ASMR triggers explained

ASMR triggers explained

Have you wondered what’s making you feel ASMR? If you watched enough ASMR videos, you know certain things make you feel tingles no matter what. These seemingly-random cues are called “triggers” – and they are the key to unlock your ASMR.

There are countless ASMR triggers. They are so many you can easily lose yourself in them! We are going to explain to you what ASMR triggers are, how many types are there, a list of the most popular ones and how to find the right ASMR triggers. That way, you can get the best ASMR possible!

What are ASMR triggers?

An ASMR trigger is a stimulus that will provoke a physiological change in you. Simply put, it is a sound, touch or visual cue that will make you feel tingles throughout your body, relaxing you. There are plenty of ASMR triggers and several may or may not work for you.

If you are new to ASMR, you probably felt your first tingles in a real-life scenario: a whisper, a soft-spoken voice, someone brushing your hair or something similar. All of those things (and many, many more) are what the ASMR community calls “triggers”.

Most videos feature one or more ASMR triggers. Keep in mind, anything that makes you feel tingles could be considered a trigger, whether it is well-known or not. If something makes you feel tingles throughout your body, that’s an ASMR trigger for you. Due to practical reasons, triggers are put in different categories.

Different types of ASMR triggers

There are countless ASMR triggers. If it makes someone feel ASMR, it is considered a trigger. From whispering to eating and everything in between – that’s ASMR territory. There are three common categories for triggers: auditory, visual and tactile. There’s also miscellaneous, for triggers that fit in no category.

  • Auditory triggers: They are related to sounds. It can cover anything from whispering to water sounds. It’s not necessarily a sound produced by a person, it can come from anything. If you can hear it and it makes you tingle, it’s an auditory trigger!
  • Visual triggers: These are triggers that you can see, or rather, experience with your eyes. There are not as many visual triggers as auditory triggers – but they are just as powerful. A great example would be slow hand movements.
  • Tactile triggers: Tactile triggers usually happen when the ASMRtist interacts with you (e.g., scalp massage ASMR) or when two people interact with each other (like a massage video.)
  • Miscellaneous triggers: This fourth category is reserved for triggers that fit nowhere else or are a combination of anything else already named. Roleplay videos and unintentional videos usually fall into this category.

What are auditory ASMR triggers?

Auditory triggers are all about sound: whether it’s done with a voice or with something else entirely. Most ASMR triggers fall into this category – as ASMR is about pleasant sounds most of the time. Auditory triggers range from whispers to animal sounds, there’s a lot of ground to cover!

Auditory triggers are ASMR’s bread and butter – and also the first type of trigger ever recorded with ASMR in mind. The first one was whispering, but it didn’t stop there. It kickstarted an entire community. Most ASMR videos have some kind of auditory trigger in them but not all videos are about them exclusively.

  • Whispering: Probably the most used trigger in ASMR history. Whispering consists of softly speaking into a microphone. It can be used for almost anything ASMR-related: telling a story, explaining a concept, talking about your day – it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re whispering, you’re going to trigger someone’s ASMR.
  • Words: ASMR can be triggered by all kinds of things, including certain words. Like a spell that conjures tingles, certain words work as triggers. Combined with whispering, it’s a killer weapon that’ll put you right to sleep.
  • Humming: A great trigger often overlooked. Humming is like whispering’s cousin but related to music. Plenty of ASMRtists use humming as a trigger – one that can be used for songs, like lullabies, that’ll put you right to sleep.
  • Blowing: Someone blowing gently into a microphone is a great trigger for those who are looking for something different but still love gently sounds that trigger their ASMR.
  • Chewing and eating: A controversial trigger for many people. Perhaps the most controversial in all of the ASMR community. There are a lot of people who cannot stand chewing and eating sounds, and other people love it. There are plenty of foodie ASMRtists – and if it gets your tingle on, you might be able to experience two great things: food and ASMR!
  • Mouth sounds: This trigger is more of an umbrella term than anything else. Mouth sounds can mean a lot of things, like kisses, lip-smacking, sksk sounds, and many other things. This trigger is usually best when paired with a binaural microphone.
  • Crinkling: If you love to bust bubble wrap or enjoy the sound different kinds of papers make when you rub them together, you are bound to get all tingly from crinkling triggers – because it’s exactly that.
  • Tapping: A well-known trigger and an essential part of any ASMRtist’s arsenal. Tapping is the sound of fingers gently hitting a hard surface, like a book, a table or the microphone itself.
  • Writing and drawing: The gentle sound of a pencil swiftly leaving one trace after another, eventually pouring into a white page a beautiful drawing can trigger your ASMR immensely. A fountain-pen quick but elegant stroke leaving a name or a sentence on a piece of paper can have the same effect as well.
  • Typing: Similar to writing and drawing, typing might be the combination of creativity and ASMR – one where your tingles are all fired up while your favorite ASMRtist writes something special for the viewer to see once the video is done.Page-turning: Page turning can be a mixture of crinkling and tapping, a powerful ASMR trigger. Many people mix page-turning with soft-spoken reading for maximum ASMR effect.
  • Painting: If there’s someone responsible for ASMR before YouTube was even a thing, it’s Bob Ross. Painter extraordinaire, he mixed his made-for-ASMR voice with a great auditory trigger, painting. The playful movement of a brush onto the canvas can produce tingles like no other thing – especially if Bob Ross is narrating the whole ordeal.
  • Fire sounds: Have you ever felt tingles next to a fireplace? Or after carefully lightning a match? Fire sounds are great for a cozy ASMR session. The sounds of burning wood can trigger ASMR and memories of a winter that passed.
  • Water sounds: Water sounds are nothing like fire sounds. They are controlled, and usually happen in small quantities – like water drops. Little by little, in perfect tempo, water drops near the mic and you can feel tingles throughout your body. Other ASMRtists decide to spray water: a sudden, subtle sound explosion that can translate itself into many tingles for whoever is listening.
  • Animal sounds: A dog is a man’s best friend, and a cat might be as well. Both are great for ASMR too! A lot of awesome pet owners place their little friends next to a microphone and let them do their thing – trigger your ASMR! Cat’s purring, dogs eating random food and birds softly singing a lullaby, nature’s very own ASMR.

