Tagged: stress

Happy International ASMR Day

- by Alyson Shane

Ever since I was a little girl, I've always loved the sounds of people speaking softly, soft tapping, scratching or brushing sounds, and lightly-accented voices. I used to sit and watch Bob Ross for hours on end, mesmerized by his voice, and nobody around me could understand why.

This is because I have ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, which Wikipedia describes as "perceptual phenomenon characterized as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation in the head, scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, or cognitive stimuli."

Basically what happens, for me anyway, is when I listen to people speaking softly, or hear "trigger" sounds, I get a pleasant tingling sensation in my brain. It also makes my skin really sensitive, and I frequently run my fingers gently along my arms or wrists when I hear someone that triggers it.

If you're unsure if you've ever experienced it, ask yourself if you've ever experienced a pleasant tingling feeling, wave of calmness, or "itchy brain" feeling when exposed to any of these triggers:

  • 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

I only realized that I had ASMR a few years ago - until then whenever I mentioned the "brain tingles" I would get, people looked at me like I had lost my marbles. It wasn't until listening to an episode of This American Life that I realized that there weren't just others like me, but a while community of people on YouTube, Reddit and elsewhere who share experiences and post videos or audio clips to try and trigger other people.

But why am I talking about this?

First, it's because today is International ASMR Day, so it feels appropriate.

Second, I wanted to write about how finding acceptance in the ASMR community has helped me start accepting a part of my life that I had largely kept hidden from people. Being able to understand and find acceptance about something that had always alienated me from other people was a huge weight off my shoulders. You can only hear "you're weird" or "you're crazy" so many times before you stop trying to discuss an experience with people.

One of the amazing things about the ASMR community online is how kind and accepting everyone is. We all share a weird connection, and most ASMR artists incorporate kind, relaxing, and supportive messages into their videos as part of the "relaxing" experience that ASMR causes.

Third, I wanted to discuss it because ASMR videos have played a huge role in dealing with my anxiety. In addition to feeling a connection with the ASMR artists, the videos have a hugely calming effect on me, and have been a really powerful tool in helping me calm down during an anxiety attack, or helping me focus when I'm stressed out. There's even an article on LifeHack.org about using ASMR to de-stress.

Below are a few of my favourite ASMR videos, which I play on a regular basis when I'm stressed out or just want to experience a pleasant, calm feeling.

If you experience ASMR, or maybe even if you don't (who knows?) they might help calm you or make you feel good:

Do you have ASMR? If so, do you use it to help with an issue like stress or anxiety?


Managing My Anxiety with Pacifica

- by Alyson Shane

Many of you know that over the past while I've been trying to take positive steps to start tackling the stress and anxiety that I deal with in my day-to-day life. Part of that has been creating positive dialogues by sharing my experiences, and recently it's involved using an app called Pacifica.

I'd never really considered using an app to manage my anxiety, but after John mentioned it and sent me a link to their webpage, I figured "why not?" Since then I've been using it daily and have really been noticing a change in my mood and my anxiety levels.

Basically the app provides you with tools to work on mindfulness and to track your moods and activities over time, which attempts to paint a picture of the kinds of behaviours that can increase or decrease anxiety and stress.

There are five daily tasks: Mood, Relax, Thoughts, Experiments, and Health, though when you use the free version (like me, I'm cheap) you only get access to three a day. Honestly though this is more than enough. 

There are two things about this app that I liked enough to sit down and write a review, one of which is the little push notification. Usually I hate them, but there's something sort of soothing to look down at your phone and see a message that says "how are you feeling?" - even when I know it's coming from an app, it makes me stop and think. 

This also works well because once I see the push notification I go right into the app and input my Mood, which means that I don't just use it when I'm feeling good or bad, which would skew my ability to figure out if I'm making progress.

The other is the Thoughts feature. I used this for the first time the other day after a particularly stressful experience.

Basically the feature has you record your thoughts out loud, then it plays the recording back to you and asks you to identify positive and negative statements. 

When you identify a negative statement, it displays leading questions which force you to think about why you felt that way, and why you expressed it the way that you did. 

Once you've listened to it once (or more times if you need) the app has you re-record your thoughts on the issue: was it as bad as you thought? How could you change your thinking patterns moving forward? etc.

I really struggle to do this in the moment and while it was a bit weird to talk out loud when nobody else was around, hearing myself played back and thinking critically about the statements that I heard myself making really, really helped. 

The app does other stuff, too, like helping you track how much you sleep, how well you ate, how much exercise you got, etc, but this was the most influential tool that I've used so far.

I really find that managing my day-to-day stress and anxiety levels can be a challenge, and having an app has really helped me be more mindful of my choices and it's helpful to go back to a particular day and be able to say "yeah, I handled that really well" or "I could have done better, what can I improve on?" and see that progress over time. 

