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Module 5 Summary and Video

When you reach Level 4, you are Letting go. Congrats on coming this far…

The following video gives you guidelines for how to continue your path towards complete liberation from tinnitus.

Level 5: Letting go

  • Module: Letting go
  • Tinnitus is like a: Therapist. Reflects the way you feel inside and how you treat/manage yourself
  • Effect on life: T deepens self- knowledge and ability to witness the way you are
  • (more…)

Module 4 Summary and Video

When you reach Level 4, you are motivated. You’ve done very well. You aren’t stuck anymore.

The following video gives you guidelines for how to continue your path towards complete liberation from tinnitus.

Level 4: Motivated

  • Module: Putting Your Motivation To Work
  • Tinnitus is like a: Teacher. (more…)

Module 3 Summary and Video Module: Accepting Your Role In Tinnitus

Level 3 Resigned

  • Tinnitus is like a: Doctor. Starts to accept T begrudgingly and listen to the advice it is trying to give you
  • Effect on life: Accepts that changes are needed for T to back off. Accepts support and help.
  • Feelings: Resignation, acceptance, sadness, begrudging
  • Mindset: Sometimes can focus away from T. I’m responsible, so how do I get out of this?
  • Awareness: Realises that body and mind need attention and sorting out
  • Challenge: To let T show you what makes you feel better. To learn from T rather than fight it.


Level 1: Stuck

Level 1:    Stuck

The red level of the matrix is called STUCK. People here are under the illusion that there is no way out and that the tinnitus will never go. It is common to sink into this mindset when we have been misinformed by a health practitioner that there is nothing we can do about it. It is not surprising that we give up hope if the person we go to for help gives us this message of negativity. Once again, please ignore such messages. They are totally unhelpful. I strongly advise steering clear of such people.

At this level of suffering you often feel totally at the mercy of tinnitus, which can behave like a TYRANT. You are afraid of losing control and feel powerless to stop it. Although this is the way it seems, this is most definitely not the case. When you are deeply locked into a state of red-alert, it is normal to feel hunted, anxious, fearful and as if there is no hope. This is normal behaviour for red-alert mode.

But there is hope. Look up the matrix to the next levels and see what it’s like for people who have improved. As you get to know this matrix better by going through your own process of starting to look after your own needs more, you will recognise some of the landmarks of change in your awareness. As you improve you will be able to keep track of changes in the way you relate to tinnitus, think about it and feel in yourself.

At level 1 you may notice that you live almost entirely in your head, stuck in racing thoughts. Your days are filled with interminable mental chit-chat that seems to dominate everything. These thoughts can often be negative and full of worry. Do you have a sense of being locked inside your head just now? How easy is it to describe what is going on inside your body, or how things feel sitting here reading this? Of course you will be thinking about what you are reading, but as I write this, I can feel my bottom clearly sitting on the chair and my legs feel really calm and comfortable.

See if you can get a sense of where you are focussed just now. Does it seem like the centre of attention is in your head? If your body is like a house, are you upstairs in the attic, or do you have a clear sense of how your lower body is downstairs? Where is your focus just now? How able are you to describe what is going on in your body?

When we are in red-alert we tend to spiral in our thoughts and sometimes feel like we are spaced out and floaty. If there is a focus it might feel generally around the head area, but distinctly floaty. Do you feel floaty from time to time?

It is very common for tinnitus people to be almost entirely out of touch with their bodies. If you ask them how they feel, they will often be unaware of anything below the neck, other than tightness and aches and pains. Most of you will probably fall into this category.

This is why having comforting, soothing, relaxing body-work is so important. Feeling the direct contact of warm, caring hands that know what they are doing will calm the system down, and will help you feel how your body is. As soon as the body relaxes, your mind stops racing and starts slowing down, and you start feeling a little bit more in touch with what feels okay.

For me having hands-on body work was an absolute Godsend when my tinnitus was bad. My body started to experience calm, safe and comforting experiences which directly helped my nervous system shift down out of red-alert mode. It helped much more than I realised at the time. Please do yourself a huge favour, find a good therapist and have regular body-work. Once a week for a few months should really help you get in touch.

Your mind will probably say: “Oh this won’t help. How is this going to stop my tinnitus? I want it to stop right NOW! My tinnitus hasn’t gone yet. Oh this person doesn’t understand what it is like. I need pills and a quick fix rather than all this alternative stuff. I’ve had three massages and my tinnitus hasn’t got any better. This is useless. Nobody can help me. This will never go.” When you find the saboteur taking over your mind and trying to sabotage any plans to help yourself, take it from me that this will help and tell the saboteur to be quiet!

Acknowledge that you do actually want to get better, rather than stew in all this misery. Know that looking after how you feel on any level and getting your needs met will help. Until you actually try this out, you will have to trust me. Get support and start experiencing the changes. Just staying in your head and reading this from a mental point of view is barely going to scratch the surface.

We all have a tendency to sabotage things we know are good for ourselves, especially when we are down at this level. How do you think we got here in the first place?

Being in touch with your body really helps. The more you can focus on how your body feels, the more you can take your mind off tinnitus. Craniosacral therapy worked incredibly well for me. I was continually surprised by how I thought I was relaxed and then suddenly, something would let go and I would sink into a delicious state of calm. Then, after a period of time, I would drop into a whole new level of calm and comfort that I frankly had never known before. Relaxing is relative and seems to get endlessly better. Just when you think you are relaxed, with help, bodywork and support, you suddenly relax a hundred times more. One thing is critical in being able to relax, your body needs your attention. Having someone working on your body helps gather your awareness into your body space, and this leads to relaxation.

At level 1 it’s great that you are already reading this, which is a step in the right direction. Read through this booklet until you understand it thoroughly. It will be a support in itself. It is my intention to inspire you to learn how to look after yourself and to give you hope and a sense of motivation. I was at rock bottom and struggled with tinnitus for years. Now I have never been so well. Please know that this is possible.

In my clinic, clients who experience six sessions or so find things starting to feel much more manageable. Tinnitus no longer bugs them so much and they are able to focus more clearly on what makes them feel better. Those that follow the advice in this book and practice focusing on how their bodies feel make very good progress.

To get out of STUCK and start moving up a level it is really important to get regular therapy for your body and mind. Remember, letting go only really becomes possible when you have support. It is so much easier when you can offload onto someone. When this person is neutral and has no strings attached, and when this support is on a regular basis, it is hard not to feel some benefit. You have to be pretty determined to be miserable to not start feeling some relief.

Know that as soon as you start creating a neutral space where you can process how you feel inside, you will start unburdening your issues and setting out on the road to letting go. Find someone you feel comfortable with and allow yourself to really unburden yourself and offload onto them. That’s what they are paid for.

