How sounds can help bust your stress
There is a certain beauty in sound. We know this when we watch YouTube videos of deaf babies hearing their mother's voice for the first time, or listen to the sound of thunder and rainstorms so we can sleep better at night.
Some sounds are just plain pleasurable to hear, so much so that they make a shiver run down your spine. Things like a gentle whisper in your ear, or the satisfying pop pop pop of bubble wrap. Most of the time we can't explain what draws us to these sounds, but nevertheless that powerful feeling is there.
ASMR is centered on those feelings, and those who are good at invoking sounds that make us shiver with pleasure have garnered huge followings on YouTube. If you haven't heard of this trend, you may want to check it out.
ASMR in a nutshell
ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. That's the name of the tingling feeling you get when you hear a sound that triggers you. Not everyone experiences these feelings, and for those who don't it can be incredibly difficult to understand what it feels like. For those who are able to experience ASMR however, it can be a powerful way to help you relax and fight sleep problems such as insomnia, or mental disorders such as anxiety.
Most ASMR segments are long—over an hour—so they are long enough for you to fall asleep to the soft gentle sounds.
Because ASMR is so new, almost no research has been done on it. The first scientific data available on ASMR came out in 2018, where scientists took a look at what is actually happening in the brain while someone listens to ASMR.
While more research needs to be done, the study found that ASMR lights up the same areas of the brain associated with soothing social behaviors, such as gentle touching or sitting close to a person you enjoy being around.
How to experience it for yourself
ASMR is free and widely available on YouTube. All you need to do is spend a few minutes exploring YouTube and listening to different types of ASMR to see what works best for you. You may want to listen to them on your phone using a headset, because some ASMR is specially designed to play in one ear and then another.
If you're not sure where to start, think back to some of the pleasurable sounds you've heard before. Many people talk about how soothing Bob Ross when he invites you to paint along with him on Joy of Painting. His voice is largely considered a form of ASMR.
Other types could include haircuts or tapping sounds. It may take some experimentation, but if you're suseptible to ASMR you'll quickly find a type that works for you.
Once you find something, listen to it when you are ready to relax, destress, or maybe fall asleep. The gentle soft sounds could be your ticket to a good night's rest, and a welcome escape from the stresses of the world.