For a few years mindfulness has been a real buzz word in the business and health communities.
What is mindfulness?
In a nutshell, mindfulness is the practice of focusing your attention on the present moment, and accepting what’s happening without labelling it as good or bad.
Do I have to be a Buddhist?
Many people consider mindfulness as having its roots in Buddhism, but most religions including Christianity incorporate meditation techniques into their prayer or contemplation. It doesn’t matter if you believe in something or believe in nothing you can still practise mindfulness.
Although people have meditated for thousands of years, it is an American medical professor Jon Kabat-Zinn who has been the driving force behind making the practice of mindfulness meditation part of mainstream medicine. And it’s now offered in hospitals around the world.
How Mindfulness helps us manage tinnitus
Mindfulness transforms how we relate to tinnitus. The goal isn’t to get rid of your tinnitus (as we all know, there is currently no cure) but to change your relationship with it so that you feel relief even though you know your tinnitus is there.
Many of us are already aware that the emotions we feel, such as stress, can affect our tinnitus. But our experience of tinnitus is also affected by our beliefs about it (“there must be something wrong – I must have a tumour”), expectations (“there HAS to be a cure – I’ll ask my GP for another referral to someone else”) and environment (“no-one in my family cares how bad my tinnitus is”).
Mindfulness makes it possible to reduce all this suffering we experience around our tinnitus even if it doesn’t necessarily reduce the tinnitus itself. It can also help us be less fearful and more accepting of our tinnitus, allowing us to live life more fully, and essentially be happier.
How mindfulness changes how we think and feel about our tinnitus
Mindfulness can help us by:
- Reducing our repetitive thinking about tinnitus
- Reducing our subconscious reaction to tinnitus
- Reducing the behaviours we take to avoid tinnitus
- Improving our self-compassion
- Increasing our acceptance of tinnitus
- Increasing how relaxed we feel
- Decreasing our stress (whether caused by tinnitus or not)
- Mindfulness: not just for tinnitus
The great thing about mindfulness is that the techniques you learn for one area of your life are easily transferred to other areas. Just as I learnt to transfer the skills I learnt to manage my chronic pain to help my tinnitus, you could use the Bee Empowered course to help you manage stress, depression, anxiety and chronic illness to name just a few conditions.