When trying to cope with difficult Meniere’s disease symptoms, one of the biggest challenges we face is something many people haven’t considered.
When we’re suffering, regardless of the specific nature of the situation, we’re reacting emotionally, often from a place of fear. We’re not thinking rationally or logically in these moments. And it’s all too easy to become paralyzed by that fear.
The reality is there are a lot of things you can do to ease your mental and emotional suffering in most difficult situations.
But in the middle of such an intensely negative emotional experience, having the presence of mind to actually get up and act is a much greater challenge than most people realize (especially those who haven’t dealt with these kinds of issues). And so, we end up suffering more, and for longer periods of time, than is often necessary.
The good news is that you can train yourself to identify these difficult moments as soon as they begin.
And you can use this moment of mindful awareness to do something about it much more quickly than you might have otherwise. In a very real way, you can shorten the duration of your suffering.
Today, I’m going to teach you a simple technique that can train you to automatically become mindful when the going gets tough, allowing you to act in your best interest more quickly.
I call it the Meniere’s Reaction Technique.
The Meniere’s Reaction Technique:
This technique is worth practicing as much as you can, because you probably won’t remember to use it at first.
Over time, it will become a powerful tool for dealing with symptom flare ups, tinnitus spikes, and other difficult experiences. But it requires practice and repetition for it to become an automatic habit.
Any time you experience a Meniere’s disease related difficult moment of any kind, practice the following:
1) Stop what you’re doing: Sit or lie down and get comfortable.
2) Relax your body: When we’re suffering, we tense up and take very shallow breaths. This worsens the stress response. Luckily, it’s simple to fix. Close your eyes, consciously relax your muscles by letting your whole body go limp and take six deep breaths.
3) Become mindful: Think back on the hours leading up to this moment. Recognize that before now, it wasn’t this bad. If depression is a factor, it might feel like it’s been this bad for a long time. Become aware that you we’re okay at some point before this difficult experience.
4) Inject rational thinking into an otherwise emotional experience: Remind yourself that you will be okay again. Your symptoms will calm back down. They always do.
6) Choose a coping strategy/tool and use it immediately: The goal is to suppress the fear/emotional response and improving your situation by doing something helpful right away. Coping techniques include anything that relaxes you mentally or physically, distracts you, helps to reduce your symptoms, like medication, or helps you feel better in some way. You may not be stop the difficult moment, but with this strategy, you will hopefully at least be able to cope more effectively.
A Few Examples of Relaxation Tools/Techniques You Can Use:
The Meniere’s Relief Project Audio Program: My pay-what-you-want album of brainwave entrainment audio features many tracks that automatically induce a powerful state of relaxation in minutes. If you’ve already downloaded it, the “Vertigo Reliever” and “Stress Melter” tracks are the most sedating.
The One Minute Better Mindset Breathing Technique: This simple breathing technique can stabilize your emotional state in as little as 2-3 minutes.
Meditation and Other Relaxation Activities: I do not believe I would have coped with Meniere’s disease as well as I’ve been able to, were it not for meditation. Anxiety and panic are incredible common amongst Meniere’s sufferers. Meditation helped my anxiety considerably. This post details a simple meditation exercise that you can try today, as well as many other helpful strategies for reducing anxiety.
CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is one of 113 different active compounds found in the marijuana/hemp plant. On its own, it’s non-psychoactive which means you cannot get high from consuming CBD. Yet it’s believed to be responsible for many of the medicinal effects of cannabis. CBD helps to reduce my stress and anxiety more than any other supplement I’ve ever tried, by a wide margin. I’ve written extensively about CBD and Meniere’s disease – you can read all of my CBD related posts here.
It Takes Practice, But it’s Worth it:
The Meniere’s Reaction Technique can train you to calm yourself more quickly and help to prevent the anxiety response when your symptoms flare up or suddenly start bothering you.
It also allows you to act more quickly. And the faster you can deal with difficult moments, the less you’ll have to suffer. The ultimate goal here is to be able to catch yourself and do something about it as soon as the suffering begins.
But it takes practice and repetition for it to become habit. You want it to be engrained in your brain so deeply that it happens automatically.
“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”
– Archilochus, Greek Lyrical Poet
Let me give you a specific personal example of how this technique helps me on an ongoing basis with tinnitus.
I’ve completely habituated to the sound of my tinnitus, and even though it’s still there, 98% of the time I don’t really hear it unless I focus on it, because my brain just tunes it out.
But I do occasionally get spikes, especially if my stress levels get out of hand, or if I accidentally expose myself to loud sounds. And it’s always jarring when it suddenly spikes out of nowhere.
The old me would panic and my tinnitus would get even louder. I’m still jolted by it for a second, but I’ve practiced this technique for so long, that the jolt of panic is now immediately followed by a sense of calm awareness: “Don’t worry, this has happened a million times before. You know what to do. Do it now.”
I’ve described this technique in terms of Meniere’s disease, but this approach can also be applied to other types of suffering. It works just as well for anxiety, stress, depression, pain, and discomfort.
The idea is simply to help you build a space between stimulus and response. Most of us tend to react to stressful events on emotional autopilot. Far too often, rational thought is simply not a part of the equation.
But with practice, we can stop reacting and start responding mindfully. We can act to improve our circumstances right away. And we can reduce our emotional and mental suffering in a meaningful, measurable way.