For those who hear voices, it can sometimes be a very horrible experience (although it can also be a pleasant experience sometimes for some people). Therefore it is sometimes necessary to use some technique or another to Reduce the Voices (or it could be music, traffic sounds, chainsaws, trains, tram sounds etc.)
Not all techniques work for all people, but some may work for some and yet others work well for other people. No two people are exactly alike, therefore the techniques one must use will vary from person to person. A particular technique may work at one time, but not at another time. So it is important to rack up a repertoire of techniques to fall upon, in-case one doesn’t work at any given time.
One technique is to simply imagine closing the ears. You could think of it as closing your spiritual ears if you are spiritually inclined. If not, you could think of it as if your ears have doors or windows and you are closing them slowly. I also like to think of it like there is a cone in my ear and i’m tightening that cone until no noise can “get in”. It takes persistence, but it can work.
Another technique is to ‘stay calm’ – even if the voices are distressing (easier said than done). Basically, you want to focus on your breathing and not the voices (or sounds). Just focus on breathing deep into the belly – slowly, raising the belly, then the chest, then letting the air out of the belly, then out of the chest. Repeat as many times as necessary. The voices might be saying scary things, such as “we’re going to get you”, but you are calm in face of the fact that this is very unlikely, you are in as safe place and you are breathing. If you are not in a safe place, try to remove yourself from the place as long as it is safe to do so. If possible, get help from a caring person.
This brings me to my next point. Often it is important to assess how likely something is to happen that the voices say will happen. This is because most of the things voices say are not true or likely and therefore not worth getting worked up about. Being worked up makes the voices worse, whereas being calm and level-headed about it in a solution-finding capacity can reduce voices.
Something that works very well for me is talking to a real person. You could call a friend, family member or a counsellor (e.g. Lifeline: 131114 – anywhere in Australia), your Case Manager, Support Worker or other support. Or you could simply strike up conversation with someone at a Community Centre or wherever you happen to be. Focus entirely on that person, their needs and how you can help them (if possible). You might think that if you are hearing things it is you who needs help, and that is true, but one way to help yourself is by helping others. This one works really well for me. I recommend giving it a try if you aren’t incredibly shy.
Some people find that the voices are so demanding that they need to set boundaries for the voices. One way of doing this is telling them (in a private place, or if you are in public, you can say it in your mind), “look, I don’t have time for this right now. You can talk to me at 4pm tomorrow. Until then, don’t bother me.” Sometimes they agree and they adhere to the boundaries you set. It’s worth a try.
I do not recommend talking to the voices other than to set boundaries with them. This is just my personal preference, as for me to be any further involved with them (particularly the distressing ones) – it leads to further complications and greater distress on my part (if I haven’t managed to stay calm).
An expert advised me to think of them as back-seat drivers. (In a sense I already did, but not with this analogy). The idea is that you are the driver of the vehicle. The voices are in the backseat. We don’t allow back-seat drivers in the car, so why should you allow back-seat drivers in your head. If they tell you to do something, especially if it is something that could cause harm to another being, do not do it. We are each responsible for our own choices. The voices might nag and nag at you, but your options are to ignore the nagging, or to give in to it – and unfortunately giving in to the nagging comes with at times heavy consequences.
There are so many other techniques out there that can work for hearing voices (or other noises/music etc.) There is an organisation called the Hearing Voices Network. They are worldwide. They have many useful resources, fact sheets and posters. If you are interested in contacting them, you can contact them here (within Australia):
Do you hear voices? Are they distressing? Have you used any of the above techniques? Did they or did they not work for you? What else have you tried that worked? Please let me know in the comment section below. Thank you. 🙂
Have a great day (or night) wherever you are! Goodnight!
9:26pm here in QLD, Australia