ASMR: TAPPING TO RELAX
I don't know about you, but I have found more and more the creation of YouTube to be revolutionary. The way it has helped democratise the world of entertainment by providing a platform to absolutely anyone and then letting the public decide which voices to elevate, by subscribing or giving videos the thumbs up. It has launched a whole new generation of personalities and forms of entertainment, whose broadcasting would have been formerly dependent on the appetites of a small proportion of privileged TV producers.
I personally have found the new genre of videogame playthroughs, with engaging and intelligent commentary, to be one of my favourite manifestations of this new platform. Watching the ones with relaxing voices playing some sort of stylistic, ethereal videogame, has become my nightly routine as they lull me into a dreamlike state of deep and secure slumber.
One of the other phenomenons that has been born from YouTube is ASMR videos. This stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. I initially became aware of this concept from a YouTuber who was playing a series of 'relaxing' videogames and she made reference to ASMR whenever there were gentle and delicate clinking or wood tapping sounds during the game.
Intrigued, I did a search and came across a whole community of YouTubers posting these ASMR videos. They are known as ASMRtists, usually women, head and shoulders, facing the camera, using inanimate objects to make gentle, delicate sounds, sometimes with finely manicured nails, that can cause a deeply relaxing, tingly sensation in the viewer. Sometimes the ASMRtist will simply be whispering, or making incomprehensible lip noises. The variations of sounds are broad.
The first ever video considered to be ASMR was actually an American girl, only showing half her face, posting a video of her whispering to the camera, saying how realxing she finds people whispering to be, and wanted to share it. This then generated a whole genre of other videos of 'relaxing' sounds that consist of people ironing, flipping pages of a book, combing hair, typing gently on a keyboard or role-playing a loving person tucking you into bed.
When I first watched these videos, I was just giggling, thinking how ridiculous it was. I myself do not get the tingles from the sounds unfortunately, not everyone does, but I still watched, mesmerised by something I had never seen before, that unashamedly promoted positivity and kindness.
The University of Sheffield was the first to conduct research into ASMR and discovered physiological impact of the videos that benefits both mental and physical health. Those who experience the tingles were seen to have significantly lower heart rates than those who do not.
In a world where the mainstream media is dominated by high-energy, over-stimulating and oftentimes aggressive imagery and messaging, I feel that the absence of calm, centred and more introspective and compassionate entertainment is really alienating to a large proportion of society, particularly the more introverted and sensitive types. YouTube has provided a space for these types of people in things like ASMR. At first, people mock it, because it is something they have not seen before; it is unusual and initially confusing. But the community is growing bigger and gaining more credibility. Some of the most popular ASMRtists are expanding their work beyond YouTube by putting on live shows in theatre spaces and are starting to be promoted in the mainstream media. As someone who really appreciates anything that provides creative and therapeutic wellbeing methods, I am excited to watch how the movement evolves and how it might impact on raising the consciousness of society. It certainly provides a welcome alternative to a mainstream media saturated with hyperactive and somewhat negative energy.
I find that during coaching sessions, I am very much wanting to provide a similar space of calm, centred energy, providing 100% attention to clients unconditionally. I want it to be a safe space where the client feels at ease to express themselves freely and have the courage to explore creative ideas uninhibited, with the aim of raising their consciousness, empowering themselves and fulfilling their potential.
As a coach, this is a skill that I love to practice and I hope you will join me sometime.
If you are equally intrigued by ASMR, then check out one of the most popular ASMRtists here and let me know if you get the tingles!
Take care for now.
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