Tuesday, 10 May 2016

ASMR is killing my Anxiety / Insomnia! Woohoo!

What in the heck is ASMR? Have you heard of it? It has completely changed my life! OK that sounds super dramatic but it’s definitely changed my sleep and that, in turn, has changed my life. Because I am less tired. So my life is mildly better, but you know that IS a change, technically speaking. 

But what IS it though?  

The pseudo-scientific name itself is an acronym. Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. A phrase coined by Jennifer Allen, who came up with this term after years of discussions in internet forums (because, of course) with fellow experiencers of the "tingles". The best way to describe the feeling is a warm, comforting, tingly sensation...like hairs on your neck standing up or prickles in your hair line.... as a response to seeing but, more often than not, HEARING certain sounds. It's an extremely pleasurable experience.... like a mild euphoria

Another way to describe it is, when you were younger, did you enjoy your parent / friends brushing your hair, or stroking your arm? Wait....now come on.... that's not what I mean. Right so before we go any further, because I sense some alarm bells....this isn't in any way a SEXUAL pleasure. Well, not for me anyway. And arguably not for the most part in the ASMR community...although ...this IS the internet and of COURSE you're gonna find some pervs willing to whip their pants off for a fumble at the drop of a hat. But as a rule, the ASMR community (yes, there is one!) feel quite strongly about the fact that it is a non-sexual pleasure based response. 

The reality though is that it’s a bit of a “made-up” phenomenon. Only in that, there’s yet to be much proper scientific research to investigate why CERTAIN people respond in a CERTAIN way to things known as ASMR triggers. I am affected by some triggers, in a strong way but some people aren't. And I am guessing they are the biggest sceptics. The tingles I experience are ones you tend to feel in your head or a prickly, warm sensation in your skin and DEFINITELY not in your rudey parts! But some people are still sceptical about this too. (E.g. this pheromone-drenched 
scoundrel). 

How did I even happen upon this phenomenon? Originally I'd seen something fleeting in my Facebook feed. I hadn't given it much thought and then I saw a tweet from fellow tingle-aholic Clara:



I was instantly hooked. She sent me a link to her fav/least annoying ASMR video maker, Heather Feather (there's a million gatrillion on YouTube...you have to pick what/who you respond to the best) and I've been addicted every night ever since. She also likes tapping....I can't get with tapping. But it's a fairly subjective experience ....glued together by commonly liked scenarios. My favourites are "personal attention" videos. So someone pretending to give me a facial. (Again, steady on at the back!)  This is something I absolutely love in real life so the idea that I'm having one every night is so, so lovely. I've included a video of my number ASMR maker below.... I find her voice hypnotic and I love that she brushes the screen so the sounds in your ears are like those you'd experience at the time. 
I'll link to another fav with a very triggering video for me at the end of this post and I defy you not to slip into a coma of relaxation afterwards. 


 

There are of course, arguments (especially from those who don't /can't experience the tingles) that this is utter time-wasting nonsense. Well of course, if you get nothing from it, then jog on. But for me and fellow peeps who experience the heebie-jeebies (aka anxiety/panic) this is one of the most soothing ways I've found to ease it. I felt super anxious the other night and within minutes I was calm....just because my mind was completely focused on the relaxing sounds I was listening to. I feel like it works a in a similar way to mindfulness. It keeps you present, in that moment, not thinking about past or future but there and experiencing how you feel right then. This is grade A awesomeness for me. I've never had such a quick/immediate way to deal with the collywobbles. 

But not only that, I am infamous on my social media accounts for moaning about insomnia. Well my nightly addiction to these videos has really helped. I get to sleep much more quickly because I am just so relaxed by the time I switch off. It's been even more beneficial to me than all the sleep / mediation apps I've used in the past. And it means I can't wait to go to bed most nights...often going an hour early just so I can lie there and "tingle". That's not like me at ALL! I'd normally give my right arm before giving in to bedtime!

So had you heard of ASMR? Do you get triggered or do you think it's nonsense? If you are already a pro, let me know your fav vids (links welcome here, Twitter or Facebook). My one and only concern is, chasing the intensity of the tingle! In a similar way to a junkie looking for a bigger hit, I can spend hours starting videos and not "feeling it" and searching through hundreds more just to hit my tingle bone.... can anyone else relate to this? I'll leave you with another tingler for you and await the deluge of response! 






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