditation and other mindfulness techniques will allow us to be more attuned to our tinnitus and reactions to it, and to become more accepting of it in our lives. We re-focus on ourselves and the other sensations, practices and experiences, in a space of relaxation and calm.