A couple of weeks ago I was sat in the quiet waiting room of my son’s Speech Therapy class, waiting for him to finish his session, when another mum sat down and started to read her book. As she was reading, she was gently whispering the words to herself. Between the sound of her whispering and the pages of her book turning, I noticed how relaxed and sleepy it made me feel. I also felt a prickly sensation at the back of my head. The kind of feeling you get when you have goosebumps. It’s not the first time that has happened. In fact, I’ve always been sensitive to certain sounds that have just about knocked me out into a coma of complete satisfaction and relaxation.
The day after when my kids were taking a nap, I Googled “Whispering when reading” because I wanted to feel as relaxed as I did in the waiting room. It then lead me to this video;
I then noticed in the title it said “ASMR” and I was curious to know what that meant, so I then Googled that. This is what I read first;
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a term used for an experience characterised by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine. It has been compared with auditory-tactile synesthesia. ASMR signifies the subjective experience of “low-grade euphoria” characterised by “a combination of positive feelings and a distinct static-like tingling sensation on the skin”. It is most commonly triggered by specific acoustic or visual stimuli, and less commonly by intentional attention control.
I then continued to look it up and what the internet was telling me, made total sense. I then thought of all the other things that have always made me feel relaxed or gives me that tingly feeling at the back of my head and neck, like having my hair cut, people writing with a scratchy pen, typing on a computer, people talking in low toned / relaxed voices, listening to someone flicking through a newspaper, water draining out of the bath / sink and my personal favourite; listening to horses munch on hay! Oh my goodness. But the list goes on, I’m sure.
As YouTube does when you’re watching one video; it recommends similar videos to you, or ones by the same channel and it would be a bit rude to ignore those suggestions right? So off I went, going from video to video, listening to all sorts of new “Triggers” (as they call them) until eventually, I was out cold, sleeping. It was lovely.
Anxiety and How ASMR Helps
I have struggled with Anxiety for quite some time now. I wouldn’t say it’s extreme anymore but anyone who struggles with it, will know that it comes and goes. You could be fine for days, weeks and even months and then suddenly, something will set you off again, and then every day for months on end, you’re a wreck. The other day I started getting pains in my chest, as I could feel the anxiety growing. I didn’t want to speak to anyone, I didn’t want to do anything and I couldn’t cope. It hurt, and I didn’t like it. Then I thought to myself; “Okay, what calms me down quickly?” and it hit me; The ASMR videos on YouTube! Let’s try them and see if they work …. And they did. Within 20 minutes, I was calm, relaxed and I fell asleep. Not that I want to sleep every time I have to watch a video, but being put into that state of relaxation, gets rid of any anxiety boiling inside of me, so I’m going to say that’s amazing.
Here are a couple of my favourite YouTube Channels that I go to when I want to have a nice little ASMR session. I have more to discover because I’m new to it all but my absolute favourites are;
All of these ladies have super soft, lovely, calm voices (with slight accents which makes it better) and are gentle with their sounds. You’ll see on their channels that they do some role-playing which is basically a video where they are giving you personal attention. It may seem a little odd and awkward at first. You’re probably wondering why a grown woman would be watching that or why grown women (and men) are doing role-play videos on YouTube. I felt that too at first but I went with it and they soon had me in a zZzZz. Some examples of role-play videos are: Haircuts (sounds with scissors and water), Receptionists (typing on keyboards and phones), hand massages, head massages, reading books (turning pages and running hands over the book) and there are many other slumber inducing videos up there.
I highly recommend watching some of them if you are one of those people who feels tingly to the back of the head over certain sounds. It doesn’t just help for anxiety. Benefits also include:
- Reducing stress level
- Improved blood flow
- Improved digestion
- Improving mood
- Helping with sleep problems possibly?
They are just wonderful. I’m happy that I did some research on it. I’d honestly never heard about it before. It’s as if it were a secret club for a small group of people, but it’s not a small group. Millions and millions of people are subscribed to ASMR channels and view their videos daily, so it’s kind of a common thing that either nobody I personally know has caught onto or really understood, or I’ve just not been paying attention.
Here are some of my favourite videos if you’d like to check them out. If you’re not into role-play (which I tend to not be), there are plenty of other videos out there just discovering sounds and “triggers”. Enjoy. Relax. Tingle away and sleep!
Thank you for reading.