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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 September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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