Tinnitus people are champions of trying things out just once, and then saying it was useless and moving on to something else. Please be aware of flitting from one thing to the next and never really getting anywhere. I now refuse to treat people with tinnitus who won’t commit to at least six sessions. This usually ensures that they not only do they get onto the right track and gain a sense of direction, but also usually start feeling much better. This motivates them to keep progressing up the matrix to a level where they feel satisfied. Those who come for just a couple of sessions tend to just stay stuck.

Some of you may feel there is nothing wrong with you. My advice is to go to body-work and start to find out how you really feel inside. You have tinnitus. That is a good enough reason to get help.

As I have already mentioned, it is not helpful to try to stop your tinnitus at this level. Don’t aim to climb the final ascent of Everest before you have all your sherpas and supplies in order. That is a long way off just now. Keep your aims within reach and realistic. Just now, try to aim for anything that makes your body feel more relaxed and comfortable, and allows you to have a good cry, release emotions and clear your head. What really helps is to find someone who can really LISTEN to you, and get a sense of what you are going through. Trained therapists are best for this.

Trying to stop your tinnitus is just another way of focussing on it. You need to take the focus away from it just now.

Put your tinnitus on the back shelf, even if it is howling. Make your focus and main aim anything that makes you feel well. It doesn’t matter if it is lying in a jacuzzi for an hour every day, or hanging upside down from the rafters, turn yourself into a student of well-being who experiences increasingly long periods of calm, relaxing, manageable, and happy activities. This helps tinnitus. Pushing yourself to the limit doesn’t.

If you have children to look after or tough business commitments, organise some down time on a regular basis. If this is seemingly impossible you really need to consider whether your lifestyle really suits you. Tinnitus people often drive themselves into overwhelm where the need for money, power, and achievement seems to outweigh well-being. Your body is one reality you have to deal with. If you want to let go of tinnitus, something has to give. As you build up more of a support network, things will become more manageable and well-being will return.

The power of direct contact from someone who is calm and happy is extraordinary. At this level I feel it is essential. However it also really helps to build up your positive resources. By that I mean all the things that make you feel well.

What really helped me through the difficult days were: lying in a jacuzzi, swimming, taking the dog for a walk, laughing, having a long shower working the jet all along my spine, having a good cry, spending time with happy, positive people, not talking about my tinnitus and dwelling on it all the time with everyone I met, avoiding depressing and draining people, letting go of all the stressful things in my life, turning the news over to a comedy show, having long baths with lavender and candlelight, the smell of roses and putting rose oil on my pillow, listening to gentle, beautiful music, spending long periods of time just doing nothing, talking to someone who cared about my well-being, lying in the sun, swinging in a hammock at the bottom of the garden, lying in the middle of the floor in the middle of the living room in the middle of the day doing nothing, daydreaming about happy memories, beautiful places, laughing a bit more, getting into delicious, healthy cooking, taking up photography, learning how to use the computer, going on holiday, learning salsa, Scottish dancing, going to the cinema and watching uplifting, happy, slow-paced films, reading endless inspiring books, pottery, wine-tasting, learning languages, all these things really helped me. It took the focus away from tinnitus, made me feel happier, put me in contact with others and helped me relax.

To be honest, this list of things that make me feel happy was much shorter to start off with when my tinnitus was bad. Of course it was. I was out of touch with all the things I loved in life and that was part of the problem. But the more I took care of myself, the longer this list got, and the better I felt and the more my tinnitus backed off.

What are your resources? What makes you happy, inspired, relaxed, hopeful, comfortable? How much downtime do you have and how much enjoyment do you let into your life? The core issue here is how loving and kind you are to yourselvef. We tinnitus people tend to treat ourselves like tyrants, bossing ourselves around, pushing hard and being pretty unforgiving and demanding at the best of times. Learning to treat ourselves well is tantamount to being loving and kind to ourselves.

It is really essential for you to start allowing all the good things into your life that you need to be well. Start looking after yourself and letting in all the things you long for. Be kind and loving to yourself like you would be to a child, and stop pushing, demanding and expecting so much of yourself. Give yourself a break. You need to know what helps you, what makes you happy. As soon as you become aware of this and start allowing what you long for into your lives, your tinnitus will show you that you are on the right path and back off.

Many people with tinnitus say that they have jobs, families and responsibilities they cannot get out of, leaving them with no time to themselves. The issue is more likely not being able to say no, or not setting clear boundaries and asking to be left alone. If we are honest, the best thing for our families and businesses is to be well and happy. The more we look after ourselves, the more we can bring to our relationships at home and at work.

It is all about letting go. We need support and positive resources to nourish us over a period of time in order to let go. Please give yourself plenty of time.

At this level I strongly advise weekly therapy/counselling/bodywork sessions. Don’t expect miracles to start off with. This is not a quick fix, although some people experience great improvement at the beginning, and that can be such a relief. My advice is to keep going with your sessions.

Most of all you will want your tinnitus to get better right now, but please be patient and try to keep your goals manageable. Aim for any kind of well-being just now. You will be able to deal with tinnitus more directly once you have established a positive support network and have moved up a level. At this stage it is good enough to get some sense of well-being. Get your sherpas and supplies in order first, before starting the ascent. Build up your positive resources and give yourself a bit of time to establish this.

Can you write a list of all the things that make you feel better? What nourishes you and makes you relax?

I thoroughly recommend joining a regular tai chi, yoga, relaxation, Pilates, or Alexander Technique class. With the support of a teacher and people around you, this will help enormously. Once again you can find out about this on the internet, at the library, and in health food shops. Do a whole course before you consider if it is for you or not. Give it a chance to work.

Level 2: Struggling

Level 2:    Struggling

When we start getting help, this can be a really interesting time. I found myself coming out of what felt like a numbed down state, and I started to get in touch with how I felt emotionally, physically and mentally. I discovered that I was full of anger and frustration, and that my body was holding onto lots of “baggage.”

BUT I was finally telling my story to someone. I was being listened to and supported and I found myself starting to off-load and process a great dam of stuff I hadn’t realised was there. It was difficult at times, but it felt like something was shifting. Even though sessions could be quite challenging I started to feel lighter and like I was relaxing and letting go. Over a period of time I became noticeably more comfortable going to someone for help, and opening up to them. I had no idea how much stuff had become pent up inside.

Level two is all about struggling with tinnitus. It is like having a sergeant major that has moved in with you, orders you about and has you on a short leash.

Being listened to carefully is particularly important for people at this stage. You may find yourself blaming the diving accident, the syringe, the loud drill, the medication, the cold and a whole host of people, events and situations. It may seem like they all caused your tinnitus and it had nothing to do with you! Therapy may help you realise otherwise.

