Up your journal game – to keep track of your tinnitus
I have always had a diary. No, that is not right. I have kept a diary since I am 12 years old. It helped me to channel my anger and to straighten my thoughts out – but lately my diary writing hasn´t been working that well.
I noticed that recently my journaling was going nowhere – it was a bunch of gibberish, that didn´t make sense and it wasn´t even remotely talking about things that matter to me or that I wanted to work on. It seemed like I just wrote because I felt forced to get some words down, so there was nothing real in my words anymore. I practically was talking about my day, but not about my inside.
I´m not sure if it was, because I had gotte so disconected to my inner-self or if I was just afraid of getting in tough with my real feelings again. Or if I just didn´t know how to put it into words.
Then I remembered that I always did better when I had an objective. When I knew what I was working for and why I was doing it. So I upgraded my diray writing – I decided to direct my journaling with questions.
It also helps me to track my tinnitus in order to find out more about my triggers and to see the progress I´m making. That way I can work on improving my ear ringing in every situation more effectivly. I can see what makes it worse and how to avoid those situations or if I can´t avoid the triggers all together at least how to reduce the effect of it. Tracking my ear noise is a crucial part of improving my live with tinnitus. This way I get to know not only my tinnitus but I also learn how to deal with it better.
Not only that, it helps me to reach different goals at once – to think more positive and to use affirmations to change my perspective. I worked on a system, to get all those things together that I´m working on right now to make me feel better. To improve my life and my situation.
Working on improving my life with tinnitus has taken me on a path of experimenting. I have tried so many differnt things and started so many things, that it became hard and a lot of work to keep that all up. It it felt hard to do all those things I wanted to work on in one day.
Wondering how all of that can be reached with one diary entry?
I started to organize my journal entries and tried to include everything that is important to me. To be able to work on it.
I start with this part:
Stress is one of my greates tinnitus triggers, I have known this for almost as long as I have this ear ringing. Some stress I can just avoid by not exposing myself to certain situations or by not doing some things. But some things that cause me stress are either not avoidable or I still haven´t found a way to avoid them. To get a handle on that, to learn how to react to specific stressors I thought I need to observe them and see how I react. Later I can evaluate what reaction would have been better and I can also pinpoint all my stressors. So I grade my stress level from 0 to 10, 0 meaning no feeling of stress at all and 10 the highest stress level possible. Then I write down what the stresser was and how I reacted to it.
This is a great way of self-obersavation and of getting to know myself as well as my tinnitus better.
In the next category I write about my active as well as restorative life:
Sports has been a big part of my healing journey. I need to do sports to feel well as my mood gets uplifted, I can handle my tinnitus better and I fall asleep more easily. It´s the same for yoga and for meditation. Of course I don´t feel every day like it, so knowing that I have to write it down at night, helps me to kick my own butt. I note which sports I did and for how long, I also write down what yoga exercise I did and how long that practice lasted. The same goes for my meditation practice, which guided meditation I did and how long that practice lasted. Besides that I write down what sensation that meditation evoked in me and reflect in general on my feelings after meditating. Meditation often brings up a lot of unresolved issues, but then I never address them. So I decided to not let that happen anymore. To be able to work on what my meditation practice brings up for me, I write down what came up and what I think it means or how that made me feel.
The next category is about tracking my tinnitus:
Sleep is always important to me, so I write down how many hours I slept the night before. I feel like if I don´t sleep enough I can´t handle the ear rinnging as well as on others. Writing down the hours of sleep helps me to make sure that I get enought sleep or to realise at the end of the day why maybe the day had been so hard. It is also about finding the cause for having a bad tinitus day. I also rate my noise exposure – from 0 to 10. 0 means I didn´t have any exposure to loud noises that day, consequently 10 is the loudest noise exposure possible. Even though my tinnitus hasn´t been caused by loud noises, my ears have definitely become super sensitive. Writing down if I have been exposed to loud noises helps me to track if I have been protecting my hear and what loud noises are the once that affect me the most. I also jot down if I had coffee and how many cups I had. Listing the foods I had is just one part, I also rate my salt and sugar consumption. For that I use again 0 to 10. And very important I write down how many glasse of water or other liquids I had. In food observation I write down what I think about this whole category that day and how it made me feel. Food and hydration has a great impact on health and on my ear rinnging, even though I have already seperated coffee, salt, suagar and liquids, which I think have the greatest impact on my tinnitus – I also want to see what other foods might affect me. Writing down the amount helps me to find the limits.
The next category is helping me to see life in a more positive life:
Writting down three things for each topic helps me to see what good things happend during my day and what I was able to do. I´m not talking about huge things, little things like a message from a friend or a nice gesture of someone or that I taught a good class. Having been negative the last few years, this helps me to realise how good my days are and how good my life is. I have also heard more and more lately that gratefulness is one of the best ways to find happiness, but I think this combinations works best for me. As I also include what I achieved, the other two are more things that just happened, over which I haven´t had any control – but what I achieved is about what I did, what actions I took to create my life actively. In my opinion aknowledging how much power I have over my life and my own happiness is a really important point.
I´m working with affirmations to change my way of thinking:
In the past I did so many affirmations on one day that in the end I couldn´t even remember what I was trying to work on. Now, I´m choosing one affirmation each day. And that affirmation I have to say a few times a day. Right now I´m working on forgiveness, so one example would be:
I know that old negative patterns no longer limit me, I let them go with ease. – Louise Hay
I´m also praciting self-love and the best way to do that is by mirror work. It is basically just looking at myself in the mirror and saying an affirmation (I am working on my body right now so I say affirmationsabout my body), for example:
I love my ears. I´m balanced and poised and one with all of life. I choose the thoughts that create harmony around me. I listen with love to the good and pleasant. I hear the cry for love that is hidden in everyone´s message. I´m willing to understand others and I have compassion for them. I rejoice in my ability to hear life. I have a receptic compasity of my mind, I am willing to hear. I love and appreciate my beautiful ears. – Louise Hay
I usually say the affirmation a few times through out the day. I noticed that I say them, but a lot of times don´t really believe in them – so use the same affirmation for so long until I can believe it. Affirmations don´t work if you don´t believe in them!
Journaling this way helps me to accomplish and track my many intentions and also my habits. It shows the progress I´m making and keeps me motivated to continue on this journey.
It is also a totally differnt story writing things down and seeing them written down on paper than just thinking them or just saying them. So writing the affirmations or miror work down is even more powerful for me than just saying it. That does not only go for those two categories, it is applicable for every area here. Seeing it makes it more real to me and helps me to process it even better – to track it. It is my log about my healing journeyl and I can go back to the past and see how far I have gotten. It also helps me to really dive into the work on myself.
I not only learn more and more about my tinnitus and myself every day this way, I also find out how to react and how to improve my life.