If you suffer from anxiety and also struggle with tinnitus, read on for the best ways to improve your symptoms. All backed by scientific studies and research.
There are two main reasons they are linked:
- Suffering from ringing or buzzing in your ears is stressful and can cause anxiety in and of itself.
- The part of your brain that deals with hearing overlaps with, and uses the same circuitry as, the part that produces anxiety disorders.
The good news is, there are many things you can do to help ease your tinnitus and your anxiety.
Even better: All the techniques we list below are science and research-backed.
1. Green Tea & Theanine
These days, almost everyone has heard that green tea has amazing health benefits.
The secret is this: Green tea produces a special amino acid called “theanine.”
Studies show that theanine had positive health effects, specifically with:
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Clearing your mind
- Calming your nerves
- Better sleep
- Heart diseases
- Losing weight
- Boosting your immune system
- Fighting colds
A recent clinical study showed that anxiety was significantly lower in those who were consuming green tea for its health benefits.
Using essential oils to help calm you down has been used in many cultures for centuries.
Some of its best uses are for better sleep and to lower levels of anxiety.
In fact, some studies show that inhaling aromatherapy was more effective than getting a massage.
The best scents to use for anxiety are:
More research has been done on lavender than any other aromatherapy because of how powerful it is.
Research shows that lavender alone has been used effectively to:
- Improve sleep quality
- Reduce anxiety
- Decrease insomnia
- Reduce depression
- Treat PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Boost moods
- Help calm the heart-rate in patients with heart disease
- Increase slow-wave sleep (that deep, restful sleep we all crave)
- Help both men and women wake up feeling energized the morning after being exposed to lavender
Look for high-quality, pure essential oils to get the maximum benefit from this therapy.
One of the biggest things about anxiety is that you’re stuck in your head.
Stressing about the constant buzzing and ringing in your ears and worrying about when it will end takes a big toll.
Add to that the mental juggling of random ideas and tidbits from your day and all the information you don’t want to forget.
Your brain is on overload trying to store all those thoughts.
But you can take control of your thoughts and calm your mind by taking a few minutes to write out all your thoughts, worries, feelings and ideas on paper.
The physical act of writing on paper (rather than typing on your phone or laptop) is very therapeutic and relaxing in and of itself.
Keep a simple notebook or journal to apply this therapy to empty and calm your mind.
4. Make A To-Do List
Similar to journaling, when you have too much going on in your mind, you will start to feel anxious.
Take a minute to write down a to-do list for the day, or the next day, to help free up your valuable brain space.
You could also write out any negative thoughts regarding tinnitus that you’re dealing with.
Lists for simple tasks that you don’t want to forget to do or lists of your negative thoughts can really help calm your mind and ease your anxiety.
5. Get Some Good Sleep
Many tinnitus sufferers have a really hard time sleeping.
A big aspect is how you’re dealing with your anxiety about actually falling (and staying) asleep.
Another factor is how you feel about the ringing in your ears.
Improving sleep is one of the top ways anyone can improve anxiety.
In 20 Sleep Tips For Tinnitus Sufferers, we show you the 8 steps to a healthy sleep routine, 7 things to avoid and 5 ideas to try when you can’t sleep.
Not only could this potentially have a positive impact on your tinnitus but it may also relieve anxiety in other areas of your life.
Many studies prove that adding an easy exercise routine to your day will improve almost every aspect of your life.
And we’re not talking about crazy gym-goers here.
Taking an easy daily walk, going for a simple swim in your local pool, doing some stretching…
Whatever suits your lifestyle and feels best for your body.
Evidence shows that there are significant improvements to:
- High blood pressure
- Body fat and weight loss
- Resting heart rate
- Sleep (falling asleep faster, sleeping better, waking up refreshed)
- Cardiovascular health
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Panic disorder
Not only does a light exercise routine improve your body health, but the boost of positive brain chemicals will also make you feel happier and more joyful.
7. CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
A big name like “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” (commonly called CBT for short) can sound complicated and intimidating.
Here is what it actually is: A practical, short-term form of therapy that helps you examine and make sense of what is happening around you.
It teaches skills and strategies to deal with problems that come up in everyday life.
Research has shown significant improvement in:
- Depression scores (in at least six studies)
- Quality of life linked to dealing with tinnitus (in another five studies)
- Helping manage tinnitus
- Treating insomnia
- Reducing anxiety
- Improving stress levels
You can either find a clinician to work with or find a self-treatment plan that was created by a certified CBT clinician.
The basic idea is that you learn to identify, question and then change your thoughts, attitudes and beliefs that are causing emotions and behaviors that are upsetting you.
It teaches how your thoughts (“cognition”) influences your behavior.
And how introducing new thoughts and beliefs can alter how you behave or feel.
Some studies are even showing evidence that CBT can help people to quit smoking – and smoking is a big trigger for tinnitus.
8. Breathing Techniques
Using a breathing technique to calm anxiety is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get your anxious thoughts and feelings under control.
In fact, research is showing that learning an effective breathing technique should be the first response to helping a patient control their anxiety and other emotional disorders.
There are lots of breathing techniques out there, but one of the most popular is the 4-7-8 breathing technique.
Many people use it for anxiety and to help them fall asleep peacefully.
Here’s how it works:
- Breath in for 4 seconds
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds
- Exhale for 8 seconds
Then you simply repeat as many times as you feel you need to calm yourself down.
Pay attention to how you’re breathing.
Breathe in deeply from your belly, not your chest.
When you breathe this way, you lower your heart rate, blood pressure and your stress levels start to drop.
If you put a hand on your belly you’ll be able to feel if you’re actually breathing in deeply or not.
Your chest shouldn’t move too much when you breathe deeply like this.
9. Mindfulness & Meditation
Here is a simple definition to help you understand the difference between “mindfulness” and “meditation”.
Mindfulness is being aware of SOME thing.
Meditation is being aware of NO thing.
Studies have long shown that both mindfulness and meditation help with stress and anxiety.
Because of its roots in Eastern culture, some people are afraid of learning how or what mindfulness and meditation actually are.
It’s something our grandparents and ancestors had the luxury of doing without even knowing it at the time.
It used to be part of everyday life.
They weren’t under the stress of constant news stories of disasters around the world 24/7, screens and texts and social media, as well as the pressure of modern living.
Here is what mindfulness actually is:
- Breathe in and out, slowly and deeply
- Think about a peaceful scene, like the beach or a quiet forest
For meditation you do the same first step:
- Breathe in and out, slowly and deeply
- Clear your mind and think about nothing
You calm yourself, breathe slowly (this helps slow down your heart and blood pressure), and just think about something peaceful or nothing at all (to help you stop thinking racing, anxious thoughts).
Mindfulness and meditation aren’t just good for anxiety. It’s also been found to help:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Panic disorder
Research shows that mindfulness and meditation like this help tinnitus sufferers of all kinds, even if there is no other anxiety present.
And it’s also been proven to be superior to other relaxation therapies.
Although it can affect all different types of tinnitus, there are many techniques you can use to manage anxiety.