This is the level where you get endless worrying thoughts swooping down into your mind like vultures: “If I hadn’t done X, then the tinnitus wouldn’t have appeared. That wretched so-and-so. I was fine before they did Y to me.” This is the classic time for pointing the finger at noisy neighbours, inconsiderate partners, and nasty health practitioners who just make it worse. You may find yourself really giving yourself a hard time, and well, frankly beating yourself up with thoughts like: “I cannot accept this. I used to be in control. I want my peace back. I don’t want to have to look after myself any differently or do bloody relaxation exercises. No no no!”

Get it off your chest. Let it all out. Once you have the support of a therapist then its great just to be honest and share your feelings. You can really start to notice just what you are like. For tinnitus it is best to be calm and in a settled state, but you most probably got into this state in the first place because of bottled up feelings. They will need to come out, in order for you to let go. With a good therapist, this process can be handled carefully, slowly and feel manageable. Keeping the brakes on slightly is much more healing than flying headfirst into overwhelming process.

Many people go through the, “Why me? Why should I look after myself? I should be well. There’s nothing wrong with me!” stage. In order for this to happen, you need someone there to express this to, ie a therapist.

It’s no good unleashing all this to your partner or nearest and dearest. That will just bring them down too leaving you all feeling full of doom and gloom, depleted and at the end of your tether. A therapist can be a much more powerful support because they are neutral and have no strings attached. Although they are affected by what you bring into the space, they have the means to not be overwhelmed by you and remain strong. This brings much more space to this densely packed baggage we all carry, and allows us to process and air it in a safe transformational way.

In STRUGGLING, the mindset is already different to level 1. The fact that you are prepared to do something about it means that you are considering the possibility that your tinnitus may get better. Here people are starting to question their symptoms and are wondering if it really will be there forever, or perhaps, maybe it might just get a little bit better.

You may find that when you get in touch with anger or anxiety during sessions your tinnitus may react and flare up. But believe me it is worth getting things off your chest because this is what allows you to settle later. While I was struggling through the first stages of getting better, sometimes I would go through a shift and then my tinnitus would wobble and react for a few days afterwards.

I constantly get asked by people at this level, “Will it make my tinnitus worse?” The honest answer is temporarily we can get slight aggravations, but fortunately most of the time the nervous system settles and you just feel calmer. When tinnitus flares up after a session, this is often because something is changing and being processed by your system and usually you have a sense of this feeling quite important and appropriate, even if you feel a bit emotional or jangled for a day or two. But after each flare up, things settle to a slightly easier level in my experience, and over a period of time the overall trend is positive.

I can remember feeling really shocked when I suddenly realised that nobody in my family ever truly listened to me. Of course from day to day we all used to talk to each other, but nobody ever really considered my needs because they all had such strong agendas themselves. We were all bogged down and so none of us could be there for each other.

I became aware of how I had shut down and just gone numb as a defence. Even though this was challenging to come to terms with at the time, this realisation marked a turning point in my own journey of getting my own needs met. For the first time these needs were being met deeply, and I was being heard and attended to. The sense of relief was extraordinary.

I can’t help but feel how common this is with tinnitus people, the need to be heard and acknowledged. So much of this condition is about needing other people to know how bad it is, and for them to really listen to this and hear you. How often do we get really frustrated that nobody seems to be taking us seriously or that they don’t understand what it is like?

Practically every client of mine says at some stage, “Well Julian, at least you have been through this and know what it is like. That is such a relief to me, and one of the main reasons I have come to see you.”

At this level it is also common to be strongly in denial. You may be thinking that you are very together and that you don’t need therapy. Please remember that if you are really well and have no burning issues and have digested and processed all your life experiences thoroughly, then you should be able to let go of tinnitus quite quickly. If you have tinnitus that won’t go away, this is a sign that something needs to let go.

You can probably remember noticing tinnitus when you were a teenager as your head hit the pillow after a loud concert, only to find that it had disappeared by morning. However, if your tinnitus is still there, the fact that you are holding on to it is a sign that something needs to shift.

The only exceptions to this are being deaf or partially deaf, which causes you to strain to hear. This heightens your sensitivity, which can lead to tinnitus. Because you don’t hear well, your nervous system becomes ultra sensitive so it can pick up more information from outside world. By straining in this way, you end up picking up internal noise as tinnitus.

Alternatively there is an extremely rare medical condition that can lead to tinnitus called an acoustic neuroma. Sometimes people are sent off for a brain scan, even though the odds are remote. I’m always amazed how many people are put through this procedure. How often are we sent off for a brain scan when we have headaches? It almost seems as if health practitioners send people off for a scan because they don’t know how else to deal with tinnitus. The tinnitus person, being in an anxious state is bound to rise to the suggestion that there is a slim chance they have this or that, and therefore feel they should get it checked out. But if they get stressed out by the process, then their tinnitus may get worse as a result. How much are scans of this type about pandering to anxiety rather than seriously managing someone’s well-being?

The point is that the vast majority of tinnitus cases come from being in a state of red-alert and this can change. If you are prepared to go through the hassle of taking the brain scan route, then please also consider setting up a support network and establish a therapeutic relationship too. This is more likely to help you settle into a state where you can let go of tinnitus.

At level 2 tinnitus can be really frustrating. It can flare up at the slightest thing. Even relaxing can create this extraordinary paradox where you are much more centred and aware of how you are and, as a result, you notice it more. You feel better and clearer, but as all the chaos and turmoil starts to subside you may notice the tinnitus more.

I can remember, as all of my frantic thought processes started to calm down, a clearer head meant I became more aware of tinnitus as a result. As the storm clears the cause of irritation sticks out more. This can be challenging. But you have to ask yourself which is better: being lost in a sea of chaotic thought and distractions that drown out the tinnitus, or being calm and clear and able to notice the tinnitus in all its glory?

Even though tinnitus can stick out like a sore thumb at times when you feel particularly calm and peaceful, these moments are crucially important. You start to really meet tinnitus full on, face to face as it were. At times it seems we need to be able to fully experience our tinnitus and learn to be well with it at the same time, before it starts backing off. How you react now is going to become a deciding force in what happens next. You can either react negatively and wind yourself up, or what I suggest is that you try the techniques at the end of this level. As you become more able to meet tinnitus in a much more direct, head-on kind of way, get into a regular habit of practising a well-being inducing technique. The more you do this, the more your subconscious will start associating tinnitus with a reason to relax and be well, and the less threatening it will become.

The technique at the end of this section is one of the most useful in the whole book. Whereas once I used this to let go of tinnitus, now that I no longer have this problem, I continually depend on clenching and relaxing to settle myself down. It helps enormously when life gets challenging, when I am angry, in pain, confused or exhausted. Learning to focus on the body can really transform our experience of difficulty.

A word of advice about having a really relaxing therapy session: If you find that after a treatment you really let go, switch off and start noticing your tinnitus more, it can be tempting to blame the person who helped you. You may need to go through a period of noticing how you are in all your glory, good and bad, and for some people the bad parts eg tinnitus, being negative, impatient, destructive, critical, driven, pushy etc can be hard to accept. My advice is to keep on going with therapy and focus on the increasing sense of well-being in your body. Just keep going. Some people give up at this stage which is such a shame as they are only just starting to do the work. You may have to really pamper yourself for the time being while you struggle through this challenging stage. But learning what helps is a vital part of the process.

