There are five brain waves that help humans function throughout our lives. Each has a specific purpose, and when they all work together, life is a fabulous cupcake. When they don’t, they create problems within our bodies and environment. Don’t despair; here’s a quick explanation of our brain waves, why this matters, and what you can do about them.
According to Andy Shaw of A Bug Free Mind, 99% of all people go through life mentally unaware. So, are you aware or unaware? Ever notice a car on the road with you, then five minutes later have no idea where it went? Ever eat a batch of brownies and have no idea how many you ate when their all gone? Ever been in a car wreck and said something like, “He came out of nowhere!” If the answer to either of these is “yes,” then you were mentally unaware during those moments. This is bad; well, at best, extremely Matrix-y. Your ego is running your life on autopilot, which slows down learning curves, and in turn lowers performance ability. Which ones do we need more? Which ones do we need less?
The bottom line is we need them all. All five brain waves work at the same time, but each wave has a specific purpose, so when we do certain activities, the corresponding wave becomes stronger than the others for that period of time. However, if one wave overpowers the others for too long, our body eventually suffers. We can experience weight loss, weight gain, or serious digestive issues. We may have problems sleeping, which in turn causes headaches, inability to focus or learn new things, and heightens irritability.
- Beta Waves. Our fast Beta waves are responsible for focus, memory, and problem solving. We are in this state most of the time, since Beta waves deal with making quick decisions as we maneuver our day. Because of their speed, Beta waves also take a major amount of energy. This explains why some people are exhausted after an “easy” day at home with the kids or sitting in an office cubicle all day; even though they did not perform manual labor, they used large amounts of energy as they made several decisions throughout the day.
- Gamma Waves. These are the fastest brain waves, and they are responsible for our learning: they take outside information and rework it so we learn it. They are also responsible for our REM sleep, which doctors claim as important for—yep, you guessed it: learning. We spend most of our lives in these Beta and Gamma states, but that is not always a good thing. When these two waves get too active, they interfere with the other waves, even “blocking” some and keeping them from doing their jobs. I think we all know the effects of consuming too much caffeine or sugar (or both)! Stress, hyperactivity, and loss of sleep are all results of overworked Beta and Gamma waves.
- On the other end of the EEG spectrum, Delta waves are the slowest of the brain waves. Delta waves are responsible for restorative sleep, our involuntary system (functions we have no control over such as digestion), and our immune system. All of these are stronger when the Delta waves are happily humming. On the flip side, our health becomes compromised in all sorts of ways when Delta waves are “blocked” or overrun by the other brain waves; we suffer digestion issues, we become susceptible to things like the simple cold and headaches. Interesting note here: the Delta waves disappear when we go under anesthesia.
- Theta waves occur in both sleep and deep meditation, and they are responsible for what happens in our daydreams as well as nightmares. They make our unconscious fears and hidden desires.
- The last wave is the Alpha wave, which is what you’re going to strengthen just a tad bit today. The Alpha wave is called the resting state of the brain. (See why it might be needed after using Beta and Gamma waves all day?J) Alpha waves work between Beta and Theta frequencies, and when we are in Alpha state, all functions improve: memory, learning, sleep, intuition, creativity, calmness and alertness. When the Alpha waves are blocked, we can still operate, but we may get a little fuzzy-headed or cranky because we didn’t get enough sleep. All the waves work together, but the Alpha wave is the connector—think of it as a power strip for all the brain waves–and helps us function as lean, mean, fighting cupcakes! Ha!
Don’t get too bogged down in this. Just know that any time we change our perception of something, we actually change our Alpha brain wave pattern, so you’ve been doing this unconsciously your whole life. Way to go! If you need more information, Mindvalley Academy, Mental Health, and Brainworks have easy readings that can get you started.
If you are reading this, you are in Beta and Theta waves. Finish the article, then try some of the techniques listed below to help you reach Alpha stage.
- Listen to soothing music with a slow tempo. It has been proven that classical music helps both sides of the brain communicate faster without effort. This means more creativity, better writing, and better problem solving skills. Sorry, my friends, but for this exercise, “soothing” and “slow” means no AC/DC or Pit Bull.
- Focus on yourself. Try to meditate, pray, or find “no mind” for 15-20 minutes every day. (If you need a refresher course on “no mind,” you can find my blog here). For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about and do not pray, that’s OK. Hang out by yourself on the back porch for a little while, and watch the sun set/rise. Look at your garden, if you have one. Take this time to do nothing, except watch the grass grow. Allow yourself not to think about anything except your breathing.
- Walk on healthy grass with bare feet. Try it for 15-20 minutes. This is a great way to stretch your feet. It also releases certain pressure points, which will travel up through your body and release other tense areas. You will feel energized and happy; well, at the very least, better.
- Get a massage. Think about it: it takes 30 minutes or more, there is soothing music in the background, and you are not allowed to use your phone. Need I say more? If you’re on a budget, I say you need to splurge on yourself once a month, and take a hot bath with Epson salts or essential oils several nights a week. Epson salt has magnesium, which draws impurities out of your body, and can help sore muscles. Essential oils are known to encourage relaxation and keep the skin supple.
- Breathe Deeply. Most of us are unaware of our breathing. We breathe quickly or hold our breath when we are tense, and if we are not relaxed when we go to bed, we can suffer from interrupted sleep. While most practitioners can get to Alpha stage in 3 deep breaths, beginners usually need 10. Deep means your whole torso rises when you inhale through your nose, and your belly button moves toward your spine when you exhale. You can do this anywhere, anytime, and you should practice as often as possible: when you wake up, while you’re in the car, right before you go to bed.
So, what habits do you practice to achieve Alpha State? Feel free to share, as it always produces a Karma boomerang! I would love to hear your stories.
As always, let me know how you’re doing,
and stay frosted!