Thursday, February 20, 2014

Relaxing Distractions

Okay... here comes a post about something weird, but I feel like talking about it because it's something I actually think about a lot. Also, I don't care if it's weird! So here we go: ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

I first learned about this from this post on The Hairpin. It's going to sound really weird when you first look into it, if you don't know what it is already. It did to me too a little bit at first, but reading through that Hairpin article, I realized I'd experienced it before, I just didn't have a name for it. I used to watch these makeup tutorial videos on youtube by Masquerade Makeup and be just weirdly mesmerized by them... I did like seeing the makeup techniques, but I found myself drawn to the lilt of her voice - it was just so soothing to me. (She never posts anything anymore, it's so sad. I assume it's because she got a real makeup artist job, or something equally awesome for her.)

ASMR is hard to describe. The reddit dedicated to it calls it "sounds that feel good," which I think is pretty accurate. I experience it in a couple of ways - the scalp tingles are the best, but they aren't non-stop. The rest of the time it's just a very calming, soothing, often sleep-inducing effect, just this relaxing feeling. I usually watch them before bed because otherwise I find myself napping at inconvenient times. (I used to watch them at work. Not the greatest idea.) I do like to use ASMR to take my mind off of other stressful situations in my life.

So far there isn't any real scientific research about ASMR, so I think a lot of people who don't experience it think it's made up. That just makes me sorry that they don't get to experience it. Because it's really nice! My recommendation for experiencing it while watching one of the youtube videos is to focus on literally nothing else - just the sounds and any movements that are interesting to you. Sometimes I do put a video on in the background while I'm doing other things, but just as background noise to help me focus. I really only get the tingly stuff when I'm really paying attention. That's just me, though, and I'm sure for everybody it's different.

Anyway, I'm writing this post about ASMR because I think it's a really interesting phenomenon and I would like to share my favorite ASMR videos. There are a lot of different triggers for ASMR - whispering, tapping sounds, crinkling sounds, nature sounds, various role play situations... it's endless, really. So here are a few of the videos I enjoy, just as a sort of introduction to the community and what's out there. Going to view these videos on youtube will give you countless suggestions on other types of videos available out there - that's how I found almost all of these people.

Adventures of Alice in Wonderland ASMR by Maria at GentleWhispering. Maria is definitely my favorite ASMR person on youtube, I don't know if this is because she was the one interviewed for that Hairpin article and therefore the first ASMR video I ever watched was by her, but I love pretty much every video she does. Her voice is perfect for ASMR and I love how passionate she is about making these kinds of videos for people.

Head Massage part looped three times by Ardra Neala. I LOVE head massage videos like this and this is one of my favorite ones I've found.

ASMR Brushing: Face, Camera, and Binaural Mic by VeniVidiVulpes. I really love the whole brushing thing for some reason, particularly when the mic gets brushed. This is a great example of that trigger.

Binaural Spa Facial and Head Massage by Ally at ASMRequests. I love Ally so much. She puts so much into the videos she makes (with some seriously high production quality - see the first two episodes of her Departure series for evidence of this). This is one of her many different role play videos that I enjoy, but definitely check out her channel for tons more ASMR options.

I could keep going, but I think four is enough. If you are interested in learning more about this definitely go explore on youtube, there is a lot to discover.

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