Alpha brain waves are awesome.
Well, they are definitely
better than beta brain waves - particularly when it's time to relax,
calm down and chill out after a hard day at work ...
... (unless you enjoy being wired
and thinking a million thoughts per second all day long and then not
sleeping as a result, of course :)
article will introduce
you to alpha brain waves in all their
awesomeness, and show you why you - yes *you* - are probably not
enough time in the alpha state. Luckily, I'll give you some tips on how
to address this too.
Quick Recap: Alpha Brain Waves v Beta Waves
Cue the theme tune from Rocky.
It's a show down between these two brain frequency heavyweights.
To recap (in case you're new, or haven't been
paying attention) our normal
waking brain frequency is beta.
For those of you who need to
know exact numbers, these rapid brain waves vibrate at a frequency of about 13 to 30 Hz
(pronounced 'hertz'). Whilst admittedly not Grand Canyon-esque in its
proportions, this is still a wide range - meaning there is scope for all kinds of different experiences
Some are cool (i.e. the ability
to think and speak and make jokes and be hilarious) whilst others are
not so cool (i.e. feeling anxious and stressed and and having what wise
Zen Masters call the 'Monkey Mind'...)
Sometimes it's nice to just
feel relaxed and chilled, and well, happy. So cue our own internal Zen
Master - the alpha brain waves.
These waves vibrate at a much more
manageable 8 to 13 Hz. They are associated with relaxation, meditation
Alpha brain waves are more rhythmical, and when you
are caught up in their midst you are likely to be paying attention to
your inner experience,
rather than what's going on around you.
Have you ever just stopped to
take a minute and felt chilled, relaxed and a bit warm inside? With a
little bit of a sense that everything is going to turn out alright in
the end? Or took some slow, deep breaths whilst sitting quietly and
suddenly felt transported to a nicer, more peaceful place? Or taken a
solitary walk in a forest or by a lake and just felt ... well, nice?
That's the alpha state for you,
in all its understated awesomeness. Sweet.
The Relaxation Response
This is a pretty cool idea,
coined by Dr Herbert Benson from Harvard Medical School. Basically, the
wise doctor was looking at top performers to see why they can remain
cool as the proverbial cucumber whilst under pressure.
He found that an ability to
access the relaxation response - characterised by, you guessed it,
alpha brain waves - was massively
beneficial to the body and mind; and not just when under stress,
but at any time.
Some of the major benefits, reported in Michael
Hutchison's excellent book Megabrain, include a reduction in
heart rate, blood pressure and sweating ...
... combined with a greater
functioning of the digestion system, deeper relaxation of muscles, andan increase in the
percentage of oxygen and blood flowing to the brain.
Sweet. There's a lot of good
stuff right there. It's basically the opposite to what smoking and
booze does to you :)
Additionally, people who can
access this state tend to demonstrate superior performance on both
physical and mental tests.
Now, you may be familiar with
this relaxation response - also known as the quieting reflex - even if
you don't experience it much yourself.
If you've ever watched a cat or dog flit between
states of intense mental arousal (playing, fighting, eating) and utter
Zen'd chilled-out-ness (look up, stop, lay down, sleep) in about ten
seconds flat, you've pretty much got the gist of what this powerful
state can accomplish.
Us humans seem to have lost the
ability to access this state at will. Some of us try meditation, deep
breathing exercises, yoga and the like - but, well, that's a lot of
work - and some of us are busier focussing on world domination and
other such plans to commit to a daily meditation practice.
Additionally, it's not easy to
just "jump" into the alpha state. As binaural beats expert Jim McElwee
says: "the Alpha state isn't
easy to just naturally 'achieve' out of nowhere, unless you know how to
do it consciously. The very act of raising to an Alpha level can take
years of study to achieve..."
Well, fear not, my beta brain
wave experiencing chum. This is whereBrain
Wave Entrainment(BWE) and binaural
beats come in. They do the (majority of the) hard work for you.
Using BWE to Experience Alpha Brain Waves
Simply put, it's easy for even
absolute beginners to access the alpha state within a few
minutes of trying out binaural beats or isochronic tones for the first
All you do is choose an
appropriate program (see below for my favourites), sit down somewhere
comfortable, pop some headphones in, and start to slow your breathing
down by taking some deep breaths.
And... er ... that's it.
Because brainwave entrainment
works without any conscious
effort on your part, you'll find yourself drifting into a
peaceful, calm and relaxed state within just a few minutes. It's
delightfully simple and fun and beneficial.
I make an effort to access my
alpha brain waves at least once a day, which helps me to feel more
centred, chilled, confident and less anxious.
If you want to have a shop
around and look for yourself, awesome, I'd recommend visitingUnexplainable as
it's easy to use, safe, and full of amazing MP3 downloads.
Just click on one of the topics
you're interested in when you land at their site (i.e. meditation,
creativity, lucid dreaming, astral projection or something else
suitably crazy) and then scroll down to choose a download that
specifically induces the alpha state. They start at around $10-$15.
Oh - you'll also need to choose
between binaural beats, isochronic tones and monaural beats. My
favourites are the isochronics (strongest and nicest on the ears).
top 3 for Alpha Brain Waves:
1) Alpha Music Meditation from Unexplainable Store. Yep, you guessed it, this is a meditation MP3...
with music. Boom. This is a nice, simple, gentle (and effective) 20
minute session which is awesome to use morning, noon or night. The
perfect choice for beginners, and (like all my recommendations)
guaranteed 100% to work every time. Find yourself drifting away with
this awesome recording, and start to reap the benefits of your
underused alpha brain waves.
2) Jedi Mind Trick from
Brain Wave Alchemy. Ok, ok, so it was
the name of this one that initially sold me (I'm a geek, after all), so
I was thrilled to find out that this is a brilliant little recording,
which makes you feel calm yet awesomely alive on the inside. I've just
stumbled across this company and I'm really impressed. They don't have
a huge choice (good for beginners) yet all this stuff is top quality.
Oh, this recording is longer at 30 minutes.
3) Crystal Clear Mind from Ennora. At the time of writing, they have got a massive
sale on, with downloads costing $11 (rather than $25). This isn't the
only reason to choose Ennora, however - this recording has got a
brilliant, soothing soundtrack (Native American flute, apparently), it
works, and it certainly gave me the advertised "heightened clarity and
insight". 30 minutes long again. Good stuff, perhaps a little more for
the girls than the Jedi one above.