First Experience With MBSR

Discussion in 'Dr. Jennifer Gans (Psychologist, Mindfulness)' started by MarioT, Jan 26, 2015.

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    1. MarioT
      No Mood

      MarioT Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress + SSRI medication
      Hello Dr. Gans,

      I have been a tinnitus sufferer for 2 years now. I still struggle with it a lot and I am still trying to figure out a way to succesfully manage the condition. Although it seems to vary in intensity randomly on a day to day basis, one thing that has become evident to me is the fact that the perception and severity of my tinnitus strongly correlate with my stress/anxiety and depression levels. Therefore and after having read a lot about MBSR I finally decided to give it a shot.

      Today I had my first session and now I have some questions which I felt my instructor - although experienced in MBSR - is not 100% qualified in answering because tinnitus is a very "special" condition. Since you are an authority in this field I would like to address these questions to you:

      All the excercises where conducted in a very silent environment. This automatically raised my awareness of my tinnitus to a point where it became very "loud" and uncomfortable for me. Do you believe that it would be better to practice these meditation techniques with backround noise or is it essential to do this in silence with full awareness of the tinnitus?

      During the "body scan" I quickly managed to "tune into" my body sensations. I would say that it was a pretty intense experience. Without going into much detail about it I noticed that although I managed to relax fairly well during and after the excercise, my tinnitus went skyrocket!! The instructor told me that it is very common that these symptoms get worse in the beginning but I feel a bit unsure about that. What is your experience on that matter?

      Thank you very much in advance,

      best regards

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    2. Dr. Gans

      Dr. Gans Member Clinician

      San Francisco. CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Hi Mario,
      Good to hear from you (and yes, I don't participate too often with tinnitus talk so glad you found me). That is great to hear you have joined an MBSR course in your area and your questions are good ones. First off, we know that reduced stress makes tinnitus bother go down. When you are doing these quiet meditation practices it is important to be comfortable. If using back-ground noise (sound generators) during the meditations helps you to relax, use them by all means!! Maybe try later to do the meditations in silence, but until you've moved along in the course, use whatever helps to relax you.
      Regarding your 2nd question, your instructor may be right. Sometimes the tinnitus symptom can be perceived as more bothersome during the skill building meditations. Don't overwhelm yourself (maybe take some breaks and bring awareness back to the breath). But sticking with the practice, even if you just don't feel like it, is sometimes the only way through.
      I know it's hard, but 'just do it!'

      I really honor that you have taken this first step to healing. You won't be disappointed.
      I'm happy to attempt in answering any questions you may have over the coming weeks.
      Dr. Jennifer Gans
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