What are brain wave states and why should you care?
Well, you are always in one brain wave state or another 24/7. Different brain states make you feel, think, and act in different ways. Most of the time, we do not try to control our brain states, so they bounce around from state to state depending on the circumstances life throws at us.
What if we consciously CHOSE to go from 1 brain state to another intentionally to get a certain outcome?
Here is what I mean: Certain brain states give you more creativity, insight, and healing. Other brain wave states are better for learning and planning.
Getting into the RIGHT brain wave state depending on what you are wanting to accomplish can be extremely powerful! Below are the main brain wave states and what thinking patterns are associated with them.
Brain Wave States
1. Gamma: : This is the state of hyperactivity and active learning. Gamma state is the most opportune time to retain information. This is why educators often have audiences jumping up and down or dancing around — to increase the likelihood of permanent assimilation of information. If over stimulated, it can lead to anxiety.
2. Beta:: Where we function for most of the day, Beta State is associated with the alert mind state of the prefrontal cortex. This is a state of the “working” or “thinking mind”: analytical, planning, assessing and categorizing.
3. Alpha: Brain waves start to slow down out of thinking mind. We feel more calm, peaceful and grounded. We often find ourselves in an “alpha state” after a yoga class, a walk in the woods, a pleasurable sexual encounter or during any activity that helps relax the body and mind. We are lucid, reflective, have a slightly diffused awareness. The hemispheres of the brain are more balanced (neural integration).
4. Theta::We’re able to begin meditation. This is the point where the verbal/thinking mind transitions to the meditative/visual mind. We begin to move from the planning mind to a deeper state of awareness (often felt as drowsy), with stronger intuition, more capacity for wholeness and complicated problem solving. The Theta state is associated with visualization.
5. Delta: Monks who have been meditating for decades can reach this in an alert, awakened state….most of us reach this final state during deep, dreamless sleep.
Most of the day (and most of our life) we are in beta. We are in that mode of over thinking, over analyzing, and constantly jumping from one task to the next.
Most people rarely take time each day to intentionally slow their brain waves, which is a real shame considering the incredible benefits that come from doing so.
Meditation is taking intentional time to focus and slow your mind. It is a time to stop the running mind of checklists, to-do’s, and worries. Depending on how wound up you are, going from beta, to alpha, and hopefully to theta may take some time, but I promise it is worth it.
Meditation and prayer are crucial for a successful, purpose-filled, joyful life. Taking this time to focus your thinking provides not only physical and mental benefits, but spiritual as well.
Because of social media, our attention spans are absolutely horrible. We cannot sit still and focus on 1 thing for 1 minute before our mind starts to wander. With such a wandering mind, it makes it hard to hear from God, get insight, or creative ideas.
Benefits of meditation
- Trains the mind to be able to focus on anything, at anytime, for any duration. (a lost art these days)
- Takes us into a deeper state of awareness, with stronger intuition, more capacity for wholeness and complicated problem solving.
- Allows us to hear from God, receive insight, and creative ideas
- Puts the body into a parasympathetic state which leads to healing, greater health, and a strong mind.
Super brain yoga is also another wonderful practice to train the mind.
How to Meditate
Take at least 10-60 minutes a day in silence to slow your brain waves and focus your attention.
- Sit straight and close your eyes and take a few deep breathes.
- Notice the smells and sounds around you. Notice how your body is feeling. Notice what is touching you and how that feels.
- Focus your attention on an anchor.
- Meditate on the Word
- Visualize your health, life, future
- Meditate on what you are grateful for