ASMR: Said To Help With Mental Health, But Do Experts Agree?

Author Article
By Kaila Lafferty

ASMR stands for, “autonomous sensory meridian response.”

It’s a relaxing, often sedative feeling, and some say they get a tingling sensation on their scalp and neck.

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Kaila Lafferty@KATVKaila

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Thousands of videos are being posted online, meant to trigger this feeling.

According to Google, the parent company of YouTube, the term ASMR was not coined until 2010. With such a new idea, experts are now exploring the concept of ASMR, and what it means for mental health.

Tapping, scratching, whispering, eating, these are all said to trigger the feeling of ASMR.

According to Google, the parent company of YouTube, the term ASMR was not coined until 2010. With such a new idea, experts are now exploring the concept of ASMR, and what it means for mental health. (KATV Photo)

“It has helped me tremendously, and it has helped thousands, millions of other people,” explained Shelby Osbourn, a graphic design student at the University of Arkansas. “At first, I thought it was really weird, and then I sat there for six hours watching it. I was so relaxed, I’ve never felt that chill in my life,” she said.

Osbourn has watched ASMR videos for a couple of years, and it has become an everyday ritual. “I started watching it for my anxiety, and then it slowly became something that I watch every night to sleep,” she said.

About a year ago, Osbourne decided to start her own channel, “I just set up my camera one day, bought a mic on Amazon, and just started recording myself. And nobody really watched for a few months. I made content that I would watch, and it has just turned into something that people enjoy,” she said.

Shelley Osbourn has watched ASMR videos for a couple of years, and it has become an everyday ritual. (KATV Photo)

She runs a page called “She Whispers” on YouTube.com. With over 10,000 subscribers, her following is growing and so are the number of views on her videos. “I think my favorite part is just being able to connect with people, if they comment on something. That’s the coolest part for me, less the numbers more like connection,” Osbourn explained.

{p}Shelby Osbourn runs a page called “She Whispers” on YouTube.com. (KATV Photo){br}{/p}

She uploads once a week to her channel and every week of the month is a different style video. She does true crime ASMR, tapping and scratching, videos where she reads and ones where she opens up about her life. “People enjoy more whenever it’s just me sitting there talking and like eating, and I get to just be myself and people enjoy it, that’s pretty cool,” she said.

ASMR YouTubers are known as “ASMRtists.” Whether they are making videos whispering into a sensitive microphone, tapping on objects or just asking about their lives, experts are starting to notice the positive impacts the videos have on mental health.

“Certain noises, the quieter they are, the more I’m even talking to you and I’m lowering my voice, it calms us. It has a calming effect on us as a cellular being,” explained Dr. Elisabeth Ruggerio-Wallace, a psychotherapist, in Benton.

Dr. Elisabeth Ruggerio-Wallace, a psychotherapist, in Benton said the concept of ASMR is so new, they are not sure how to explain the videos’ popularity. (KATV Photo)

She said the concept of ASMR is so new, they are not sure how to explain the videos’ popularity. “There is no definitive research, or no definitive answers,” she said.

But she added, from a therapeutic standpoint, the videos cause the viewer to slow down, “We spend a whole bunch of time going as fast as we can, not thinking about what we’re saying or how we’re feeling. So, videos like what you’re researching make us slow down.” Dr. Ruggerio-Wallace explained, the part of the brain that houses emotions is triggered by certain sounds, which can release endorphins, “In the core center part of our brains, we store emotions and memories, having our hair brushed, is connected to us in certain ways. Like it probably feels good. That sound means something good,” she said.

Sounds give us either a positive or negative emotional response, and that is what ASMR is tapping into. “I think of it as, the antithesis effect of nails on a chalkboard,” she said.

And for Osbourn, it’s all about connecting to others. “The intimacy of it, I think a lot of people are just like looking for a connection, and because you’re whispering and because you’re giving somebody that attention that’s what people are drawn to.”

Sounds give us either a positive or negative emotional response, and that is what ASMR is tapping into. (KATV Photo)

A study done by Google, the parent company of YouTube states, ASMR videos are mostly watched by people between the ages of 18 and 24. Osbourn has noticed this trend and thinks there’s a correlation with mental health. “Our generation is more open to talking about mental health, we are so much more aware of ‘I’m struggling mentally, and I need help, and I’m going to find the help that I need,’ than any other generation, in my opinion,” she said.

In an era where social media fails to provide its users with a feeling of personal connection, ASMR steps in to bridge the gap. “The number one thing that we need as human beings an attachment. That’s what it’s all about. We want to attach, we don’t want to feel alone or isolated. Our body does that for us. So, when we feel good, we feel close, and we feel attached. So that’s what the videos are tapping into on some level,” she explained.

