The trends of reset routines, cleaning videos and life hacks have taken over the internet and researchers have found one reason why. Experts say it’s not because someone may be a neat freak, but it might be a sign that someone is feeling overwhelmed in different areas of their life, according to Bustle.
These videos are under the category of autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR, and have been tentatively talked about as a treatment to treat anxiety and depression for years.
Global News reported that ASMR responses have been described as relaxing and calm to people who participate in the phenomenon. The temptation to label ASMR social media videos as a treatment has been approached with caution, as scientists fear people won’t seek out sustainable treatments for their ailments.
“ASMR is definitely not the secret to treating depression and anxiety,” said Stephen Smith, professor of psychology at the University of Winnipeg. Smith has studied the neural connections in ASMR within people and said, “it could help some people as a ‘supplement’ of sorts to real treatment, but it should not be used instead of consulting a trained professional.”
Cleaning videos might not be the ultimate fix, but many people have experienced mood improvement and alleviation of symptoms depression and anxiety may cause.
The National Library of Medicine did a study in which 1,037 participants between the ages of 18-66 completed an online questionnaire that looked at the severity of each participant’s insomnia and depression symptoms, followed by questionnaires on their current mood levels and arousal before and after watching an ASMR video.
All of the participants in the study showed an increase in relaxation levels as well as an improved mood after watching the video. The participants who had the largest effects were those who experienced ASMR and participants in the depression and combined groups. No difference was found between the insomnia and control groups.
One notable aspect of the study is that it was not known to the researchers how many participants in the study were familiar with ASMR videos before participating. It also was not noted if this information would have been important to the findings. The ASMR group of participants was created through self-reporting with no way to verify whether their answers were accurate.
The findings showed that ASMR videos have the potential to be used to improve mood and reduce arousal, with implications for alleviating symptoms of insomnia and depression.
Cleaning videos have been trending on YouTube for years before TikTok got ahold of the phenomenon. TikTok has a subset of viewers under the title “Clean Tok,” where videos of individuals cleaning their homes have gathered over 1 billion views, according to Bustle.
Licensed therapist Caroline Given told Bustle, “To see someone finally throwing away their to-go cup graveyard and putting away piles of clothes is aspirational because we’re getting visual access to an inner healing that is beginning to take place, which is inspiring.”