Have you ever happened upon a Facebook/Instagram/”Name Your Social Media Guilty Pleasure” video of someone getting their long, glossy, blond locks styled in luxurious up-do’s and found yourself transfixed, watching a hairdresser create five fabulous designs even though you’re seventy years young and have two-inch-short gray hair? Or have you watched, from beginning to end, a young Asian woman tie a neck scarf twenty different ways even though you haven’t worn a scarf in forty years?
Or what about that glorious video I found on Facebook entitled “Gift Wrapping So Satisfying”? I’ve learned that it’s satisfying because it’s fun and calming to watch the mesmerizing video, not because I ever wrap gifts (I always use those clever little gift bags instead.). Or another Facebook post and video that I repeatedly watched in November, “How to Host a Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner,” knowing full well that I’ve NEVER hosted any Thanksgiving dinner, let alone a vegan one.
What about the videos where repeated sound is the main ingredient? People actually choose to listen to others whispering or eating, sucking on ice cubes, and the sounds of a brush on the microphone.
What Is ASMR?
If you’ve ever enjoyed just watching or listening to one of these videos, you may have experienced the benefits of autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR).
These are all examples of ASMR triggers and can be described as sights and sounds that produce very calming moments in our lives.
ASMR is defined simply as a “calming, pleasurable feeling often accompanied by a tingling sensation.” It occurs in response to certain stimuli and has been referred to as a brain tingle or head orgasm. A feeling like daydreaming is part of ASMR.
The main purpose of ASMR is to relax people. Like meditation and mindfulness, ASMR can improve mood and may even provide temporary relief from pain or depression.
The visual and audio stimuli that trigger ASMR vary from person to person, but some of the common audio ones include whispers, white noise, lip smacking, tapping on hard surfaces, brushing sounds and even the sound of someone eating. Check out a well-known YouTube ASMR personality demonstrating popular audio triggers in this video.
Some of the visual ones include, in addition to the ones I’ve listed above, “Dirty Keyboard Cleaning” as seen here and Bob Ross’ painting videos. Ross’s trademark calm teaching style and soothing voice made him a celebrity within the ASMR community. There are many ASMR triggers within his work, from his presence on camera to the brush and scraping sounds of his tools. Check it out for yourself here.
Does This Sound Like Something You Might Enjoy?
While ASMR is a real thing, there aren’t a lot of scientific studies or data on the nature of this phenomenon. If you haven’t looked into ASMR as a form of daydreaming or relaxation already, are you curious enough to check it out?
Come on! Who wouldn’t rather get caught up in ASMR activities rather than politics and natural disasters and bad behavior disasters? And, if ASMR can be another tool for relaxing and experiencing greater calm in this world, I’m all for it!
Check out YouTube for more of both visual and audio ASMR triggers. See more about ASMR on Great Big Story here.
Let me know what you think!