Satisfaction has gone viral

Before the internet age, students would de-stress by reading a book or watching television, but the best de-stresser is right at their fingertips as oddly satisfying videos

Whether it’s a squish, pop or crunch, we have all seen those oddly satisfying videos on social media at some point. Whatever your ASMR preference, there is probably an Instagram or YouTube page dedicated to it. The short, repetitive videos are designed to relax and calm the viewer, leaving them mesmerized by its smooth and precise movements.

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or ASMR, is that calming or even scalp-tingling sensation you get when you watch something satisfying. Every viewer has their own trigger, and the choices are endless. They range from the mesmerizing soap cutting and slime videos to the more… unusual, soft whispering and food mastication.

The majority of the videos are created by young women for young women. They are primarily uploaded as minute-long clips on Instagram while the longer or full-length videos can be watched on YouTube. Professional satisfying accounts have created web stores to sell their own ASMR products. Instagram pages like ‘satisfyingvideo,’ who have accumulated an enormous 1.5 million followers, sell the same type of slimes used in their videos on their website,

Even though the primary viewership is younger individuals, all ages can appreciate and enjoy the quality and intricacies of some videos. Psychology Professor Verena Graupmann had some insight into why these videos soothe the viewers.

“The satisfaction derives, to some extent, from the haptically pleasing sensation of the mostly soft materials used,” Graupmann said. “It seems that most of the involved materials are reminiscent of either edible or safe and clean objects, so there is comfort, safety and therefore stress relief associated with them.”

These videos have the ability to detach the viewer from all of the busyness and worries around them, leaving them in calm and tranquil. All of the squishing and cutting of these comforting materials can also create a trancelike state for the viewer, where it could be minutes before you finally snap back into reality. With finals coming up, videos like these provide a perfect escape from your work and studying.

Student Mira Nepomuceano frequently utilizes these satisfying accounts on Instagram to relax and clear her head.

“If there’s all this stuff going on around me, and I just want to detach, I love watching and hearing the little soap cubes just glide off the bar,” Nepomuceano said. “The wavelike motion of the knife cutting underneath the cubes really really calms me. I think it’s important for you to be able to step away from what you’re doing and just zen out sometimes.”

Videos like these are “satisfying when actually done by people themselves, so it makes sense that there is some satisfaction in the vicarious experience of watching somebody engage in them,” Graupmann said. While most ASMR fans wish they could squish slime and cut soap cubes themselves, it’s just not practical. However, the process of watching someone else do it can provide the same level of satisfaction, without the hassle.

People view these clips in quick succession on Instagram’s explore page, and it’s easy to fall into watching 10 videos in a row. But the beauty of social media is the ability to send that content with your friends.

“Sharing videos of something positive is a way of connecting with others, so that can explain why this has become a thing in an era where sharing events through video has become so easy and convenient,” Graupmann said.

This social media craze seems to be purely innocent and fun, and while it is for the middle school audience, a possible underlying reason for its popularity in slightly older generations may not be what you think.

Psychology Professor Roberta Garner believes the satisfaction derived from these videos is because “we are in the middle of a big sex recession.” Yes, you read that right.

“People are having less sex than in the past […] so folks have to find some other way to feel warm, wet, relaxed and happy,” Garner said.“And what could be better than mushing slime, soap and sand? [The trend will continue] as long as the sex recession is on.”

Regardless of the reason you enjoy these types of videos, it’s still a free and effective option for releasing immediate stress and chilling out.