As you start getting in touch with how you feel inside, you may start noticing how achy, tired, tense and painful your body is. Many people with tinnitus treat their bodies like workhorses and don’t really look after them much. Even though it is uncomfortable getting in touch with this, I encourage you to work through things with a body worker to help release some of this tension. It does get easier with time but getting in touch with difficult is some of the most important work you will do on yourself. This is where you make progress. This is also why you need the support of a therapist. Level two can really seem like a place of “no pain, no gain” at times.

You may come across feelings you didn’t know were there. Use the support of your therapist to help process any issues that arise. They are trained to help you in this way.

The challenge of this level is to really start considering how you can bring changes into your lifestyle and how you approach your body and mind. If you start therapy and bring extra support into your life, this is an enormous step in the right direction and that alone with a month or two is very likely to move you up a level or two on the scale.

In the meantime, be good to yourself. Don’t push yourself to the limit. Bullying yourself, driving yourself to exhaustion, or taking on too much are definitely things that you need to seriously consider stopping. Bring in enough down-time, and allow as much fun and humour flood into your life as possible. Stop taking yourself so seriously and let yourself just be as you are.

Who is really the sergeant major here – the tinnitus or you? Is the tinnitus really to blame or is it just your body reacting to the way you treat yourself?

One of the most useful things you can do at this level is start to notice how well you treat yourself. When was the last time you gave yourself a proper break? How much downtime do you have on a daily basis? What do you do on a regular basis that makes you feel happy, calm and focussed? How much support do you have around you? The message you need to take on board here is that you need to start taking good care of yourself, and giving yourself time to become aware of how you really feel inside. Here is a really useful technique that puts you in touch with how you are. The more aware you become of how you are inside, the easier it becomes to let go of it. Remember, we can’t let go of what we don’t know. So, get to your what’s going on inside.

Level 3: Resigned

Level 3:    Resigned

At this level you start noticing that your tinnitus changes according to how you are. Get angry or frustrated, and it flares up. Do something that makes you happy or relaxed, then it seems to calm down. I have called this level RESIGNED because after all the stress and struggle of the two lower levels, something starts to give here and you start being able to accept your tinnitus. You start to realise that it is not the outside world that is directly responsible for this, but you have an important role too.

In the yellow level tinnitus behaves like one of those rather unsympathetic, old-school doctors that gives you stern advice. If you get upset, wound up, frantic or frightened the tinnitus will punish you. However, and this is the new revelation for this level that doesn’t really exist at level two, if you really start looking after yourself, then the tinnitus does in fact back off. You are now coming to terms with the realisation that you can actually have an effect on it, after all. It may irritate you, and you may have to admit begrudgingly to yourself that maybe wallowing in misery and self-pity is not all that helpful. Here the first sense of taking responsibility starts creeping in as you start being a bit more constructive in thought, at least.

Now is the time to start listening to the advice your tinnitus is giving you. Of course you will notice if it gets worse. Rather than just focusing entirely on feeling distraught, at this stage you should start being able to step back a little and keep an eye on what is going on. The way out of tinnitus is to notice what makes you better. There will be times when you manage it better, or it backs off. When this happens look at what has been going on in your life, and pay attention to this. Your central nervous system is giving you invaluable information: it is telling you what is right for you, what works for you. Think of tinnitus as your in-built doctor who will give you better advice than anyone else. Pay attention to it, and you will find your way to well-being. This is the best ticket out of tinnitus.

Too much anger, frustration, tiredness, pressure, stress, living it up, stimulation, medicine, surgery, physical trauma, loud noise, exposure to cold, change, worry, alcohol, coffee, tea, sugar, unhealthy food, sex, intensity, racing in your head, all these can have an affect on tinnitus. The list is endless. I think the key phrase to be aware of is TOO MUCH.

More comfort, calm, support, manageability, predictable and safe routines, baths, healthy diet, gentle exercise, early nights, yoga, tai chi, meditation, letting go, down-time, fun, ease, snuggles, gardening etc makes your tinnitus back off.

For each person the specific triggers will be different, just as certain things will help certain people more than others. The more you work with your tinnitus and notice all the things that help it back off the better you will be. Some people think that nothing helps their tinnitus. If you are one of these, I gently suggest that you haven’t paid enough attention to what helps. If you can reel off things that make it worse and cannot think of a single thing that helps, then this reveals a lot about your approach.

It can swing either way at this level. You can have a down day when tinnitus is giving you a stark reminder that you are not looking after yourself enough or that you have too much unprocessed baggage inside that needs therapy. You feel negative, but at least you manage to keep one eye open and notice what it was that set you off again, instead of drowning in it.

Other days you feel much better and admit that Julian’s technique or that session with your therapist or the wonderful, happy long walk you had with a great friend has genuinely made you feel better. The tinnitus is still there but you feel better in yourself with it.

You are starting to ACCEPT that your relationship with tinnitus is a two-way process. It may feel like it has moved in but start working with your tinnitus and take its advice, and you will find your path to freedom.

As you start to realise your mind and body need attending to and looking after, you will start reaping the benefits. The moment you start finding things that work for you, then progress starts to accelerate. This gives you some relief, which means that you can let go more, focus on other things more, which in turn distracts you away from tinnitus, which in turn makes it easier to release.

Take positive action when tinnitus gets to you

One thing that really helps at this stage is to get into a habit of doing something positive every time you find yourself reacting negatively to tinnitus. Literally every time your mind starts fretting, take a few deep breaths (see breathing technique at the end of level 6), go for a walk, lie on the floor and do the clenching and relaxing exercise, or anything that makes you feel better. If you get into a regular habit of meeting your negative experience with a positive one, you will start to associate tinnitus with something good.

In your subconscious every time tinnitus starts threatening, your body will get used to starting to relax and feel better. It doesn’t matter if it is a hot shower, yoga or having a sing or rubbing your feet, just get into a regular habit of meeting tinnitus with something positive, and it will very quickly start to matter less. The last thing you should do is stew in negativity! This compounds the whole pattern. Take positive action instead.

I used to just take my focus to whatever felt good in my body. I asked the question: can I find something that feels OK just now? I would take a moment and find something warm, comfortable, strong, clear, free, loose, calm, smooth, centred and then focus on it. Sounds simple, doesn’t it, but it is amazing how few people with tinnitus know what feels okay inside. Its there all the time, its just that we tend not to connect with it.

