What’s your tinnitus goal? To get rid of it? To make peace with it? To ignore it? To live an awesome life in spite of it?
Goals can be useful…
Setting goals is a great idea, they give us a roadmap for our year. They can inspire and motivate us to keep making improvements to our life even when we’re not feeling inspired to make the effort.
And not so useful…
But they do have downsides too. Focusing too much on achieving our goals can lead to the opposite result than the one we want.
Let’s say your goal is to fall asleep more easily. You spend weeks researching the best way to fall asleep, planning the perfect bed-time routine and creating a playlist of noise to mask your tinnitus as you nod off.
Then you go to bed. But try as you might, you can’t fall sleep. In fact, you feel more awake than ever. Aargh! Why is that?
It’s because all that time focusing on the goal of falling asleep has made you very aware of the gap between where you are now (awake) and where you want to be (unconscious!). You feel frustrated and think about how life isn’t fair. You start reminiscing about the days pre-tinnitus when you fell asleep as soon as your head hit the pillow. You worry whether you’re ever going to get enough sleep to function the next day! The result – even less sleep than normal. Sound familiar?
How mindfulness helps
Mindfulness empowers us to set goals intentionally. It moves the focus away from one single static goal which is future-focused (fall asleep quickly) to a series of dynamic goals which are focused on the present.
In the Bee Empowered course we consider what we can do each day to help us lose less sleep to tinnitus. As well as committing to practicing mindfulness, students might also choose to do daily relaxation exercises or yoga, to get outside and walk each day, to take regular breaks from work or to listen to additional guided meditations to reduce their stress level. The focus is on the present moment – on choosing wise activities each day rather than the future goal of trying to fall asleep quickly at night.
Gradually these intentional and consistent choices are reflected in increased sleep. But that’s not all. Students taking the course also report an increased ability to accept their tinnitus, more resilience in coping mentally and physically with tinnitus spikes or flares and a greater enthusiasm for life (yes, even one that includes tinnitus).
If you would welcome help to set some dynamic tinnitus goals, please get in touch.