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How to Reduce Stress with ASMR

How to Reduce Stress with ASMR

Our brain is programmed to stress us. It does that a lot and on just about any subject. Like a lot of behavioral reactions, stress used to be (and still is) a survival mechanism that our brain used in order to inject alertness when needed. It’s there so we could harness internal resources and spring into action in a matter of seconds when hunted or hunting.

Fortunately for us, we rarely need to spring into action nowadays to avoid a prowling lion. Today, stress is not helpful and is often counter-productive. When stressed, most of us lose focus and are immersed in unpleasant feelings.

In the past, we needed all that “potential energy” when we faced fight or flight situations. It probably saved our lives more than once. Today, this energy still exists in each of us in certain situations; if it is not discharged via some sort of conduit (either physical or of a more neural nature), it slows us down.
That’s why we need to get creative in the way we release stress. We don’t have time to go on a vacation every week; often we even can’t step away from the almighty computer, tablet, or cell phone.

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In comes ASMR. Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) or “braingasm” is a sensation that manifests itself as a gentle shiver that runs from your head down your spine and limbs. This is not to be confused with the more commonly known chills or “goose bumps,” as those are called frisson. It might also feel like a sensation of tightening in your throat or tingling in the back of your scalp. Everyone feels it differently, but in all cases it feels awesome.

Some people report that it enters them into an amazingly relax euphoric state that leaves them surprisingly relaxed. Some people even report that it helps them to relax anxiety and other stress related symptoms.

It is triggered in two different ways:

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1. Internally

It is usually achieved voluntarily by a specific thought or a pattern of thoughts that is unique to us. It happens when we think about something pleasant or recollect and experience we had enjoyed immensely in the past while our mind wanders.

2. Externally

This happens involuntarily when we’re exposed to an exterior stimuli such as visual, audio, nasal and some sort of cognitive stimuli such as paying close attention to someone talking to you with a soft-spoken intonation, explaining something obvious or teaching you something new. For some reason, paying attention to instructions works very well on the majority of the population, a sort of low level hypnosis, if you will.

According to the ASMR research and support site, the feeling can be triggered via these external triggers:

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  • Exposure to slow, accented, or unique speech patterns
  • Viewing educational or instructive videos or lectures
  • Experiencing a high empathetic or sympathetic reaction to an event
  • Enjoying a piece of art or music
  • Watching another person complete a task, often in a diligent, attentive manner. Examples: filling out a form, writing a check, going through a purse or bag, inspecting an item closely, etc.
  • Close, personal attention from another person
  • Haircuts, or other touch from another on head or back

Although the way in which you feel this sensation may vary, you probably felt it already but never told this to anyone. Why? Because up until 2010, ASMR didn’t exist anywhere (written at least) and everyone thought that it’s a feeling unique to them.

There are a lot of ASMR videos you can watch online that can trigger this sensation and it’s the fastest way to reduce your tension levels while working on a computer.

Since the research about ASMR is only in its infancy, there are no conclusive triggers that can be identified and if you have never experienced it, you probably never will.

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Try it, you might find you even like it. You can listen to products unwrapping, role playing videos in which people reveal your destiny with tarots cards, napkins folding instructions and even haircutting sounds.
Have a good one.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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