Why I’m Passionate About ASMR to Relax & Soothe Anxiety

This is how I can often be found – earbuds in ears.  But I’m not usually listening to music – it’s typically ASMR videos on YouTube to which I am happily listening.  If you would have asked me what ASMR was a year ago, I would not have had a clue.  Now, it is a daily part of my life.  Once I discovered what ASMR is, there was no turning back.

ASMR – which is short for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response –  is typically described as a “phenomenon characterized as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation in the head, scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, or cognitive stimuli” (from the ASMR Wikipedia page here).  Or, in my own words, ASMR for me is feeling tingly sensations in my head, and often, over my entire body, that are triggered by things like soft speaking, finger tapping, soft crinkly noises, and occasionally, even watching slow hand movements.  Though the topic is often brought up, for myself and many, many others, ASMR is not sexual in nature at all.  For me, ASMR is a tool to bring deep relaxation, to soothe anxiety, and help with insomnia.  I have used ASMR videos for all three of those things with fantastic results.

One of the easiest ways to describe ASMR to someone who is unfamiliar with it is to think about being at the hair salon.  Do you enjoy the way it feels when someone gently shampoos you hair?  Do you like the feeling of your hair being softly brushed?  Do certain types of touch or sounds give you pleasant feelings or goosebumps?  This is ASMR.  Not everyone experiences ASMR, but for those who do, it is a wonderful discovery.  This is one of the first videos I watched to learn more about ASMR.

For me, ASMR is another form of meditation.  I often enjoy listening to ASMR at work if I’m doing certain tasks, to help me relax. This is an example of a video I would listen to at the office.  If I’m having a bout of anxiety, certain ASMR videos are excellent for helping to calm me – like this one.  And if I’m having trouble falling asleep, I love listening to videos like this.

I can understand how this all seems pretty odd and unorthodox – sure, it is – but it works wonders for me, and for that, I am happy to spread the word.  I am an anxious person by nature.  I very often have an overactive imagination, deal with insomnia at times, and get anxiety.  People that deal with these things will probably agree that you often look for ways to help deal with these issues.  When you find something that helps, you hold on to it!

Often, there are people who do not experience the tingly sensations, but enjoy listening to ASMR purely to relax.  I think that’s great, too.  It’s not for everyone, but for those that it works for, it is truly a gift.

There is not really any scientific research or data to substantiate ASMR (not yet, anyway) – but that’s OK.  I reap the benefits with less stress, more relaxation, and another way to ease anxiety.  And it’s free!

This is a list of some of my favorite ASMR artists in no particular order, with links to their YouTube pages.  This is not an exhaustive list – I’m always discovering new artists that I like – there are quite a few.  As with anything, some ASMR artists are phenomenal, and some are just OK – you have to find what clicks for you.

Gentle Whispering (she is definitely one of the greats)

Olivia’s Kissper ASMR

Brittany ASMR

AccidentallyGraceful ASMR

Chocolat ASMR

ALBinWhisperland

Fairy Char ASMR

ASMR Massage Psychetruth

DonnaASMR

ASMR Angel

Do you have any experience with these sensations?  Have you ever watched ASMR videos for relaxation?

 

10 Natural Solutions To Ease Anxiety & Stress

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This is a time of year when a lot of people deal with stress and anxiety.  The holidays are upon us and many people are trying to make preparations and coordinate schedules.  Others of us might deal with anxiety at different times throughout the year.  These are some all natural tools I personally use to help manage my anxiety.

Essential Oils & Flower Essences– There are so many essential oils and many of them help to ease  anxiety and stress.  Sometimes when I am very anxious, I also get nauseous.  I like to smell peppermint oil when I feel this way, or dab a bit under my nose. Lavender is also a fantastic essential oil for inducing calm.  I also love Lotus Wei’s Infinite Love Mist and their Inner Peace Mist to help me feel more mellow and happy. Balanced Guru’s Full of Love Mist is nice, too.

Bach’s Rescue PastillesThese chewy pastilles are a candy-esque form of their famous liquid Rescue Remedy.  I like to let these slightly sweet gummies slowly dissolve in my mouth when I am feeling tense or stressed.

Lotus Wei Inner Peace Elixir – This elixir is one of my favorite ways to help relieve anxiety.  I put five drops under my tongue and close my eyes, letting the elixir help soothe and calm me.

Self-Help/Spiritual Magazines & Books – I always feel better when I read a positive article or self-help book that puts things in perspective for my over-active mind.  One magazine I recommend is Spirituality & Health.

