Many individuals with tinnitus report that their tinnitus is loudest when it is quiet. This is because the there is no contrast or distraction from the sound. Think about a candle. The flame of a lit candle during the day is barely visible with the sunlight but at night, in the dark, that very same flame can light up an entire room.
Starting a new day with a noise in your ears that you dread can provoke feelings of depression and anxiety. One of my current patients is working on establishing a morning routine that will set the stage for a good day, where his tinnitus is not intrusive or distressing. Attached is a photo of his diary that he keeps by his bedside table with a mantra for him to read upon waking to set his intention for the day in his mind. Afterall our mind is a powerful thing.
Many of you may have heard about or read the book “Make Your Bed” by Admiral William McRaven. He learned as a Navy Seal that starting the day by making his bed gave him a sense of pride and momentum to encourage him to do another task and to realize that the little things in life matter. He shared that even when he had a miserable day, going home to a bed that he made himself provided him with reassurance that tomorrow would be a better day. I recommend watching his speech to a graduating class of 2014 in Texas, posted on YouTube, that was the basis for his book.
You can create a morning routine that will help you get out of bed and have a “good tinnitus day”. Some activities you can incorporate into your morning routine are taking a few minutes to focus on gratitude, reading out loud your positive mantras, writing out your goals and engaging in some form of physical activity. Developing and following a morning routine can help everyone achieve their goals and improve their quality of life.
Give it a try this week. Start with one thing and build on it. Maybe this week when you wake, instead of listening and focusing on your tinnitus, train your mind to take a few moments to think about at least 3 things that you are grateful for in your life and write them down. Gratitude has many scientifically proven benefits including reducing physical pain, improving psychological health, enhancing empathy, reducing aggression, and improving relationships. Consistency is key. Following a morning routine each day will help you manage your tinnitus better and will lead to an improved quality of life for you and those people around you. Remember tinnitus is just a small part of our lives.
Next week I will address another time of day that individuals notice their tinnitus most – bed time. Tinnitus can make falling or staying asleep a challenge because of the increased perception of their tinnitus in quiet. We will dive into this next week. Wishing everyone who is celebrating the holidays this coming week a happy holiday season.