ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response and describes a tingling sensation and pleasure experience some people get when they hear certain sounds or see certain things. Examples of sounds that can cause this sensation include listening to a softly spoken or whispering voice, listening to quiet, repetitive sounds such as someone turning the pages of a book, watching someone attentively carry out a mundane task, listening to chewing or crunching noises, listening to someone explain something, and many more.
ASMR content creators are often very creative with which sounds or sights they choose for their videos and tend to have a following of subscribers on YouTube, so there is regularly new content available to browse.
Naturally, everyone is different, so while some may find ASMR calming, others may have a completely different response, or find that certain videos are soothing but others infuriating. If you find that ASMR helps curb anxious feelings or improve your mood then it’s a great form of self-care, but if it’s having the opposite effect then it may not be for you, which is completely fine; you can always use ‘trial and error’ until you find something else you like.
What young people have told us:
'It's relaxing and makes you feel like there's someone there caring for you. Helpful on lonely days and when falling asleep.'
'Research it before you try it so you know what sounds to expect and decide if there's anything that might be a trigger.'
'Try it! It's worth a go. If it doesn't help though, don't be discouraged.'
'I love listening to ASMR as it is so relaxing and calm.'
'I think it helps me because I get to listen to different sensations and gets me to be in the moment.'
'It's helped my mental wellbeing because when I was listening to the asmr it made me very calm and relaxed and me forget about all my troubles.'
There isn’t much academic research in the area of self-care for young people who are living with mental health issues. We are trying to find out more about what works for different people so we can better advise other young people what to try.
If you’ve tried this activity when you were struggling in relation to your mental health, please let us know if it helped you and how by clicking on the ‘Did this activity help you’ button.