Did you know that many of us find the sounds of chewing or breathing off putting, and for some they’re unbearable?
What Is Misophonia?
It might be hearing someone eating with their mouth open, sneezing, coughing, sniffling, chewing gum or throat-clearing? Or you feel rage when you hear certain birds, other people’s noise (eg dogs barking, music) and all you want to do run away or even lash out at the source of the sound?
These sounds are called “trigger sounds” by the misophonia community. The response is often immediate and an intense fight or flight feeling.
The impact of misophonia on someone lives can be devastating. Leading them to avoid so many situations, because they are unable to stay at a social function, eat with the family, stand the sound of their newborn sucking, and it even affects their relationships with those they love the most.
You have to remember the word misophonia was only coined in 2001. But aversive reactions to sounds has been studied for decades.
New hope come from the areas of neuroscience and neuropsychology, as we develop our understanding of neuroplasticity and how we can change our brains for the better.
The Impact of Misophonia On Your Life
Its comments like this that remind me of the impact misophonia has on your lives.
“I realise I have changed the whole dynamic of my family. No one eats together anymore. I go to my room and eat and the others eat at odd times. We used to be a family that ate together.”
“I finally muster up the courage to say something. That person proceeds to make the sound back to me.”
“It’s the feeling of dread when someone opens a pack of gum.”
“Genuinely wondering if you would be better off not being able to hear at all.”
“Your brain won’t stop thinking about the sound even after it’s gone.”
“You’re never going to get married, you know.”
Just imagine your life if you could eat with family and friends again, not have to feel dread, anger, that sinking feeling in your chest, wonder how fast you can get away or where you can go to get away? Just not to have that strong physical response to those sounds.
Using Your Mind to Change Your Brain
Psychologist Rick Hanson says “this can mean is that with proper practice, we can increasingly trick our neural machinery to cultivate more positive states.” Because as the Canadian scientist Donald Hebb goes “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”
Here are 8 ways to help your brain help you with your misophonia:
- Use the principle as the brain changes, the mind changes, for better or worse. By understanding the brain’s natural negativity bias, it give us new options to change how it wired. How could you change your natural negativity bias just a little each day.
- Use the principle as the mind changes, the brain changes to focus on changing your mind about things. Start with simple things that may not be related to your misophonia but might be annoying, disgusting or making you a little angry.
- Use the principle you can use your mind to change the brain to change the mind for the better. Deep words here but so powerful if you just ponder their personal meaning for you.
- Be aware of how you usually think about at the end of the day? The fifty things that went right, or the one that went wrong? Like the guy who cut you off in traffic, what you wish you had said differently to a co-worker, or the one thing on your To Do list that didn’t get done . . .
- And change your awareness to what worked well today for you. Something good always happens, just sometimes we don’t notice it. Try to notice something good at least a half dozen times a day. Each time takes just 30 seconds or so. It’s private; no one needs to know you are taking in the good. You can do it on the fly in daily life, or at special times of reflection, like just before falling asleep (when the brain is especially receptive to new learning).
- Remind yourself at least once a day “ Whatever you pay attention to has a special power to change your brain. Attention is like a combination of spotlight and vacuum cleaner : It shines light on what it rests on and then sucks it into your brain and your self. “
- Each time takes just 30 seconds or so. It’s private; no one needs to know you are taking in the good. You can do it on the fly in daily life, or at special times of reflection, like just before falling asleep (when the brain is especially receptive to new learning).
- Enrich your life with the sounds you love or make you feel good. Develop positive experience around sounds again.
Any single time you do the above it will make only a little difference. But over time those little differences will add up, gradually weaving positive experiences into the fabric of your brain and your self.
These are the principles behind my treatment for misophonia. Applying these principles is not easy, that where the Accepting Sounds Film comes in. To provide you with a way to do the above in short daily sessions.
It’s Over To You Now
Let me know if you try any of these 8 ways to help your misophonia. They work!. It’s not easy! Just remember that it’s your brain’s negativity bias in the way.
If you want an appointment to see me contact my office by phone or email?