What about you - do you have any app recommendations for managing anxiety? I'd love to hear them! 


Ten minutes

- by admin

is how long I'm going to write for because frankly I'm in a foul as fuck mood and would rather be sulking at home with a beer instead of waiting to be picked up to go to a family function and then who knows what else all weekend. This weekend has gotten under my skin in every way possible and I need to just chill. da fuq. out.


This week has just been so trying. I feel like I've got my life on hold for some peeps and I'm getting completely jerked around and it's really wearing thin. I don't like second-guessing people and myself and what I've said/done to people and have zero tolerance for it. Nothing makes me flip out like that kind of shit but flipping out doesn't do me any good. It will just work against me. So I have to sit here and wait which also drives me nuts because I'm incredibly impatient. If there's one adult skill I've never acquired it's patience.

Anyway Tyrone is going away tomorrow night to party it up with his coworkers and in addition to getting my hurr did I have BBQ and movie plans with friends but frankly I just wanna stay home n have a soak in the bath n a glass of wine (or three) n watch a movie by myself. Is that so wrong?

The main reason is that we're supposed to be seeing the new Superman and 1. I don't wanna see it without Tyrone because he's MEGA stoked for it, 2. I hear it's only "meh" at best so I'm not really that stoked anymore, and 3. it's much easier to stay at home and relax and honestly guys I need it.

Honestly I shouldn't even be in a shitty mood at all.

I had a great, busy day at work so it went by super fast. Yesterday I got to hang with cool peeps at the a United Way luncheon and my zebra shirt was a hit. Then I biked home and took a huge-ass nap and bought a bunch of thrift-store clothes that look amazing. Tonight once I get over myself I'll get to hang with my fam, who I love, and have BBQ and home-made wine and hang out with my Granddad who is probably the coolest old dude ever.

Oh and did I mention that had free sushi for lunch?

And I got to take the cutest dog ever for a walk?

If I wasn't so busy stewing in my own mental swamp I'd be in the best mood ever!

Okay Shane. Chill the f out.

I downloaded this stupid app a few months ago which is supposed to help you meditate which sounds completely stupid and it kind of is. But honestly having some nice music playing and a hot-sounding chick voice telling me when n how long to breathe really helps. It's helping right now, actually.

Because when I get stressed out I start breathing all crazy like
really fast and my jaw clenches which I can feel right now
and this chick is telling me to let go
calm down
and stop blogging FFS.

just made a scene at work

- by admin


one of the good things about my work is that I get to do a lot of cool stuff like go on lunch excursions and help throw massive 500-person events and bring in entertainers and stuff.

today we brought in a group of improv performers who would 'act out' a story that an audience member told. it's pretty cool, actually.

except when it's my turn.

most people I know wouldn't believe me but public speaking freaks me out.

especially when I'm unprepared.

(mostly when I'm unprepared)

like when I'm sitting in a room with twenty people and they're all urging me to tell a "funny story" and I'm trying to politely decline and they're all going

alyson yr so funny. tell us a funny story alyson.


so on the spot I ramble some lame and completely unfunny story because who can come up with a funny story on the spot?

not me I tell you.

and halfway through I realize 'shit this isn't funny. this isn't even a good story'

and I feel the shakes and redness and wobbly voice kick in

and of course the woman running the improv group is doting on me because she can tell that I'm getting anxious and telling me what a good job I'm doing and

she keeps focusing on me and putting her hand on my shoulder which is making it worse because her weird clammy hand is on my skin and

they're going through the motions improv-ing this horrible story which is just making it worse because it's not funny and I can feel myself getting redder and redder and I'm playing with my rings and my fingernails and anything I can pick at or twist

and of course I can't just leave. getting up and walking out would just make it worse so I tell myself

just sit through it. it'll be over soon.

and then omg the woman is kneeling in front of me telling me how it's okay and how I'm 'such a sport' for sharing and just

no. fuck off. you're making it worse. go dote on someone else

I want to yell. but I don't because it's work and it's not polite to yell at the improv lady so I don't

I sit there twisting my ring and my hair and feeling my face flush bright red

waiting for this horrible experience to end.

now I remember why I hate improv.

life's all

- by admin

"I'm gonna stress you out today for no good reason!"

and I'm like

I found this awesome gif while trolling on the Internet

drinking coffee

listening to Chromatics

warm as fck

while it's -40 outside

so you can suck it


I live here now

- by admin

okay not really but it feels like I do. classes end last week(ish) and I'm stressin' hard about getting everything handed in on time which is stupid because most of it is done/on the way to being finished and how hard is it to write a couple of papers, really? not hard at all. but papers combined with two exams on the same day have me crawling up the walls and probably driving poor Tyrone insane with my manic stressing-out, I can't wait for this term to be done so I can spend a month working and playing video games and drinking beer in the n00d in the middle of the day.

manic panic thoughts.

time to dance it out.


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