And many more…

What are visual ASMR triggers?

Visual triggers are not as many as auditory triggers, but still second in popularity. They provide no sounds but engage the viewer through his or her eyes. Slow hand movement is the prime trigger in the auditory category – one that is often used in ASMR videos.

Even though most videos rely on auditory triggers, visual triggers are great to fire your ASMR. Visual triggers add a layer of intimacy to most ASMR videos – as if the ASMRtist is directly interacting with the viewer.

  • Hand movement: A playful game between the ASMRtist and the viewer, hand movement takes ASMR to another level – one where an auditory trigger simply cannot reach. For some reason, the slow, careful movement of hands can trigger ASMR and produce many, many tingles in a lot of people.
  • Light movement: Common in medical roleplays, but also used as triggers by themselves. Light movement can give you the right number of tingles for you to fall asleep. It is usually done in moderation, as not to distract you from your relaxation.
  • Eye contact: This trigger is one of a kind. An ASMRtist gently looking at you through the screen can make your ASMR kick into overdrive. It’s an intimate trigger – one that only a few ASMRtists can do right.

And more…

What are tactile ASMR triggers?

Tactile triggers are different from most triggers – and perhaps the strongest of them all. This is because you can only experience them in person and not through an ASMR video. A gentle touch, a deep massage or a relaxing shave are examples of this trigger.

Tactile triggers are one of a kind, and usually have long-lasting effects on whoever is feeling the tingles. But you don’t have to undergo a one-hour massage session to experience this trigger, a simple touch can make you feel tingles like never before.

  • Massages: Getting a massage is a great thing. Perhaps it’s one of the most relaxing things of all. No wonder it can trigger your ASMR!
  • Haircuts: Haircuts are great for any ASMR-enthusiast who loves personal attention. A haircut mixes the tapping-like sounds of a scissor, the crinkling-like rummaging sound of a clipper and the water sounds that come from washing your hair.
  • Shaving: This particular trigger mixes the best from massages and haircuts. You’ll get subtle sounds from a shaving blade that’ll trigger your ASMR, and the tingles will increase tenfold when the face massage starts.
  • Hair brushing: It’ll usually trigger your ASMR when someone else is brushing your hair. The personal attention given, combined with the brushing sounds is bound to create some tingles.
  • Touching: Touching is a tricky thing. Too much of it and it might feel invasive. But done the right way – a gentle touch, perhaps – can fire more tingles than anything else.

And more…

What are miscellaneous ASMR triggers?

There are a couple of triggers that do not fit in any category or are a mixture of two or more kinds of triggers. They are called “other or miscellaneous” triggers. It is a small, less-known niche – but a great one nonetheless.

Miscellaneous triggers usually require a lot of production value, whether it’s because there are a lot of things going on (a roleplay video) or because it’s an instructional for something else entirely (and not filmed with ASMR in mind, called unintentional.)

  • Roleplay: Roleplay videos are fairly common and of great value in the ASMR community. A doctor’s appointment, a friend taking care of you, a sleep-clinic trial, and many other scenarios are used to give you plenty of tingles. These roleplay videos combine a lot of auditory, visual and tactile triggers to give you ASMR.
  • Unintentional: Unintentional ASMR videos are in complete contrast with roleplay, albeit they look similar. In unintentional videos, you will be triggered by what’s going on, but there’s no roleplay or ASMR-intentions, it’s a video of something (like a shoe shining session) that might trigger the viewer’s ASMR.

How to find your ASMR triggers?

There is no sure way to know what triggers will fire tingles through your body and which ones won’t. There are common triggers shared throughout most of the ASMR community (like whispering), but the only way to find out is by taking the time to try different triggers and videos.

It takes time to find out what works and what doesn’t. The main key is to not get complacent with your search. Don’t fall in love with one trigger in particular and overdo it as not to build a tolerance. If you find a trigger that shoots tingles through your body right away, that’s awesome! But it’s best to keep looking for new triggers.

Once you get to know a couple of triggers (and quite possibly, ASMRtists that know how to do them right) you can rotate them and avoid ASMR immunity. Nobody likes to feel how their triggers slowly stop working – and there’s no reason not to play it smart and avoid that altogether.

If you are unsure about where to start looking for triggers, here are three amazing videos to begin testing the ASMR-waters!

What ASMR trigger is right for me?

There is only one person in the world that can answer this question: you! Triggers are an extremely personal thing – you may love a particular trigger and it might not work for a friend of yours. That wouldn’t mean it’s a bad trigger; triggers simply don’t work for everyone.

ASMR triggers are personal, first and foremost. There are people out there that love eating videos, and other people who simply cannot stand it. Your triggers (or someone else’s) are in no way, shape or form universal – something you need to take into consideration when you are looking for triggers, recommend triggers to someone or take a trigger recommendation.

Even if one trigger does not work for you, there is no reason to give up on that particular ASMRtist or disregard future recommendations from a friend. You never know what kind of tingles are waiting for you in the future!

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