YouTube declined an interview for this story, but they provided statistics. They said ASMR videos are becoming more popular. From 2017 to 2018, uploads of ASMR videos increased more than 150 percent, and views of ASMR videos increased over 140 percent.

52 Critical Questions To Ask Yourself To Ensure That You’re Living A Mindful & Meaningful Life

PsychCentral Article Here

Questions To Ask Yourself For Every Week Of The Year:

  1. What is standing between you and your biggest goal?
  2. What do you get distracted by that keeps you from effectively engaging and connecting with others?
  3. What or who could you pay more attention to in life?
  4. What thoughts or ideas do you attach to (your rules, script about people and things) that keep you from growing and making further progress?
  5. How often do you make excuses about things? About what in particular?
  6. Where do you want to be in five years from now? What may get in the way? What are you willing to do about it?
  7. What is one change you need to make in your life this year?
  8. What meaningful thing(s) did you learn about yourself this year?
  9. What was the best day of your life? Why? How can you replicate those meaningful moment(s)?
  10. If your life was a movie, what would the title be? What would you want it to be?
  11. What life lessons do you wish you knew 10 years ago? What got you to the place of learning those life lessons?
  12. What is the biggest dream in life? Did you achieve it? Hope to achieve it? What will help get you there?
  13. What is your biggest fear? Why? Are your actions guided by this fear? Does it get in the way of doing what I want to be doing? In what way?
  14. What are some personal characteristics or qualities that you’re not proud or fond of? What helped to create them (e.g., family genetics, family role modeling, experience, etc.)? What are those you need to accept and what are those you could work to change? Are you engaging in this process?
  15. Do you think that you’re enough and are worthy of love and affection? If not, what gets in the way of this?
  16. Do you quickly get defensive and have a hard time facing yourself or confronting your mistakes or imperfections? About what? Why do you think so? What is its impact?
  17. Do you quickly get defended or cut off to avoid uncomfortable/negative thoughts or emotions? Which emotions? Why do you think you do this? What is its impact?
  18. If you had one year to live, what would you try to achieve?
  19. If you have one month left to live, what would you try to achieve?
  20. What would you say about you at your funeral? What would others say about you? What would you want to be said?
  21. What is your ideal self? What does it mean to be your best self?
  22. Look at your life now. Are you living the life of your dreams? What’s getting in the way? What can you do to change it?
  23. What advice would you give to yourself 3 years ago?
  24. Is there anything you are avoiding/running away from? Why?
  25. Are you settling for less than what you are worth? In what arena of your life? Why?
  26. What bad habits do you want to break? What’s keeping you from breaking them? How will you go about working on them?
  27. What good habits do you want to cultivate?
  28. How can you make your life more meaningful, starting today?
  29. What qualities do you want to embody?
  30. Who is/are the most important person(s) to you in the world? Why are they most important?
  31. When was the last time you told yourself that you love and appreciate yourself? Do you feel comfortable doing so? Why?
  32. Do you treat yourself with the love and respect you truly deserve? What gets in the way?
  33. What is one thing you could start doing today to improve the quality of your life?
  34. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? What?
  35. Is there someone who has hurt, angered, or rejected you that you need and want to forgive?
  36. What parts of your life doesn’t reflect who you are? How can you improve that?
  37. Do you find yourself feeling lonely at times? What’s making you feel this way?
  38. Where are you not being honest with yourself and why?
  39. Are you comfortable with being uncomfortable? How does this impact you?
  40. Do you enjoy your own company? If not, Why?
  41. What do you want to be remembered for?
  42. What are you most thankful for?
  43. When did you last push the boundaries of your comfort zone? Do you avoid doing this? When? Why?
  44. Who has had the greatest impact on your life? Why? In what way?
  45. Who do you want to get closer to? How will you pursue this relationship?
  46. What can you improve about the way you communicate to others? How would you go about doing this?
  47. What emotion do you often tap into and is most familiar to you (e.g., worry, anger, frustration, etc.)? If you were to look more in depth and beneath that feeling, what might you find (e.g., sadness, disappointment, etc.)? Are you willing to go there? Why or why not?
  48. What was the most challenging circumstance that you had to experience, that profoundly impacted and changed your life? In what way did it affect you? What did you learn from it?
  49. What is the one rule that you hope or wished for that everyone lived by in order to live a more meaningful life? What are you doing to change or reconstruct this rule in your life or in society in general?
  50. What regret do you have that you wish you can change? Have you learned from it going forward? What have you learned?
  51. Are there times like you feel like giving up? What leads you to that state? What helps you out of your rut?
  52. What’s your strengths and best qualities? What contributed to the formation of it? How could you continue fostering them?