Viewpoint – YouTube phenomenon helps students relax

By Raegan Scharfetter/managing editor

Soft speaking, tingles and whispers are the new sounds of this fall semester.

ASMR is taking over the internet, and anxiety/stress-ridden students should take advantage.

ASMR, also known as Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, is a colloquial term used for an experience described as a static-like sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the spine.

Have you ever been in a situation and something in your surroundings is giving off a particular sound that relaxes your mind and body? A person speaking, tapping or typing on a computer? That is ASMR, and it is now used through YouTube as a relaxer/sleep aid.

Sure, it might sound a smidge bizarre, but for common viewers, this is a one-way ticket to a euphoric night’s sleep.

Some of the best ASMR videos I have watched typically use binaural recording, which is a method of recording sound that uses two microphones, arranged to create a 3-D stereo sound for the listener to feel the sensation of being in the room with the ASMR creator, or ASMRtist.

Any time I feel anxiety or stress from everyday life (especially in college), I watch videos from my favorite ASMRtists until I slide into a tingly, ASMR-induced coma.

One of my favorite ASMRtists with currently 160,000 subscribers on YouTube, Lily Whispers said she first started watching ASMR videos during finals week of her freshman year of college. The videos helped her with anxiety so much that she created her own channel to give back to the ASMR community.

“It provided me with an outlet for brewing creativity as well as providing me with an escape from reality,” she said. “It works. And if you are skeptical, as I was and how many others are, try it out.”

In a recent study by the American Psychological Association, it is shown that anxiety is the top presenting concern among college students with 41.6 percent, followed by depression with 36.4 percent. Seventy percent of campus counselor directors believe these numbers have increased in the past year.

Watching these videos has helped me cope with stressful situations and it could help many other students this fall semester.