Herbal Tea – Herbal teas are another fantastic way to help calm down when you are feeling stressed.  My favorites lately have been chamomile, peppermint, and Traditional Medicinals Easy Now tea.

Journal – Sometimes we have thoughts that need to be put down on paper.  Usually, though, I like to re-read uplifting quotes when I feel a bit anxious and worried.  I keep my little red journal full of positive quotes, affirmations, and reminders to myself to not stress.

Sound Healing & Music – Calm music really resonates with me when I am anxious.  I love to hear soothing sounds.  I love listening to the Ambient Music and Zen stations on Pandora. Another excellent and free resource that I often use is YouTube, which has some great quality sound healing videos.  This is a very nice sound healing video.

Staying Busy – Often when we are stressed or upset, we focus on our perceived problem, which doesn’t help.  While focusing on the problem for a few minutes can sometimes help alleviate the nagging worry, I don’t like to obsess for an hour over something.  If I feel that happening, I work on a project, or do a mundane task like laundry or vacuuming.  It really takes helps take my mind from my worries and re-directs my thoughts.

Laughter – It’s true that often laughter is the best medicine.  I always feel better when I watch something that makes me laugh.  Whether it’s a favorite vlogger on YouTube, a comedian, or a sitcom, I love silly, lighthearted laughter when I’m feeling down or anxious.

It’s also important to tune in to your particular personality.  Whereas introverts need time to themselves to re-charge and calm, extroverts generally desire to interact with others.  Depending upon your personality, one of these solutions can help as well.

What natural solutions do you use to help ease your anxiety and stress? Let me know!

 

Dealing With a Beast Called Anxiety

anxietybeastAnxiety is a monster that is created in the mind of an individual, only able to hurt and torture that individual, fed by the individual, and can only be stopped by the individual.

Anxiety is a horror that I have tried to flee from via sleep, loud music, or staying busy.  I wouldn’t wish anxiety on anyone.  No one.

The definition of anxiety is basically a feeling of intense worry and nervousness about something that might happen in the future or something with an uncertain outcome.  For me, anxiety can also lead to panic attacks and hyperventilating. I’ve also lost unhealthy amounts of weight in a short amount of time due to acute anxiety.  It’s a terrible way to lose weight – trust me.  It’s a fear – a fear of the unknown, a fear of “what will happen?”  And it’s scary.  It can be downright debilitating.

Unfortunately, I’ve dealt with anxiety since I was in junior high school.  It comes and goes, sometimes it comes for a few days or weeks and leaves again, sometimes it stays away for a month or two or more.  But the question has never been, “Will I have anxiety again?” but “When will I have anxiety again?”  I don’t focus on it but I have accepted that it will happen – and oddly enough, accepting the inevitability of it actually makes it somewhat easier, because knowing it will happen helps me focus on it less.

For me, acute anxiety is an episode that is so intense that I can function on a basic level, but not enough to work or be a good parent. There are a few ways I’ve learned to deal with acute anxiety.  

In the past, I have had to use prescription medications to help ease my anxiety, and they truly were needed.  I am not currently on any medications, but if my anxiety ever got to the point where I couldn’t function for a longer period of time, I wouldn’t hesitate to get the help I needed.   I also had helpful counseling and therapy during my most intense period of depression and anxiety (this period was when I was in the middle of a divorce and had lost my home and my car). This is obviously an area where talking to a doctor is best to determine the needs of an individual.

With an isolated episode of anxiety, the number one thing for me is time.  It takes time for the episode to pass.  Sometimes an hour, sometimes several hours.  Accepting that it takes time helps me to feel less frustrated.

The second thing is surrounding myself with peace and quiet.  I’ve found that the less noise there is, the better I can deal with anxiety. I also enjoy listening to meditations or calm instrumental music.

The third thing is realizing the impermanence of life.  And this is a big one.  Basically, I remind myself that everything changes, nothing ever stays the same.  By reminding myself of this, I know that whatever it is that is causing my anxiety will not last forever.  Situations are always changing, and I’m always growing.  So…either the situation causing the anxiety will eventually change, or I will eventually change and grow to better accept it.  One of these two outcomes is inevitable.  And that gives me hope and strength in difficult times.

Lastly, I gently remind myself, “It is OK – I will be OK.”  I’ve been working on being more emotionally self-reliant and telling myself it’s OK as opposed to needing someone else to tell me.  I have lived this life many years, and life hasn’t broken me yet.  These are the things I do to help myself through anxiety.

If you have ever dealt with anxiety, what coping strategies help you the most?