That Tingling Feeling: First International ASMR Day

by Daniel Lively

What makes you feel good?

There are as many answers to that question as there are people in the world. It seems we all have our own unique blend of stimuli that trigger the chemical and emotional reactions we all crave.

Music, sunshine, laughing babies, stock-car racing… I’ve heard literally countless examples, but have you ever met someone who just enjoys listening to people talk?

For the entirety of my remembered life, I have loved listening to people talk softly, slowly and deliberately pronouncing every syllable of their speech. In fact, I enjoy it so much it puts me in an almost meditative state of physical and emotional euphoria, complete with what I can only call an “aura” of tingling, pleasant sensation in my head and, if the person’s voice is especially pleasant, spreading down my neck and arms.

For much of my life, I assumed everyone experienced this, but around the seventh grade I tried explaining it to my mother and she had no idea what I was talking about.

I quickly went from thinking it was a collective experience to believing perhaps I was the only one, and in fact to this day I have never met someone personally who has had the same reaction to something as simple and innocuous as someone quietly explaining directions on a map (for example).

Now, many years later, the seemingly-limitless power of the Internet in all its anarchistic glory has shown me that, far from being alone, there are thousands of people out there who have lived their lives exactly like I have, assuming that this strange tingle was unique to them.

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (colloquially referred to simply as the “brain tingles”) is not officially recognized as a condition by the medical community, but there is a rapidly-growing contingent of us online, swapping videos of people doing nothing more than quietly telling each other what’s going on in their lives.

As a community, we have decided that April 9 is now International ASMR Day, and we will (or did, by time of printing) celebrate it by sitting down with a cup of hot tea and just listening to each other.

Taking time out to pay attention to what someone else has to say? I can think of worse ways to spend a Monday evening.

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