Buy yourself a foot-spa, create a space in your living room where you can practise relaxing every time you need to. Leave the cushions and blankets out because you may well need to do your relaxation techniques more than once on some days. It’s useful to aim to bring in something positive every time your tinnitus triggers a negative response in you. You may think you stew and think about your tinnitus all the time. Well, in actual fact, you may surprise yourself how much less you focus on it than you think. I challenge you to sit for five minutes and focus on your tinnitus. I can almost guarantee that your mind will wander onto something else!

If you are reading this and you haven’t yet started the process of bringing in support and looking after yourself better, then at some stage you may need to look at why this isn’t happening. Check in with that saboteur in you, the part that says, “This won’t work. It’ll never go,” and so on. Be honest and ask yourself what is holding you back. If you stay stuck at any level, there will be an important reason for doing so. What is stopping you from getting therapy, practising the techniques? Are you one of these people that has to cope by themselves? Is it hard letting support in? Does it feel like a failure or too self-indulgent attending to your own needs? Be really honest, I dare you. Deep down inside you’ll know.

Believe it or not, I have met some people who crave everyone’s sympathy with tinnitus, as if they have never had enough attention in their lives. Getting better removes the attention they are getting. So, as a result, they end up doing everything in their power to keep their tinnitus in place. Others don’t want to get better because they can’t be bothered, or actually quite like being miserable. Sounds unbelievable, but its true. I regularly experience people who, the moment they start getting better and start understanding what tinnitus is all about, discontinue treatment. It seems that there is too much to lose by getting better. We must never underestimate the power of symptoms and how they can give us what we need!

The fact that you are reading this suggests that you want to get better.

So with Doctor Tinnitus checking up on you, the challenge here is to listen to the health advice it is giving you and learn from it rather than fight it. You should be starting to realise that anything that creates resistence or a struggle is not helpful for tinnitus.

Let tinnitus show you what works for you and what makes you better. You will have your own unique things that work for you as an individual. To be frank, your tinnitus will make sure you learn what these are. It will reward you when you do the right thing, and punish you when you lose your rag, or overdo things. I have shared some of the things that helped my own tinnitus, and what made it worse. You will find what works for you. That’s what tinnitus is for. Finding your health. Now there’s a thought!

This next technique is absolutely essential. Please do it today. Work on it over the next few weeks. You may be surprised how revealing it is about you.

Level 4: Motivated

Level 4:    Motivated

Notice there is a thick line across the matrix between levels three and four.

This is an enormous transition zone that I have noticed in tinnitus people. Once you can get to level four, then it’s pretty much downhill all the way. Whereas the first three levels have been unpleasant and challenging, once you cross the threshold into green, then suddenly you start to discover that tinnitus is no longer the nasty, bossy old tyrant that it was, robbing you of peace and sanity. To the contrary, this condition seems to have turned into quite a useful healthometer showing you what’s right for you and what’s not.

Sounds pretty like level three, but the crucial difference here is motivation. Now that you have taken responsibility for your own tinnitus, and accept that it is there and you yourself have a massive impact on it, you are starting to get a sense of what is needed for you to be well. After the uphill struggle of the lower levels, in level four you are MOTIVATED enough to keep on going all by yourself. You have experienced how tinnitus can back off and you enjoy taking good care of yourself because it feels so much better to do so. It is worth it for the relief alone.

At this level there is a sense of much more space. Tinnitus is still in the house, but has moved out of your room into its own. It’s still there but it doesn’t bug you so much. At last there is a sense of it being manageable and you can get on with things.

Of course there are still bad days where it flares up, but you are starting to develop that all-important sense of knowing from direct experience that it will back off again the moment you go to bed early, or have a break or do whatever it is do you to feel good and relax. Tinnitus is not a threat anymore. Now you can stare it in the face and have a healthy respect for it. You are not controlled by it now, but you listen carefully to what this symptom is trying to teach you.

You are here most likely because you have started benefiting from a few months of therapeutic support. You have directly experienced that it is possible to feel much better than you were used to and are possibly starting to get in touch with more important underlying issues that fuel the tinnitus pattern in the first place. In short at this level you have developed a real sense of how to be well from time to time.

You have become INDEPENDENT and don’t need to be badgered into taking more care of yourself. You already have a good sense of what works for you and how good it makes you feel, and you are starting to reap the benefits. You’ve got out of the hole and it feels such a relief. Tinnitus has turned into a pretty good TEACHER and you are rapidly finding out what is right for you.

Level four on the matrix is the time when you start considering what really matters to you, and what changes you need to make in your life so that it can become more wonderful. It’s decision time. As you become much more caring towards yourself and start treating yourself with kindness and consideration, you start to get a sense of what you really want. Certainly the things you don’t want become loud and clear and easier to weed out.

I suddenly realised one day how tough I had been on myself, and how I had to do do do, achieve, be the best, prove my point, and try and try again. It slowly dawned on me that this was one of the most important underlying causes of tinnitus in me, this inability to just accept things just as they are and let myself be good enough as I am right now. Talking to hundreds of tinnitus people, I started to see how we all seem to be driven, and unable to appreciate that we are probably good enough already. Many of us seem to feel guilty about doing nothing. We simply give ourselves a hard time.

It was at this stage of level four that I started to treat myself with more kindness, and this made a huge difference. I started to let go of a need to be perfect and successful, and started to allow myself to be just good enough. It really was such a relief.

The technique at the end of this section helps develop this sense of loving kindness towards oneself. It is extraordinarily simple and yet if you do it properly, can turn out to be a memorable and powerful experience.

When I was passing through this stage there was quite a delayed effect on improvement. If I got a bad cold, lost my temper or went through a stressful patch, my tinnitus would rear up and start treating me like a grouchy doctor or sergeant major again. At lower levels I would have panicked at this wobble and would have needed to get support from my craniosacral therapist. However at level 4, having built up some experience of knowing what helps me and how to manage my tinnitus, I would just get back on the support wagon and do my relaxation exercises, especially the clench and relax technique at the end of level 3. I would do this for perhaps an hour at a time and feel immediately more centred and in control. However it might take me a week or so to settle back to the improved level of symptoms that I was experiencing before the wobble.

In retrospect I think I did quite well considering that the only regular support I allowed into my life was bi-weekly craniosacral therapy. Today I find my ability to cope with wobbles is better than ever, because I have a firmly established and regularly visited support network: psychotherapist, craniosacral therapist, a week off every month, a good diet, a strengthening Buddhist foundation, friends, daily swimming, and a wonderful partner.

I am aware that this may sound intimidating for some, and may get your Saboteur thinking, “But I can’t do all that, it’s too expensive, takes up too much time, I don’t believe in anything, etc.” Believe me, I used to be just as hard on myself and have no help at all like perhaps many of you who are reading this now. Tinnitus loves lurking in the lives of people who drive themselves to the limit and who are hard on themselves.

