There’s a lot going on right now. Politics. Mulled wine hangovers. It's enough to make any of us want to take to our beds with a few hours of soap-cutting videos.
Yes, you read that correctly. While politicians argue over Brexit, we’ll be watching nice videos of people slicing up soap. Aka the perfect #oddlysatisfying antidote to a deeply dissatisfying year (see also: the World Cup not coming home).
Now, without further ado, behold soap-cutting in all its glory. (And - yep, you guessed it - we really do not advise you try this at home for obvious knife -> hand reasons).
It sounds dull and yet soap cutting has become one of the biggest (and weirdest) video genres on the internet.
Basically, soap is to 2018 what slime was to 2017.
And they’re both off-shoots of the ASMR vids that have been casting a spell on our over-stimulated senses for years.
ASMR stands for ‘Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response’ and actually refers to the feeling of tingles that some people get when they watch certain visuals and hear a particular set of sounds. Classically, that means, people whispering into the camera or tapping on household objects. And over the last 12-months, Google Trends shows that we've become steadily more obsessed, while NY Mag described ASMR videos as the happiest place on the internet.
They might sound weird, but once you start, these videos can be wildly addictive.
The question is, why?
Social scientist Dr Karen Correia da Silva told BBC Three that these types of videos are a “departure from the text-heavy nature of our digital lives," which is why we find them so relaxing to watch.
“Since we process so much text on social media and on our phones, the tactile, physical nature of watching people cut soap, squish slime, or even eat honeycomb adds a sense of physical reality to our online experience.
“It’s also somewhat escapist, since these videos are purely sound and physicality - a departure from beautiful influencers or political content.”
A recent study by the University of Sheffield showed that ASMR might have benefits for both our physical and mental health. Those who said they felt the sensation during the videos had a reduction in their heart rate while watching - which is similar to the effects of other relaxation techniques, like mindfulness.
It’s still early days for research in this area, and some of us still have no idea quite why we find these videos so soothing. All we know is that, after spending hours watching them for *research*, we're probably never going to feel anger or pain again.
So here for your viewing delight are 2018's most #oddlysatisfying videos. If you don't get sucked in, you are made of stronger stuff than most of us.
Where can we learn to do this? And we want to set the next MasterChef skills test please.
You’re going to want the sound on for this one…
The star of 2018 (sorry Lady GaGa).
We might be here a while.
It is possible to burn this onto our retinas?
Ok, there might be some 'post-production' involved in this last one, but still - *adds kinetic sand to the Christmas list*.
You can thank us later.