Welcome back to the second, even gentler, episode of Collegentlewhispers, sponsored by The Collegian. This episode will be self-guided, just like our fall (and only other) edition. Gently follow the instructions below, which will include several mantras you may speak aloud to better complement your ASMR experience.
For those of you joining us on this sensory journey for the first time, or for anyone with an irrational suspicion of acronyms (acrophobia), let me define ASMR:
As you can see, I like my acronyms the way I like my gene transfer: vertical.  Those four words are simply a snobby way of saying that you might feel tingly or more calm when you listen to quiet noises and repetitive sounds. See, that’s not so bad! All you old and similarly close-minded people can relax now.
Alright, get yourself comfortable, let's begin:
Gaze longingly through the nearest window and consider the clouds in the sky.
“Clouds are crystal chandeliers for the atmosphere.”
(The more you repeat this mantra, the more easily you can ignore the obvious issues with the metaphor. Namely, that clouds in no way resemble chandeliers.)
From where you are, the clouds move so slowly. Let’s help them move faster. Take a deep breath and exhale skyward. One breath for every cloud you see (if you live in an overcast valley, take care not to hyperventilate). In, out, in, out. Now name the clouds as you exhale:
In, cumulonimbaltacirrostratus 
These relaxing words fall right off your tongue like perspiration from a rain cloud. Sorry, I meant to say perspiration. Omg, I’m so silly, sorry, perspiration. You know what, never mind...
If you have access to the outdoors, for example if you’ve recently been evicted or have no appreciation for the advancement of civilization, here’s a trigger for you:
Approach the nearest freshly turned earth. Drag your fingers through it, creating tiny troughs and valleys. Listen to the subtle sound of dirt being displaced.
“We are one.” (x4)
Now tenderly scoop a handful of earth into your hand and let it sift through your fingers.
“I was made from the dust of earth’s lovely crust”
I always feel better after an encounter with the earth mother.
Find some wildflowers or blossoms of some kind that your neighbors won’t miss (it’s not trespassing if you’re making a bouquet). These lovely little flowers need to be placed in some water. Fill a jar midway with water. I love the sound of running water, it reminds me of my time in the Amazon.
Experiment with what faucet speed calms you the most:
A fast, white stream that splishes noisily as it bubbles over the lip.
A slow, clear stream that makes the hollow fillling-up-a-jar sound.
Short, disrupted bursts of water that are probably annoying your roommate or mom as we speak.
Alright, grab your scissors. These stems are too long!
*Snip, snip, snip, snip*
There, that's better, and they all stand together happily like a group of friends who are about to die together over a few agonizing days.
Time for one of my favorite triggers, grass scrubbing. Remove your shoes and socks and all other barriers to your raw feet. Feel the breeze on your big toes. Watch with awe as the dewy mists condenscent on your cuticles. Now, delicately approach the nearest stretch of spring-green grass, and walk onto it.
Each time you pass a dandelion, pluck it between your toes. Carry it with you until the next dandelion, then pluck that one with whichever toe feels the most natural in that moment. There are no wrong answers here in this place.
Identify a tree with pale green leaves, and recline beneath it. Glance up at their translucent undersides. Stretch out your legs and arms. Soft, dappled light filters through the canopy. Take a moment to appreciate the beauty.
Next, take another moment to protect yourself against the dangers of that beauty. Retrieve the SPF 70 your Caucasian friend gave you and prepare to apply. Squirt the most, tiny squirt of sunscreen on each dapple of light that graces your legs and arms. Using a finger, maybe two, rub the sunscreen in.
“SPF is my BFF”
I suggest rubbing in cardinal directions, beginning with North. Now you can sigh with relief, your skin is protected. Oh whoops, except when you sighed, you moved, so now the dapples are different spots. Repeat the process as many times as you move.
Now pretend you are a bird. Stand up wherever you are and bend your head towards the ground. This is both a humble supplication to the power of nature and an attempt to retrieve a worm.
Now stand and spread your arms. You are soaring on the updrafts, the downdrafts, and the rough drafts. From here, put your life in perspective. Suddenly, very implausibly, the problems you’re facing appear manageable.
Your ASMR experience is complete. Do you feel better? Sorry, that’s a leading question. How much better do you feel, and how helpful were my instructions? As you continue your day, let your worries fall softly to the ground around you, a gentle downpour that gently pitpats on the roofs and streets you meet today, and that leaves you, softly, with goosebumps.
ASMR. (2023, April 1). Merriam-Webster Dictionary. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ASMR#dictionary-entry-1
That’s just a little biology joke for ya’. Don’t worry if you don’t understand it, neither do I. I almost said, “I like my acronyms the way I like my industrial mergers: vertical,” just appeal to you entrepreneurs and small business owners and whatever.
Funk, Ted. (n.d.). Cloud Classifications and Characteristics. The Science Corner. https://www.weather.gov/media/lmk/soo/cloudchart.pdf
Fischer, M. (2020). Red-breasted Nuthatch. Macaulay Library. https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/229281561
Davies, I. (2016). Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted). Macaulay Library. https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/30597061
Clouds. I wonder how fast they’re moving really... Photo from Unsplash.com, by ElCarito.
Tulips. My mom told me to cut all my tulips the same height, so that’s what I do, but sometimes I imagine an alternate me who acts spontaneously and creatively... Imagine. Photo from Unsplash.com, by Zoe Schaeffer.