The latest YouTube trend benefits mental health? We’re listening.

Abigail McGrath 01/31/19 - 3:56 pm

ASMR and mental health

Imagine this: you pull up YouTube, head to the ‘Trending’ section and find that nearly every video features the acronym ASMR.

ASM-what? you wonder.

This odd sounding phrase is about exactly that – sounds. ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. And the 13 million ASMR videos on YouTube today feature high-quality sounds of people doing things like tapping objects, cutting paper, whispering, folding towels and even chewing foods that make interesting sounds.

ASMR has taken the internet by storm. But more importantly, it’s become a healing and coping tool for individuals suffering from stress or mental illness.

There’s science behind it.

According to a study from the University of Sheffield’s department of psychology, ASMR creates “tingling sensations in the crown of the head, in response to a range of audio-visual triggers such as whispering, tapping, and hand movements.” This tingling can be likened to the goosebumps or “chills” you feel when you hear a moving song or inspirational speech.

Subscribers keep coming back because the tingling sensations reportedly relieve stress, anxiety and insomnia. Many users turn on ASMR videos to fall asleep, destress from the day or simply get a mental pick-me-up.

There’s a community around it.

As ASMR increases in popularity, so too does its community. Many enthusiasts report a sense of belonging, peace and comfort knowing there are others who understand them, creating content just for them. In this way, ASMR has started to transcende YouTube’s video platform and become a movement based on social connectedness.

There’s more to come in the future.

The videos won’t stop coming, and neither will the research. Despite its popularity, the scientific community is only just beginning to recognize ASMR as a worthy field of study. There’s much to learn. There are many questions to answer. But at the rate it’s growing, it sounds like we’ll have those answers soon.

Until then, we’ll be watching (and listening).

Looking for more health and wellness trends for 2019? Look here.

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