For many years, after I first got tinnitus, I spent a lot of time online. I had FOMO big time. Fear of missing out on a cure. Fear of missing out on the latest tablet or therapy that might make my tinnitus quieter. Fear of missing out on anything that could give me my life back.
It wasn’t healthy. It interfered with work time, family time and sleep. Instead of making me feel better it left me more anxious and depressed than before I started scrolling.
A lot of my clients have been caught in the same cycle of anxiety – scrolling – more anxiety. Here are the five ways I share with them to spend time online mindfully:
1. Be intentional.
Decide what you want to achieve by going online. Is it to check into an online forum or Facebook group and ask a question? Is it to do the same, but offer support and information to other people? Is it to read up on some new research you’ve heard about?
2. Set a timer.
Before you start, set a timer on your phone and decide what you will do when it goes off. For example, you might say to yourself “right, I’m going to go online for 20 minutes then leave my phone in the living room while I go and get a drink”. This stops you disappearing down a tinnitus rabbit hole where you get lost for hours.
3. Notice your feelings.
If you notice that you are feeling strong emotions such as anxiety, fear, panic, or sadness turn your phone or computer off. Staying online will make you feel worse, and you won’t take in much information anyway.
4. Beware, humans online!
Remember that behind every post, every comment, and every snarky remark is a human who might be having a really bad day. Before you press send, take 3 deep breaths and ask yourself “is this true, is this kind, is this necessary?”.
5. Check your sources.
There are a lot of ‘experts’ out there sharing information that’s simply not true. Don’t take anything you read in forums or groups as Gospel truth. The British Tinnitus Association and American Tinnitus Association both have a great range of reliable resources that will help you fact-check any information you read.
For more mindful ways to thrive with tinnitus, sign up for the Bee Empowered course