Back in the glorious earlier part of this year when the sun was shining, then the rain came down in torrents and folks were frolicking during their time of enforced lockdown and furlough, I was recording short videos of things that caught my attention.

Things like the swing seat moving backwards and forwards in the sunlight and the shade. They are primarily very quiet videos of about 10 second duration showing views of Chester, a lot taken in nature and generally things that I found relaxing to watch.

When I showed them to my Daughter, she suggested that I create them on Instagram as a set of videos in Instagram Story Highlights. What would be the purpose of doing this? When my daughter watched what I had recorded she asked me if I’d heard of ASMR? Sort of, was my reply.

The story highlights are the little circles with thumbnail images that display on your Instagram profile. They feature Instagram Stories that can be saved to the highlights and shared on an evergreen basis and I now have several of them. The highlights I have that are ASMR inspired are called #devadestress.

ASMR is quite a new phenomenon in its present state and it’s not yet known how this particular technique actually creates the sensations in the body that it creates.

ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. This response has become a popular way whereby some people find relief from their anxiety and also say it aids sleep. This doesn’t work for everyone and those it does work for are truly grateful for it.

I have experienced something like ASMR when listening to a BBC Sounds production of Pride and Prejudice. I listen to it on low volume. I don’t have to focus on the story line as I know it. The voice of the actress, Claire Corbett, who does all the voices of all the characters, I find particularly soothing. Couple this with the old English language and I am taking deep breaths and my body begins to relax.

A series of television shows from the 1980s that has become very popular for this very reason is The Joy of Painting featuring Bob Ross. In each of the episodes Bob is teaching a different painting technique. Watching this show I have no idea what I’ve watched at the end of it. What I can recall is the softness of the man’s voice and the sense that if I stay watching his video all will be well with the world. The gentle way in which he applies the paint to the canvas in soft flowing movements appears to relax my brain, which in turn relaxes my body and ease is created for a short while.

So, my invitation to you, if you’re experiencing sensations of stress and anxiety or you know someone who is, is to find the thing that slows your brain down and brings relaxation to your body. It may be ASMR type techniques. It may be taking a look at #devadestress on my Instagram page @MyDevaLife. It may be something else.

How does it get any better than this?   

With ease and kindness, Denise.