However the more I started giving myself time and space to be supported, the more I felt the deep benefits of it creep into all areas of my life. We are not meant to be alone and cope with masses of stress unaided. People who tend to do this (like me, for example) have often needed to cope and pull themselves together right from day one, as a result of the way they were brought into the world and brought up. Early patterns established by our mothering and family dynamic are powerful forces that turn us into the driven achievers and restless souls that tinnitus lives through. And yet, thanks to tinnitus, I discovered this fairly early on, and found that life is much happier and more manageable with plenty of resources to draw on.

As you get stronger and look after yourself more, when life rocks the boat as it surely will, it gradually takes less and less to reactivate your tinnitus. These days it takes one hell of a cold, or a massive amount of fear, anger, stress, coffee, alcohol to bring it back. I’m generally free of it, but if a tiny whistle flickers on the horizon, it is usually gone by the morning.

The point I want to share with you is that the more you look after yourself, the stronger your whole nervous system becomes. Your immunity and ability to manage things slowly gets better and better. The delay between tinnitus flaring up and the amount of time needed to get back on track does get shorter and shorter depending on how readily you are prepared to look after yourself.

Even with powerful illnesses or enormous challenges like bereavement, the more we open up to support, help and nourishment from others, the better we will cope. You all know this. What I am saying is no great revelation. The fact that you have tinnitus is not because you don’t know the effects of a healthy diet, good friendship, or the benefits of therapy. It is possibly because you do not allow yourself enough of these things! You may be depriving yourself of all the things you long for and need because you have probably had to be tough, grit your teeth, and cope without them in the past. This is learnt behaviour that seems “normal.”

Why not rest, enjoy yourself a bit more, let go of the need to be brilliant, successful, wealthy, perfect, admirable, etc, and start just being OK? This is a really interesting question.

To show the consequences of this, 10 years ago a cup of coffee made me spin and feel nauseous, and my tinnitus flared up. Now I have one every day and thrive on it with no effect on symptoms. The same is true for wine, or staying up late. I had to be ultra careful of what I exposed myself to, or what I ate, but these days I am slackening the reins a lot and am getting away with it. This is possible because I have allowed myself to let go, switch off and recharge. I have plenty of time off, and instead of lots of money, I have lots of free time. In fact downtime has become sacred for me. I’m not encouraging bad habits here, but I am saying that, with tinnitus, when you really start looking after yourself, your constitution gradually gets better and better. Bear in mind that it’s not just tinnitus that improves. You may well experience:

Better digestion
Improved memory
Stronger nerves
Clearer thinking
Better sleep
More stable emotions
More energy
Stronger immunity
A longer life
A happier general mood

You are not just letting go of tinnitus, you are bringing yourself out of a body stress response which will have an effect on all these factors. Your tinnitus is your in-built personalised friend that will show you what is right for you. If you let it work for you, you will find much greater health benefits. Let your tinnitus guide you in a healthy direction that is tailor-made and perfect just for you. The more you do the right thing, the more it will back off.

The challenge at this level is to develop confidence and know that you will be OK every time you get knocked down a level by something challenging that comes along. When you get rattled by whatever trigger that comes along, setting off your alarm bells again, here you will learn from experience that it will go anyway, as long as you adopt your coping strategies that will be becoming clear at this level.

What is the situation touching inside you that you need to deal with? Take this to therapy and explore it. You cannot change the outside world but you certainly can change the way you deal with it inside. If someone makes you angry, there is something important inside of you that is reacting to it. It’s not just them, its you too.

Confidence in the fact that things will be alright each time your tinnitus flares up increases every time you manage to survive and recover from one of these episodes. The more this happens, the stronger you will get. You may get worse when you are overtired, but you know that a few early nights will make it better. An infuriating situation may set your head ringing, but if you spend an hour focussing on body sensation then you know you will feel better. This knowledge becomes more and more unshakable, and the gathering confidence takes root and strengthens like a tree.

As you really start getting better on a deeper level, you can be incredibly empowering for other people who are suffering with tinnitus. Your wellness and recovery from symptoms is inspiring and motivating and gives them hope and direction.

At this stage you start to get a sense of your body being the place where all your life experience is held, RIGHT NOW. With all the body work you have been receiving, you know that this is the place where blocked issues and undigested life experience can slowly be released and freed up. Working on the body directly helps the mind, and vice versa. They are inseparable. You have stopped treating yourself like a workhorse at this stage. It becomes harder to feed yourself rubbish and flog yourself to exhaustion. Your tinnitus is teaching you this.

Level 6: Empowered

Level 6:    Empowered

Well tinnitus has moved out now and lives in the neighbourhood. But you’ve become friends, and you know that if you get out of kilter with your body it will be there to help you find your centre again and re-establish a good sense of health. Most of the time you are not aware of tinnitus, but if you sit in silence you could probably find it again. Equally, you might just notice silence.

The crucial point here is that you have practically no interest in checking up on tinnitus anymore. Why should you bother? There’s no problem. You know that if you look for it, you might find it there just sounding in the far distance sometimes, but there is no need to check this out. Your tinnitus is no longer important, so you don’t check up on it.

If you are operating at this level, you have probably already established an excellent support network, have plenty of downtime and really know how to look after yourself. Your lifestyle is balanced, in as far as you match the amount of energy you give out through work with plenty of nourishing time for yourself to relax and appreciate all the good things in life. There is an equal amount of give and take. Your central nervous system can rest in a state of neutral so that it can either burn off energy in activity, or switch off and recharge again when resting.

Having given yourself plenty of time to let go, process and relax, your system is able to function “normally” again. Just like a battery, our nervous systems do need to recharge for us to feel well.

The well-being you have at this level is there because you have learnt to let help in, and get support when you need it. You have got into the habit of taking any difficulty or discomfort to a body worker or therapist whenever you feel overwhelmed, and probably air your issues regularly with good friends. Nothing builds up too much for you to handle. When big challenges come along you have some sense of how best to cope with them and know where to go for help. This in itself is deeply comforting and reassuring. In short, you can relax in a position of strength and are ready for action if need be.

Tinnitus has turned into an incredibly useful guide leading you to a much greater sense of health and well-being. Helping you get in touch with yourself at a much deeper level opens up a whole new way of being and a new approach to your sense of self.

All the body work helps you get in touch with your body’s felt sense at a deep level, and you start to become aware of energetic reactions. You can focus on internal feelings in a much more detailed way and feel changes in temperature, tingling, floatiness, a sense of expansion, and an opening up into a more sensitive connection to the space around you.

I have found Craniosacral therapy and Core Process Psychotherapy to be particularly good for developing a greater sensitivity of internal awareness. The gentle hand contacts of cranial work often remain still in the same place for long periods of time. This means you are not distracted by lots of external stimulation and your focus naturally goes inside and you become aware of internal changes as you lie there. Equally a Core Process Psychotherapist can help guide you into bodily experience so that as you are working through each issue, he or she can help you get in touch with how it is affecting the body and how you feel inside. There is always a certain part of our body that is reacting to each situation. Getting in touch with this can really help transform how we hold on to things.

