Above: "Orange Mocha Scones - ASMR/no music version"
Peaceful Cuisine is first and foremost a YouTube channel. There is so more to it. Its owner/creator, Ryoya Takashima, is a self-taught cook and videographer who combines his talent, along with his desire for "world peace through the food choices we make," to create vegan cooking instruction videos that range from 3-15 minutes long.
Videos include anything from a homemade mocha with cacao and almond milk, to traditional Japanese recipes like amazake and making your own ramen noodles, to restaurant-worthy desserts like flourless lemon curd tarts and non-dairy black sesame ice cream. While many of his recipes are not gluten- or allergen-free, many of them are; if they're not, it's often a quick fix to find a substitution or just find the recipes that you like and leave the rest.
But you may not have to leave the rest - not completely. Peaceful Cuisine includes a series (playlist) of dozens of "ASMR" videos. For those unfamiliar, ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response and specifically describes a tingling sensation that usually starts in the head and travels down the neck after certain triggers like repetitive movements or sounds. The more widespread definition has to do with a growing movement popularized by YouTubers posting videos that depict themselves (usually) making a wide variety of repetitive sounds that may trigger this response. Urban Dictionary states the goal of ASMR is simply "to relax people" and lists examples of "triggers" as whispering, gentle hand movements, tapping or scratching on different surfaces, or brushing sounds.
How I hear about it in therapy sessions, especially from teens, is that ASMR can be a coping mechanism for anxiety. If the goal is to relax people, then anything that produces a relaxing effect is going to reduce anxiety to some degree, right? Well, if you're someone who needs more information or data, there is a university of ASMR website conducting research right now via a survey you can take, whether you've experienced the physical sensation, haven't, or just don't know. The site, headed by Dr Craig Richard, also includes a podcast along with examples of ASMR and informative articles on its "art" and "science."
Back to Peaceful Cuisine. . .
Aside from the recipe ideas and clear, pleasant visuals, many Peaceful Cuisine videos are in fact very relaxing. I can't say I've gone as far as having scalp-tingling effects, but there's something so, well, so peaceful about the quiet movements and everyday kitchen sounds of pouring, bubbling, scraping, counter tapping, and mixing. And the video quality is, to my untrained eye anyway, expertly done.
Included above is a link to one of these videos. See what you think about the recipe ideas, the presentation, and even the possibility of increased relaxation while watching. You might even find other things you like on his site - for local people, he has a travel vlog on his visit to Portland (OR) and gives a lot of helpful information on local vegan restaurants!
If you are depressed right now, feeling isolated, lonely, and in pain, you may need to reach out and ask for help. Sometimes our feelings of depression come and go and come back again, and we function and go on with our daily lives without intervention. This can still be lonely, and it can feed the feelings of hopelessness, loss of interest, lack of motivation, and suffering.
No one can read your mind or make you tell them you're not okay. The following is an exercise designed for those moments in which you need help, but it's still your secret. You can do this mindfulness exercise in five minutes from whatever quiet place is nearest you, and it can bring a sense of immediate relief, in some small way. You may also want to practice this at times when you're not feeling down. it can be a way to practice changing your thinking habits or simply feel the humanity of compassion.
Positive Connection Through Painful Emotions - 5 minutes
1. Think of a situation that causes you stress. You may be in that situation now.
2. Turn your attention to what is happening on the inside, to your feelings and thoughts.
3. Open the door to the intensity of the emotions for a moment, or allow yourself to recall the highest intensity you ever remember experiencing this pain.
4. Now say to yourself: "This is a moment of suffering." You may call it suffering or pain, but if you can label it more specifically, do so, e.g. resentment, guilt, self-loathing, regret, or grief.
5. Now tell yourself: "This [suffering] is a part of life." Think of all the people around you who may have experienced this feeling in their lives, and imagine people around you in greater and greater circles until you have included all the people in the world.
6. Know you are connected. Place your non-dominant hand over your heart and say: "I am not alone in my suffering (or pain, or struggle). May I become patient with this, and with myself."
7. Finally, as you take in four deep breaths, repeat any words that feel comforting, ring true, or bring softness. Patience. Kindness. Acceptance. Peacefulness. Yes.
I am Lisa and I believe we create our reality. I hope to help empower people to create more mindfully, be kind to oneself and others including animals and the environment, and just generally feel better.