I've never thought of myself as an anxious person but I found out later in life that I am. I just carry my anxiety in my belly. First sign that things are thrown off and I get gut punched. Apparently carrying worry in your tum-tum is pretty normal. So is staying up all night obsessing over the day's worries which I've done a time or two for sure.

But, I have found one thing that has helped me tremendously. It might help you too. Bonus: it is free and no drugs required. You just have to get over the "this is kinda weird" factor.

Several years ago, WKDQ's Leslie Morgan turned me on to ASMR. According to thinkwithgoogle.com, "Coined in 2010, ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is a relaxing, often sedative sensation that begins on the scalp and moves down the body. Also known as 'brain massage,' it's triggered by placid sights and sounds such as whispers, accents, and crackles."

YouTube is full of ASMRtists. They create videos using high power microphones that pick up and amplify tiny sounds. Sometimes they whisper or speak in a calm, subdued voice. Sometimes they do guided meditations. Sometimes they use fluid hand motions, or scratch someone's back.  And, there's literally a sub-genre of ASMR for every taste. You can fall down the rabbit hole of ASMR. And honestly, I think some of them can be kind of weird and not terribly pleasant in my opinion but everyone is different.

There's a very real physiological response that happens to some people when they watch or listen to ASMR videos. Sleep.org describes it as, "For most people who do experience it, the blissful tingling starts up in the scalp and then makes its way through the body to the arms and legs. And as a result, it can trigger a feeling of relaxation before bedtime, which can help you overcome insomnia."

Healthline reported that research has shown that ASMR can also help with a myriad of conditions beyond insomnia like anxiety, depression, chronic pain, stress, and can even make you feel like you are connected with others which is crucial at this time. Several people have detailed how ASMR helps them manage their anxiety and insomnia.

And ASMR can even help kids who are anxious, high energy, or just need help releasing some of their pent up negative feelings. You just have to be careful because YouTube isn't the safest place in the world. My daughter calls them her "sleep sounds." I have downloaded a few videos from trusted sources that I've watched and turn off the cellular data so that she can only see the ones I've downloaded for her. Here's one that she really likes and the artist Emma even has her son join her.

The best part about ASMR is that it's free to try and since there are no drugs, there are no side effects. So, what can you do to get started? There's really only two things you need - headphones and a personal device to watch your videos on.

My husband and I both have special bluetooth blackout headphones that double as a sleep mask. You just want to make sure they are comfortable and won't wake you up when you fall asleep. Here's what we have.

Then search for ASMR videos you find most relaxing. Here are a few from my favorite channels.

 

And if you aren't into all that but you do like just hearing sounds, there's also natural "white noise" videos like ocean sounds or raindrops.

Happy dreaming!

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