Breaking down your brain waves Part II
This is the second of a four part series here on the blog. If you haven’t read part I on beta brain wave states. Stop, check out part I here, and then come back to this post. I’m going to provide you all with a very brief but hopefully informative introduction to the topic of brain waves and why knowing brain wave states can be a game changer when you’re trying to make lasting changes or reduce stress.
There are 4 brain wave states ranging from high frequency, low amplitude to low frequency, high amplitude and each state corresponds with a different type of functioning. the 4 brain wave states are as follows:
Beta: fastest frequency, lowest amplitude - associated with work, focused attention, analytical thought, focus on time and/or environment, and stress states.
Alpha: slower frequency higher amplitude than beta - associated with relaxed mind/body states
Theta: even slower frequency and higher amplitude than alpha, associated with flow states, early childhood, and falling asleep
Delta: the slowest frequency and highest amplitude - associated with deep, restorative sleep
Alpha is the next brain wave state we are going to talk about, a state that’s engaged when you’re in a relaxed state. These brain waves operate at a slower frequency, but slightly higher amplitude than beta brain waves. Alpha brain wave state is often associated with a relaxed body and/or mind state as well as creativity. People will have great ideas, or be in the creative zone when they are in an alpha brain wave state. You might slip into an alpha brain wave state when you are in the shower, floating in a pool, engaged in something creative like playing music or creating art, laying down for bed, walking or running, meditating or practicing yoga. I used to be a long-distance runner before beginning my yoga practice, and in reflection, I realize all of the exercise methods I’ve enjoyed, and been able to sustain, have been alpha-inducing exercises. Even though running increases cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body, I believe it feels so good because runners are often able to get into the more replenishing alpha brain wave state while doing so. Alpha brain wave states are most active at two times during the day: first thing in the morning when we are transitioning out of the sleep state, and as we fall asleep. Interestingly, the subconscious mind is supposedly more accessible when you’re in an alpha brain wave state than in beta. This means that what you take in through the senses or focus on in such a state has more of an opportunity to shift your subconscious mind. Recorded affirmations are a great thing to listen to when in an alpha brain wave state. Thus I recommend affirmations first thing in the morning, as you fall asleep, while you’re in the shower, or while you walk or run since they would have more efficacy during these times. Majority of personal growth, business, and success literature suggests you engage in your growth habits (e.g. affirmations, meditation, goal-setting) during the peak alpha times of first thing in the morning or just before retiring to bed. Alpha brain wave state is a much more replenishing mental state, giving us a break from the more depleting, sometimes stressful beta brain waves.
What this means:
This means that getting into alpha brain wave state is critical for creativity, innovation, recharging, and paradigm shifts. Because the subconscious mind is more accessible in alpha brain wave states, if you’re trying to make changes, heal childhood or emotional trauma, change your self-esteem, or just shift your mindset, alpha brain wave states are critical. If you believe in law of attraction, alpha brain wave state is one of the brain wave states which will allow you to slip into the quantum field, or vortex, as some people call it, and to attract what you’re wanting. Inspiration comes from alpha brain wave states. Amazing physical feats come from alpha brain wave states. So, if you’re trying to recharge, create, or make lasting changes, the first step you should take, is to create an environment conducive to alpha state. This means, finding a comfortable environment with relaxing sounds, smells, or sights, and then trying to relax. I can practice yoga when I’m what I refer to as “trying too hard” in which I really pushing my body to the limits noticing how everybody else is doing (beta brain wave mode), or I can relax, try to get into the flow, and focus my attention internally. The latter method, would be more likely to help me shift into alpha state. You’re more likely to be in an alpha state when you’re relaxed, internally focused, unaware of your environment or time, or engaged in rhythmic movement of some kind.
Activities/Circumstances that promote alpha state
Warm water of any kind: showers, hottubs, baths, pools
Right before you go to bed and right after you wake up
Consciously relaxing the body or performing a body scan
Focusing on the space and air that surrounds your body
listening to alpha binaural beats with headphones
Engaging in an activity which feels automatic (that you can perform on autopilot without much thought)
Exercise in which you don’t have to be as externally focused: running, walking, yoga, tai chi
Long drives down long stretches of highway (without traffic)
Engaging in creative work of some kind : art, playing music, etc.
Try to engage in some kind of alpha activity at least once/day (preferably throughout your day) in order to keep your mind healthy, keep you recharged, and connect you with your must creative, inspired, intuitive self!