Knowledge of brainwave states and how to activate them gives us the power to change our state and mood.
There are four states, ranging from intense focus to light sleep. Depending on what we are doing or how we want to feel, we can specifically choose activities that stimulate the different frequencies.
When we are consciously alert and engaged in mental activities, our brain is in beta state. This is our default brainwave for lots of everyday activities, such as holding a conversation, giving a presentation or teaching a lesson.
When we alter our brain rhythm to alpha, we are slowing the brainwaves down. This is the state we are in when we sit down to rest, walk in nature or are absorbed in creating something.
Theta is the next slowest frequency. This is when we are in such a relaxed state that we don’t notice time passing. This state can occur during meditation, light sleep and repetitive tasks, such as running outside or taking a bath. We often experience an increased flow of ideas during this time.
Delta brainwaves are the slowest frequency. This is usually a deep, dreamless sleep. If we read in bed for a few minutes, we are likely to be in low beta. When we turn off the lights and close our eyes, the frequency will slow from beta to alpha to theta and, when we fall asleep, delta. When we wake up from a deep sleep, the frequencies increase. Sometimes, if we then lie in bed or sleep lightly for a few more minutes after the alarm, we stay in the theta state which can actually be a very productive and mentally creative time of day. This is why some people like to write in their journal straight away in the morning. Research has shown that although one brainwave is dominant at any given time, the remaining three are always present in the background.
Beta (14-30Hz) Normal conscious state, alert, focused
Alpha (8-13Hz) meditative, creative, imaginative, relaxed
Theta (4-7Hz) Meditative, light sleep, REM
Delta (0-4Hz) Deep dreamless sleep, restorative
If we want to de-stress, going for a walk, listening to music, doing something creative or having a bath are the perfect ways to slow down the mind and relax. There are so many benefits to activating an alpha or theta state more often and knowing that this is within our control is so powerful!