At first it seems like magic, but then you slowly start to realise that the body knows what it needs to do. All you do is just get out of the way and let go into the support. It is like an inbuilt intelligence and organising force gathers momentum, and starts helping things realign effortlessly. It can be deeply inspiring to feel something naturally sorting itself out inside you, without any apparent effort. There is most definitely a force that knows what it wants inside. Learning how to let go deeply allows this life force or dynamic organising system to come more and more into affect. The more I have learnt to let go into this centering and organising force, the more I have been able to release aches and pains in my body and become less dependent on medicines and manipulations to sort myself out. This arising energy or life force is available to all of us all the time. We just need to unblock our connection to it arising at every instant in our core.

These days, when I have a pain in my body, I lie down and settle into a deep state of calm. This involves getting in touch with all the things that feel fine, calm and comfortable in your body. Once I have a strong sense of this, I then go into the pain and really get a sense of how it feels inside. If it is bad pain I will only take my focus to the edge of it, without dropping right into it, to keep things manageable.

Approaching the pain, sometimes you feel like something wants to move inside it, or like a pressure wants to release. I spend time getting in touch with the buzzing, throbbing or tightness that is there. After about ten minutes or so just focussing really carefully on it and connecting with it, I start to link the area of pain up to the rest of the body. So if my heart is hurting and feeling tight, I notice how it connects to each shoulder, how my breathing affects it, whether it feels tight towards the front or the back of my body. I literally feel all around it and explore this felt-sense. Sometimes I can feel something changing. When you widen your field of awareness out to include the whole body, the pain can actually start freeing up before your eyes. It is extraordinary what we can do just by focussing. This is well known amongst people who meditate a lot, and is an ability that develops with practice.

We are lucky having so much available to help our health with all the technical advances in health and medicine. However body-awareness is a huge underrated resource that we can tap into, transforming how we feel. To be really healthy we need to combine external scientific approaches with internal process and awareness. Both are good, and having both working together is best.

I believe we need an integrated approach to health where both an internal awareness is combined with external science and expertise. Ken Wilber’s approach to an integral way of life explains this clearly and simply in his book, “A Theory of Everything.” It makes sense.

Wisdom relating to health has been around for thousands of years and has always worked for those who bother to enquire into it. The problem is that it needs you to start the enquiry. I am not against drugs or surgery, but tinnitus is a symptom that responds directly to our internal process and how we treat ourselves. Rather than resort to drugs or surgery which can be extremely helpful in certain situations, I personally to try and sort things out inside first, and enter a very real possibility of getting better, before resorting to more invasive treatment.

Bodywork and therapy opens up this inner world and is of immense value. Stay with it long enough and you will develop an insight into the energetic realm, if you don’t have it already. This can completely change the way you approach yourself and the world around you. It quite literally opens up a completely different way of being.

The first session of craniosacral therapy was a direct experience of my body not as just flesh and bones, but a container of different kinds of energy resonating in a fascinating and powerful way. Like many people I am sensitive enough to feel this energetic perspective loud and clear and therapy has increased my awareness of the body as a container of moving fluids and energies. This has a big impact on your health, mind and your body.

Understanding how we develop psychologically is of immense help as well. When we start to become aware of our patterns of behaviour and where they come from, this too can really help us develop strength which helps us slowly, slowly, over a period of time, start to let go of our normal way of acting in the world.

Taking a deeper look at the typical tinnitus person for example. As a child he/she was not given enough love early on. As a result he/she grows into a highly driven and competitive person trying to prove to themselves and the remote parent that they are worthy enough of receiving love and attention. They spend their whole lives trying to fill this sense of emptiness inside and create the ideal conditions for symptoms like tinnitus to appear. Every day of their life is filled with a prevailing sense of never having enough, never being satisfied or at peace. In this book I have mentioned many surface causes for tinnitus such as: getting divorced, working too hard, exhaustion.

However if we look into the deeper causes, what really matters underneath is that there is very often a lack of loving continuity, guaranteed on-going protection and safety provided by our parents. Our earliest experience sets up the strongest reactions that form the central structure of our personalities. A less than ideal beginning can set up patterns of neediness and frustration that in later life lead to tinnitus. This is where psychotherapy can be immensely beneficial.

Slowly we can uncover the deep cause for our inner struggle that lies at the core of our being. When we can come to terms with our deepest struggles then something literally comes to terms, that is, something stops, and settles. As tinnitus is something that thrives on internal resistance, if we are able to accept and find peace with our innermost experience, then tinnitus doesn’t stand a chance!

At level 6, the challenge is to work through your innermost issues and find acceptance and resolution so that you can let go of this need to explain and understand your tinnitus. I admit this sounds like a tall order, but if you are at this level your goals in life are much more likely to be about finding peace and satisfaction.

At lower levels it helps to know how tinnitus works and what we do to perpetuate it. It can be really comforting to understand what is happening to you and how to let go of tinnitus. Here, however, in order to move into a deeper sense of peace, it helps to let go of the need to check up on tinnitus. I feel it is much more useful to work with the felt sense of the body. Once we learn to focus on responses that are real and alive inside us, we can work with something that is 100 per cent authentic and a part of us and get direct responses inside. If you stay with how you feel, and work through your internal responses, you will be working as closely to maximum health as possible. Your body is the best doctor you have. Give it the right attention and it will show you what needs to happen.

It’s simple, your body is constantly showing you how it is reacting, providing you with one of the clearest and reliably honest streams of information you’ve got. Use this information to guide you.

Developing your energetic awareness with meditation and having deep body-work therapies like craniosacral therapy or core process work will help you get in touch with this inner intelligence. It is amazing and humbling. I really hope you get a chance to connect with it.

Level 7: Liberation

Level 7:    Liberation

When I think back over the journey I have been on with tinnitus I am amazed how much my life has changed for the better. For me this condition has behaved like a spiritual guide because it is directly responsible for helping me find a genuine sense of health, well-being, and strength. I can honestly say I am happier now than I have ever been, and if you had told me this would happen when I was down at level one, I would have laughed at you incredulously and growled, “No way!”

As the resting daily focus has moved down from the head into my body, I have started feeling things that I would never have dreamt possible just a few years ago. Before I used to spend the whole time in my thoughts and with all my attention in and around my head. These days I feel centred around my heart a lot of the time and when I walk down the street, or sit with people nearby, I can feel a strong interaction happening between us, often with a focus in my heart area. It feels like a magnetic connection or a gentle push pull. It seems independent from my thought process and gives me valuable information that can be very different to what I think. In fact I rely on my felt sense much more than my thoughts these days if I need to make a decision. The felt sense is much more reliable than my neurotic mind!

