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  1. Blog
  2. Mental Health

Rest, Curated: 18 Playlists & Apps to Help You Chill Out

Detach without completely detaching

Rest, Curated: 18 Playlists & Apps to Help You Chill Out
Image courtesy of pampi89

It’s time to remix the way you relax. These are our go-to and streamable hacks for finding rest again.

Read more: 12 Scientifically Proven Ways to Unwind After Work

4 best YouTube channels for ASMR

If you’ve ever watched a Bob Ross tutorial purely to help you relax or fall asleep, you’ve already experienced the amazing effects of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or ASMR. ASMR refers to the desirable tingling feeling that starts on the scalp and makes its way down the neck—a physical response to an external auditory stimulation—and Bob Ross’ super soothing voice is one of the most noteworthy examples of it.

Not everyone experiences the tingling feeling of ASMR; however, the lucky ones who do reap incredible benefits. In a study conducted by the University of Sheffield, participants receptive to ASMR were made to watch control videos that would stimulate the tingling response. When compared to participants who could not experience ASMR, they were found to “show significant increases in positive emotions including relaxation and feelings of social connection,” as well as a reduction in heart rate, which indicated decreased stress and sadness and increased calmness. Their psychological and physical changes show the extent of the powers of ASMR on relaxation.

In recent years, ASMR as a genre has grown increasingly popular, and tons of people create YouTube videos making noises—tapping, whispering, stirring a bowl, or even crinkling paper—geared to give millions of watchers a brain massage. People often turn toward ASMR when they’re stressed or can’t focus, and sometimes even purely for entertainment—because let’s face it, they’re pretty funny. Here are four of the most popular ASMR channels on YouTube.

1. Caroline ASMR

From clicking keyboards to faux-fur scratching, Caroline’s videos are sure to get your tingling on. Her ASMR is intended to help audiences with productive studying and relaxation, and her live streams often include “study together” sessions. If you’re stressed while working from home, this might be the right channel for you.

2. WhispersRed ASMR

Emma, the voice behind WhispersRed, strongly believes in the therapeutic properties of ASMR. Her channel is centered on meditation and fostering positive mental health and has helped her audience of over 1,000,000 YouTube subscribers with relaxation. Emma even offers in-person ASMR experiences.

3. ASMR Zeitgeist

Lots of people associate women with ASMR, but plenty of men are successful ASMRists too. ASMR Zeitgeist’s deep voice and calming personality make his videos super compelling. He experiments with various tingle-triggers and associates his videos with specific activities, moods, or even colors to help those who have mental illnesses or insomnia.

4. Jojo’s ASMR

Jojo is a college student who recalls spending much of his busy life sleepless. He turned to ASMR to help him get his sleep schedule back on track and now inspires others to do the same through his widely popular videos. Jojo’s entertaining channel is a great entrypoint to the world of ASMR.

4 distracting and soothing apps

If you have a million things going on in your life at any given time, you probably aren’t relaxing nearly enough. You’ve probably heard things like, “Try meditation!”, “Just get more sleep!”, or even “Take a yoga class,” but actually implementing these lifestyle changes can be confusing, challenging, and even frustrating. Luckily, there are tons of amazing apps to push you, remind you, and help you to relax.

1. Time Out Break Reminders

If you’re spending hours on end staring at your laptop for work and slouching in the same position at your desk, you’re inadvertently doing harm to your physical and mental health. It’s so difficult to remember to step back and take a break when you’re up to your eyes in work, which is where Time Out Break Reminders comes in. The app periodically sends you reminders to take one of two kinds of breaks: a 10-minute one once in an hour, or a microbreak for 15 seconds every 15 minutes. You can choose which form of break works better for your unique needs and disable the other one. It’s an ingenious idea, and users have experienced vast improvements in their physical health and mood since using it.

Not familiar with microbreaks?

Microbreaks are tiny snippets of time where your brain is allowed to turn off, and you can take them during the workday without anyone noticing. Learn more microbreaks and 10 you should try right now. Read more

2. Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds

According to The Guardian, Relax Melodies is like “a GPS directing you how to fall asleep.” The app gives you 52 sets of sounds to select from, and you can combine them in various ways to create your personalized sleep mixtape. The sounds are even tailored to the brainwave frequencies of your specific phases of sleep, grounding its success in science. Users have attributed it to higher quality and longer sleep, and they have also used it while meditating, working out, or doing chores around the house.

3. Happify

Happify features creative and compelling activities and games to help you relax, get rid of negative energy, and distract yourself from the stress of your life. Its games feature techniques that have been tested by psychologists and scientists, and 86 percent of its users reported greater fulfillment with their lives after 2 months of use.

4. Headspace

It can be so hard to make practicing mindfulness habitual, but Headspace truly makes the whole process easier. With tons of short, guided meditations for every mood and emotion you’re going through—from stress to anxiety to insomnia—Headspace will ease your mind and soothe you instantly. It even includes “Mindful Movements,” mini workouts to keep you present and engage your body and mind throughout your day.

Read more: 16 Apps & Websites for Ambient Noise (and Why You Should Listen)

Map out your self-care

Stress can be short- or long-term, and you need to know how to manage both. Creating a "self-care plan" can help you deal with times when your life feels like it’s getting off-track. Having a written plan in place helps you visualize how your personal and professional lives can be integrated and encourages you to take a step back when you’re overwhelmed—or about to be. Read more

10 Spotify playlists to help you relax

The power of music to foster relaxation should never be overlooked. Music is a great stress reduction tool; when it plays at 60 beats per minute, the brain actually synchronizes with the music to produce alpha brain waves: an indication of relaxation and consciousness. If you’re feeling stressed, achieving relaxation is as simple as plugging in your earbuds and hitting play.

1. Relax and Unwind

An at-home spa day with this playlist playing in the background would be *chef’s kiss*.

2. Soft Pop Hits

This calls for a dance party in your room (or maybe singing into your hairbrush).

3. Classic Acoustic

Throwbacks, anyone?

4. Country Coffeehouse

Country music + a long drive with the windows down = instant relaxation.

5. Lo-Fi Beats

Plug in, crank the volume up, and watch as the stress disappears.

6. Study Break

If you’re looking to expand your music library, most of these awesome artists are relatively new. Their music makes the perfect background in between study sessions.

7. Mellow Classics

From Eagles to Elton John, this playlist covers all your bases.

8. Morning Acoustic

Add this into your morning routine for a more relaxed, happier day.

9. Piano Ballads

There’s something about piano music that just instantly uplifts your mood, which is why this playlist is a staple.

10. Cinematic Chillout

All these familiar, relaxing picks are from TV, film, and video game soundtracks.

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