Friday, 13 November 2015

One Simple Way to Bring Peace to a Chaotic Mind


Before I start, I just want to make it clear that this is not a sponsored post or anything. I've just quite genuinely discovered something which has changed my life and I'm pretty much just FREAKIN OUT about it. Okay, let's begin.

I think perhaps a lot of my stress, anxieties and mental health blips come from the one simple fact that - try as I might - I can never shut up my brain.


When I was younger, I used to actually enjoy working crappy part time jobs in restaurants and cafes, because the mundane repetitive tasks seemed to occupy the surface level of my brain enough, so that the rest of me could get a rest. While a quarter of my brain was distracted, I found it a lot easier to formulate ideas and think with clarity. Hell, some of my best blog posts have stemmed from scrubbing coffee stains from tables. 

In the past year or so I've discovered podcasts, which I have grown to adore, and are perfect to listen to when you have the opportunity to just sit and listen - ideal for the morning commute. But the problem is... they're just too amazing. The likes of TED Radio hour, Reply All and This American Life are so fascinating and inspiring, my mind just ramps up to a hundred miles an hour with ideas and epiphanies. 

I've attempted meditation, but truthfully, I cannot sit and concentrate without my internal voice endlessly nattering away like Kelly Kapoor over my shoulder

In one of my first ever blog posts on here, I wrote:


"I've come to the conclusion that every action carried out by my body, is accompanied by a ceaseless babble that travels ten times as fast, by my mind.

My whole life seems to be amplified, annotated and narrated by this persistent interior monologue, which I myself only become aware of on rare occasions, like leaving the radio quietly playing in the background, only to later realise it's actually been chattering away all day."


Most of the time I feel very grateful to have an ever-buzzing mind like this. But at the same time, it's goddamn exhausting.

Until the moment I discovered ASMR. And holy shit has it changed my life.

ASMR stands for 'Autonomous sensory meridian response' which is something you pretty much don't need to know, but I stumbled upon it in this article from The Guardian and I was intrigued. I've always been susceptible to getting goosebumps from intense cinematic pieces of music, but this article suggested that certain types of sounds and effects can produce intense physiological reactions in the body, as though your brain physically tingles.

At first, I didn't really get it. I listened to the soundcloud link in the article and found it pretty strange. But I was curious, so I looked into it a little more and discovered an entire dedicated youtube community and subreddit on ASMR. I stuck with it, and sat on the train on the way home, instead of listening to podcasts, I decided to listen to some of the most viewed ASMR videos online. 

I have been legitimately and blissfully hooked ever since.

The sounds are a combination of soft whispering, clicking, tapping, crinkling and brushing, and the closest thing I can explain what it does to me, is a sense of pure relief. 

You know when it's absolutely pouring down and you're trapped outside, battling to get home and you're soaked and freezing cold, then you finally get home, peel off your wet clothes and slip into a piping hot bath?

That.

When you're totally exhausted after debating passionately with someone, working really hard all day, or trekking all the way across a city and back on foot, and your body is ringing out with fatigue, then you're finally done for the day and you sink into a bed of pure comfort you could cry?

Thaaaaaaaaaaaat.

When I close my eyes and listen to these sounds, I feel this hum of contentment, like just before you fall asleep at night, or when someone plays with your hair, and sometimes I even genuinely get tingles dancing down the back of my neck and blossoming out behind my collarbones.

It's magic. 

Without sounding melodramatic, the change in my everyday life is staggering. I listen to ASMR videos around twice a day, and the sensation is purely meditative. I feel so much more balanced, rational and calm, and now have such clarity in what I think and feel. Never in my life have I felt at peace with my own hyperactive and fickle mind, and suddenly I have stumbled upon the secret lullaby to hush it into peace.

And now I pretty much just want to shout about it from the rooftops. 

But I told so many friends, and none of them seemed to 'get it'. I couldn't fathom how it didn't have the same affect on them as it did on me, until one suggested that perhaps it works so effectively on me because it was as soothingly minimal as it was the perfect distraction. 

For a mind that is a whirlwind, ASMR is the eye of the storm.

And so below, I'm going to list a playlist of my favourite ASMR videos, and before bed tonight, or perhaps when you close your eyes and rest your head against the window on the train home, breathe deeply, put your headphones in, pop on one of these with an open mind, and listen to what peace sounds like within your body.

Because that's what I have begun to do, and let me tell you, it's bloody GREAT.







34 comments :

  1. Aw man this is so sweet. I'm super happy for you! I've never properly gotten into ASMR but I do feel a gentle appreciation for it and all its calm. I get those tingles and goosebumps from a few things IRL but I haven't quite from ASMR vids. I might investigate a little more.

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    1. Thanks girl, it's so relaxing to me! x

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  2. I love how passionate you are! Definitely going to give this a try. I need more zen in my life!

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  3. YESSSS ASMR is the best!!!! I'm so glad it's becoming more "mainstream." I've been using it to help me relax for years now, and it was one of those things you just never really mentioned to anyone because it's sort of weird and unknown and they'll think you're a bit strange; It's so good that it's not regarded as such a strange thing anymore. And I'm so happy you've found something that helps you key down! It's the nicest feeling. xx

    ♡ Alyssa — fragments of memories

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    1. yessss! I'm so surprised so many people know about it but I'm really glad haha x

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  4. I love this. Words can not express how much I love this. I am happy that you have found something that gives you peace and contentment. X

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  5. Great post. Like many of us who experience this amazing sensory response, we all think it is special to us and us alone. Once you discover thousands others just like you it's a great feeling. So glad you found it and it has helped destress you as well. I checked out your playlist and I have to say you have great taste! My girlfriend is Maria from Gentlewhispering and we have been lucky enough to work with and meet both Ally and Heather. Both are amazing women and so talented. Hope you continue to watch, listen and spread the word!

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    1. That's so cool, I'm glad you found this post and commented, thank you! x

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  6. Great post (as per usual!). Definitely going to have to give this a try - always willing to try new meditation like things! x

    www.beckieeschle.com

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    1. it's helped me so much, I hope it does for you too! x

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  7. I think, many of use can forget quite how much information our brain processes at certain times. Even those of us with sensory processing disorders can feel sensory overload. At any given moment our body and brain are working out what we're seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and tasting, and when we're stressed this information can cause us to overload stopping us from relaxing. Although I don't get on with ASMR I have found similar things that help bring about that beautiful blissful feelings :)

    erin | diary

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    1. This is so insightful, thank you! What other things do you find help you relax? x

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  8. this is such a lovely post! I love this so much!

    becca | beccagiveslove

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  9. I know what you mean when you say you can't shut up your brain. There are a lot of moments I feel the same. Never heard of ASMR before. I'll take a look on it, for sure.

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  10. I have literally never heard of this before, but I also have a mind that I can't shut off! I struggle to get too sleep so many nights simply because my brain keeps buzzing. So maybe this will work on me too! I'm definitely gonna give it a try, because even if it makes me feel only half as good as you've said, that will mean a result :) Thanks for sharing this!

    Georgina x | petite thoughts

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  11. I tried this when I was struggling to sleep last night... I think I'm now converted into a ASMR fan. Such a tingly relaxing feeling. Thanks for introducing me to it! Xx

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    1. yesssss I think yuou're the first I've recommended it to that actually digs it! x

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  12. ASMR is amazing! I've sort of fallen off the wagon with it, but this post has reminded me how calming and useful it is. Thank you! x

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    1. It's life-changing, I'm so glad I found it! x

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