In today’s modern society, we can easily forget that we are the controllers of our reality and how we build our model of the world. Moreover, that “our reality” is not made up of outside influences, but that it actually consists of our thoughts, beliefs and mindset. Those outside influencers are an experience, but it is how we “choose” to process them that forms our reality. Everything on our little planet (and beyond) are all energy; which means, tapping into energy can allow us to experience a deeper…well… experience. Understanding brainwaves is the first key to unlocking our subconscious. It’s time to dig deep.
Most people understand that brainwaves have something to do with the electrical activity of the brain, but understanding some of the basics of your brain and brain wave states is very useful as well. By understanding how your brain goes in and out of certain brainwave states, you can learn to take advantage of each state; to be more productive, creative, and even to be able to learn how to relax and restore the body, mind and spirit.
All brain cells communicate via electrical signals (hence the waves). Your brain contains about 100 billion neurons, which is well over the number of stars in in the sky. Each neuron is connected to about 10,000 other neurons, making for about 100 to 500 trillion neuron-to-neuron connections in the brain; which at the present moment science still does not fully understand. What we do know is this… “The neurons that fire together, re-wire together.” Thus, what we think, we become. The brain has the power to change.
Brain activity has a pulse, a beat, or frequency that corresponds to it’s level of current activity – much like a flicker of a light. These brain beats, or brainwaves, happen at a variety of speeds. For example, during deep sleep, the brain will flicker or beat about 3 times per second. During high-focused thinking, the brain might flicker or beat as much as 50 times a second.
Modern technology allows us to tap into brainwave frequencies and or “patterns” and with a little auditory help, we can learn to use our brain more efficiently – to restore, rejuvinate, build our internal vision boards, etc. Different brainwave frequencies or breats have been shown to connect to different “states of mind,” which corresponds to a spectrum of subjective experience. If you can access the right state you can also experience and illicit suggestions like “you are currently experiencing excellence,” or “go forth with confidence,” or “you can succeed with ease and grace,” – this is what we call a guided experience. You can ask your subconcious or you can have a coach guided you, either way the lower more relaxed states are easy to tap into if you know how.
Your brain naturally cycles through the brainwave states during the day. It is not as if, we are stuck in one all day or at any one time. Every 90 minutes or so, your brain requires a break or a shift let’s say and it must slow down its activity. This cycle is known as the ultradian rhythm, or basic rest and activity cycle (BRAC).
A well known technology used since the mid 1900’s is known as “Brainwave entrainment” or “brainwave synchronization,” which is any practice that aims to cause brainwave frequencies to fall into step with a periodic stimulus having a frequency corresponding to the intended brain-state, like falling asleep or inducing relaxation. This stimulus can be known as binarual and monarual beats.
This effect is produced in the brain, not in the ears as with monaural beats. Thi is produced by the neural output from the ears and created within the olivary body within the brain, in its attempt to “locate” the direction of the sound and creates a subjective experience.
The slower the beat or frequency, the more relaxed you will feel. These frequencies are generally classified into 5 groups (from slow to fast): delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma.
The 5 Brain Wave States:
Beta (14-40Hz) : Our Waking Consciousness & Logical Reasoning State
Beta brain waves are associated with normal waking consciousness and a heightened state of alertness, logic and critical reasoning. Now, this sounds like a great place to be in, and it is if you are a high functioning induvidual, but it can also be the state that increases stress, anxiety and can lead to depression and mental health problems if you are in this state too much and for too long. Hence, we need to learn how to tap into various states to properly maintain balance.
Delta (0.5-4Hz): Deep Sleep State
Delta brainwaves have a frequency of about 4 beats or less per second, as if the brain is breathing slowly and heavily. The brain generally only enters the delta state during the deepest stages of sleep, appropriately known as “slow-wave sleep”.
Theta (4-7.5Hz) : Light Meditation and REM Sleeping State
Theta brainwaves are associated with dreaming and REM-stage sleep and sometimes light sleep. This is where brain activity beats anywhere from 4 to 7 times per second. But theta also occurs several times throughout the day. If you’ve ever “zoned out” while driving or otherwise went on mental “auto pilot”, that means you entered theta.
In running, when you are in the zone; that’s also theta. Deep meditation is another example of this deep trance like state.
Theta can be used for creative flow states, where ideas seem to come effortlessly. During accelerated learning programs theta is the state that coaches usually want thier students to be able to tap into because this is where idea generation can stem from.
Alpha (7.5-14Hz): Deep Relaxation State
Alpha brainwaves have a frequency of 7 to 13 beats per second. The alpha wave state is a sign of deep relaxation while awake. Like theta, it can be used in hypnosis (trance work) and accelerated learning. While in deep meditation, you can notice that just by deep breathing and tapping into lower energy, you can lower your frequency to the alpha and theta states, and sometimes even increase the frequency to beta states.
Gamma ( above 40Hz) – The Deep Introspective & Insight State
The Gamma range is the most recently discovered and is the fastest frequency at above 40Hz. While little is known about this state of mind,research shows Gamma waves are associated with bursts of introspection, enlightenment and insight and high-level information processing. Long periods of meditation and internal processing can lead us into a deeper state or states of consciousness. While this sounds very “kumbaya” it is scientifically proven to improve all areas of both our internal state of being, our physcial form and how we present ourselves in the world and how we respond to the changing environment. In short, it leads to personal evolution!
Ride the wave:
Most of the time your brain is firing at different frequencies; therefore, the goal isn’t to achieve one frequency, it’s to establish a synchronicity between frequencies and establish an equilibrium.
Brainwave synchrony measures just how well coordinated the different parts of your brain are. A brain in which all its neurons tend to fire at the same frequency would be highly synchronous.. The 3 main states involved with levels of relaxation, introspection and calmness are; delta, theta and alpha frequencies.
My Waves: Beta and Theta
After careful R&D, I have come to realize that the majority of my day is in Uptime or Beta and Theta and nearing the end of my day I am still quite… high strung. Does this sound familiar? In order to re pattern and bring more balance into my own life, I have realized that I need to carve out more time in my day to relax. Once way to better understand these relaxation states is before bed or during times of meditation. For me, this is my 20mins in the morning of slow movement and yoga and an hour before bed. What has helped me prepare for sleep and utilizing more of my potential in delta and alpha (even more theta) is through guided brain entrainment and neuro synchronization.
To experience this, try these neuro-synchronizers before bed or for meditation. Not only will then help you sleep, but they will also “suggest” to your brain to process and filter for improved sleep, relaxation and overall well-being:
. 1. Neuro-Synchronization- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xRYmP1WAF4
2. Binaural Deep Sleep – http://youtu.be/1l13TSFrNgM
3. Binaural and Monaural Beats – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOGw7zNEhQw
Thought Models NLP – http://www.thoughtmodels.com/
Brain Entrainment / Vibrational Sound Therapy:
- ref 1 -Stanford University Publication (CCRMA): http://www.stanford.edu/group/brainwaves/2006/index.html
- Brainwave Entrainment CerebroWave: http://www.cerebrowave.com/resources/brainwave-entrainment/
Chronic Pain & Real Time Process:
- Ted Talk by Christopher deCharms: A look inside your brain in real time:” http://www.ted.com/talks/christopher_decharms_scans_the_brain_in_real_time.html