All this work has opened up an awareness of the space beyond my physical body – the transpersonal space. Sitting with people I can feel resonance in the space between us, and that is inspiring. Tinnitus has led me into a way of being that is very different to living in a tight, thought-packed head. It is very comforting to get a sense of what the larger picture is like and the connectedness of everything. It fills you with awe and gratitude and lets you experience a deep sense that everything is alright.

I wish I could show you what this is like. Well, as a therapist I guess I can start to. In the meantime I encourage you to continue on your journey of finding peace inside your body. Tinnitus is such an obvious guide to help you along the way towards this goal. As soon as you listen to it in a positive way, you can move towards what is right for you. With support and encouragement the relationship with tinnitus will change from a horrible tyrant that seems to be in control, to a useful guide that is leading you into better health and awareness.

If you let tinnitus help you, slowly you will feel clearer and more aware inside. Deep, careful work like Core Process Psychotherapy or Craniosacral Therapy, or learning how to meditate and focus inside allows you to open up to a larger experience of an interconnected sense of self. Please know that with therapeutic support it is possible to drop into very deep states of calm. As you get in touch with what is going on behind the scenes you can really start to know stillness.

You can become aware of a vibrant state of peace and calm where you feel your centre really clearly, your mind is calm and focussed and you feel very connected to things around you. It is deeply inspiring to touch into these states of being because it can help us shift into a new level of awareness.

Ken Wilber’s books: “A Theory of Everything,” “No boundary,” and “One Taste” provide a very clear understanding of how our level of awareness can change dramatically as we progress through our lives. It is amazing what happens to our sense of self when we really do settle into a deeper stillness. “The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching,” by Thich Nhat Hanh, gives us a clear insight into the notion of self and how Buddhism provides a path out of suffering back to well-being. Indeed any spiritual foundation provides invaluable support that helps us let go on a deep level. I personally would encourage anyone to find this kind of support.

I often think of tinnitus as a symptom which, if it could talk, it would say, “Listen to your body, listen to yourself, listen to what is going on inside. Pay attention to this.” That is what tinnitus is trying to do, isn’t it? It gets people listening to themselves like nothing else does. It gets you to focus inside. Once you do this properly, tinnitus changes.

Personally I don’t think this is any coincidence. As a craniosacral therapist myself, I have learnt to have a deep respect for symptoms. They are often a direct link back to health, because they are showing where the problem is. All we need to do is really pay attention to them and notice what they are trying to communicate to us. This is not such a far-fetched idea, if you think about it. If there is pain, then there’s something wrong. Owch! Not good. We need to focus on it. That is what the body is trying to achieve – get our attention in that one place. It does this effortlessly. Unfortunately we often do the opposite and try and blank out the pain with painkillers. Managing pain is one thing, but turning a blind eye to it and pretending that everything is OK is not healthy and is asking for more complicated trouble at a later stage.

The more we focus on how our body feels, the more we understand how well we are or what needs seeing to. Read Eugene Gendlin’s book “Focusing,” for a very readable and approachable way into this territory.  I am grateful to my own tinnitus for showing me this challenging but rewarding path back to health. It really has made me change my diet, exercise, sleeping, social, and resting patterns enormously. It has been an incredibly accurate guide showing exactly what is right for me.

It is no exaggeration to say that tinnitus has been the best doctor, teacher, therapist, friend and guide that I have ever had. What makes it so good is that it is spot on for me, tailor-made for my own needs and nobody else’s.

Because tinnitus arises in your body, and is really just an auditory feed-back connecting you directly with the state of your nervous system, you are learning to work directly with what is best for your body. What could be better than that?

So while we are waiting for the magic pill to intervene and switch off this highly intelligent and useful mechanism, leaving us in silence (great), but also in the dark about what causes it in the first place (not so great), in the meantime I encourage you to start working on how you feel inside, and feel better! Its all here, right now inside your body.

My aim in writing this book is to show you a way which works. It makes sense. Many people go through this process of getting better all the time. The only thing that stops you going in the same direction is you! Keep an eye on the saboteur here. Become very suspicious of your own behaviour when you start thinking, “oh this worked for him, but it won’t for me, I can’t be bothered, I’m too tired, oh its too expensive, I’m waiting for the tinnitus pill to be invented, my doctor said nothing helps, maybe next week.” Look through these thoughts and ask yourself what you really want underneath. Maybe you have more choice than you think.

I sincerely wish researchers well. It will be very useful to know exactly which parts of the brain are involved. The work being done on the limbic system is very exciting. The more we know about the engine that we are all driving – ie our bodies, the better. Tinnitus usually arises because of the way the driver is driving the engine, rather than a problem with the engine itself. Drive too fast or put too much strain on it and the engine will flounder and make unhealthy noises. It is not sensible to put more sound-proofing over the engine to smother these noises out. This is not dealing with the problem. Surely it’s better to help the driver slow down and drive in a way that keeps the engine functional for the longest time with as few problems as possible. The good news is that there is one important difference between a car engine and a body: if we give our bodies space and our full attention, they repair themselves. Bodies are designed to work as well as possible and to do the best they can to function at maximum health. Healing happens when we rest, eat well, feel happy and well in ourselves and when we switch off and let go. Cars need mechanics.

At this level, you know yourself and your body well and you are aware how you drive it. The challenge here is to open to the larger picture and help others overcome their own suffering. As your tinnitus gets better and better you can share this approach with others. We need to be strong in the face of all the negativity, and lack of understanding surrounding tinnitus. When we hear people say, “There is nothing you can do about it,” we need to reply from our own experience, “Well actually there is masses you can do about tinnitus. I have got better and I know how this happened.”

I can only hope that health practitioners stop saying tinnitus cannot be cured. This is very harmful and does not help anyone. Please learn how to help tinnitus first before delivering devastating messages to disempowered people who cannot cope with them. This increases suffering. Send people with tinnitus to practitioners who can provide them with proper care and support, and who can bring their nervous system out of overwhelm and back towards ideal resting states. Keep it simple. Send people with tinnitus to practitioners who will help them discover well-being. This is already a huge step in the right direction.

The magic miracle cure for tinnitus is to help bring people out of red-alert mode back towards a neutral resting place. This involves bringing the parasympathetic nervous system back into balance with the sympathetic nervous symptom. This is simple physiology, and is something that alternative practitioners and body-based psychotherapists do everyday.

Technique 1: Crisis calmer

Technique 1:    Crisis calmer:

When you get into a state, try immersing your feet into a bowl of comfortably hot water for fifteen seconds, and then plunge them into a bowl of cold water. Move them backwards and forwards from hot to cold, back and forth for a good ten minutes. Notice how your focus settles more into your body. This simple technique is great for calming you down, getting you out of your head and slowing down any panicking thoughts. In more distraught moments, this will help take the pressure off, and will help divert your attention away from your head. Try it and feel for yourself.