Coping - hands on, part 2 

Let's move on to some hard core coping techniques that get a lot of mileage. So far we've looked at "easy" suggestions now let's move on to some hard core coping techniques. Not any harder really, they just take a bit more explaining.

The 3 & 5 technique: sure-fire relaxation 101
Proper relaxation is amazingly simple yet hugely effective. Your brain can be in only one of two states: anxious or relaxed so if you know how to relax properly then you don't have to be so uptight about everything including tinnitus. Keep in mind that, this technique only works for humans:

1) Sit down somewhere nice and comfy and take a nice deep breath and breath out again. Naw, don't complicate things, it doesn't have to be through your nose.

2) Now, at a pace that's comfortable for you, breath in while counting to three
3) and breath out while counting to five

Again, do it at a pace that's comfortable for you. The counting doesn't have to be mathematically perfect, just nicely paced and keep repeating steps 1 and 2 until, well, you decide for how long. The point is to breath out longer than to breath in and in a short while you'll find yourself relaxing. You then can reduce your breath-in count, increase your breath-out count and you'll relax even more.

What's the big deal about relaxing this way instead of just flaking out on the couch? Your muscles relax. When your muscles relax it forces your body to relax. When your body is relaxed your brain has no choice but to also relax. This, I've been told, is an honest to goodness medical thing actually. When your brain is relaxed you ease up on your thinking and the whole world, including your tinnitus, becomes a lot easier to handle. This scheme is also the raw mechanics of things like hypnosis, meditation etc. but, of course, it don't cost you $100 an hour when it's packaged up with some far out new wave name. You can practice this anywhere, anytime - while stopped at a red traffic light, while in the washroom, during commercials on TV, whatever. Watch out for the side effects though: it tends to lower the blood pressure of some people with hyper tension and it has many people drift off in a wonderful sleep. Of course you wouldn't want to do this while driving a car or whatever...

Noise Generators
You can use these on the cheap: a portable stereo radio with ear buds - tune the radio to an empty, in between stations, spot on the FM dial so all you can hear is a static hissing sound. You don't want the volume to be louder than your tinnitus to mask your T sound(s). Instead, you turn the volume up until it matches the volume of your tinnitus and both volumes "mix." To some people this hissing is more annoying than their own tinnitus sound but for many it is a welcome experience. Over time your brain gets used to hearing these external sounds and figures that if something else is doing a great job of making these sounds then why should I even bother. This is the approach used in both Residual Inhibition and Tinnitus Retraining Therapy and has proven quite effective for many although it takes time.


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