Theta Brain Waves
Theta brain waves are truly awesome (and even more awesome than alpha brain waves, if you can believe that.) After reading this you'll see why brain experts are *raving* about theta...
Note - if you're looking for my advice on the best binaural beats for YOU to access theta brain waves, my favourites are God Consciousness from Ennora and Theta Music Meditation from Unexplainable Store. They will do the job... Just remember to breathe deeply and relax, and you should be in theta within minutes!
Anyway, this article will show you why theta brain waves rock - and show you how to experience them yourself - but as a teaser we're looking at reported cases of "super learning", enhanced creativity with generation of new ideas, and deep, deep relaxation. Sweet.
The problem is, theta waves are very difficult to experience through conscious effort. In fact, we tend to only ever dip into theta in those hard-to-remember moments just before we drop off to sleep, when we're neither awake nor passed out.
Needless to say, this isn't the best time to be experiencing our greatest moments of creativity and learning (unless you drift off to sleep thinking of very different things to me... :)
Read on and I'll show you how to reach the theta state. But first...
Theta Brain Waves - What You Need To Know
Theta waves are very slow... even slower than alpha waves, which in turn are slower than beta waves... which... well, you get the point.
As mentioned above, we typically only drop into the theta state just before we go to sleep, or when we're dreaming (REM sleep). When we do manage to consciously stumble upon theta, it is often "indicative of deep reverie, mental imagery, and access to memories", to quote author Michael Hutchison.
So, it's like dreaming while awake. Sounds fun to me.
Oh, before I forget, here's the science - you can find theta brain waves between 4 and 7 Hz. The only state slower than this is the state of delta brain waves - which is the state of deep, dreamless sleep. Even Zen Masters find it hard to stay conscious there, so let's not get too carried away and stay focussed on theta for the time being.
OK, since you're probably actually just excited about experiencing theta brain waves yourself, I'll try to be brief here and list out the main benefits. I've managed to find a few experts to back me up here, as well...
Relaxation with Theta Brain Waves
Simply put, when your brain is producing theta brain waves, you will feel deeply, deeply relaxed.
Kind of like being a calm, serene Zen meditator. Or similar to when you're on a lilo at sea, just gently bobbing in the ocean, with the sun beating down on you.
Or when you roll over in bed early on a Sunday morning, delight in realising that you don't have to get up to go to work, and go back to sleep immediately with a huge grin on your face. It's all awesomeness and happiness and chilled-out-ness all round.
Well, enough of my opinion. Let's ask some of the pros.
Nice. Even the most chilled amongst us (are there many any more?) could do with a heightened sense of inner quiet, where the "monkey mind" brain gives up for a while and just lets us be.
Dr Thomas Budzynski, one of the world's foremost authorities on bio-feedback, said that theta brain waves produce "a sensation of detached relaxation" with "results ranging from... drowsy, (hypnotic) like states, to vivid, holograph-like images".
Now, I'm not too sure if I've seen holographic images, but I do know that when I play with theta binaural beats I often get vivid, powerful pictures in my mind - ranging from real memories to psychedelic spectrums of colours to powerful visualizations of my future. It's a lot of fun.
Now, let's finish our bit on relaxation with another quote from Dr Budzynski. He says that brainwave entrainment tools:
"promote a state of relaxation - at the simplest level people report that they feel pretty relaxed and pretty good. It seems to have a tranquillizing effect for individuals who are quite anxious and high-strung. It tends to quiet them down for three to four days after a session"
Emphasis mine - just to show you how powerful just 30 minutes of theta brain waves can be.
Cool, let's move on.
Increased Creativity with Theta Brain Waves
This is one of my favourite things about binaural beats and isochronic tones: I genuinely feel as if I'm becoming more creative - and having more ideas - every day.
Let's go back to the Greens at the Menninger Foundation briefly. They found that people who accessed theta brain waves had "new and valid ideas... not primarily by deduction, but springing by intuition from unconscious sources..."
Hmm. Pretty powerful / unusual, no? How's your intuition or six sense going at the moment? (And no, I don't mean have you seen the film with Bruce Willis ... :)
Could you do with a bit more intuition or creativity in your life?
Would you like to have ideas and insights flashing regularly into your brain?
What do you think that could do for your career, finances or relationships? Etc etc ...
Anyway, it goes even further than that. As Michael Hutchison notes in his excellent book Megabrain, "The Greens are convinced that the theta state is not only conducive to memory and learning, but is the source of creative thinking..."
Emphasis mine again. This is getting pretty interesting.
Let's check in with another expert, chemistry professor Thomas Taylor from the Texas A&M. Taylor hooked a load of students up to an EEG machine (like you see in the movies with the sticky plastic pads with wires stuck all over people's heads) in an attempt to analyse 'synthesis thinking' - which is basically a nerd's way of saying "find out how people come up with new and creative ways to solve a problem".
Taylor found that "during the chance moment in which a difficult... concept suddenly 'made sense' (the subject) showed an abrupt change in brain wave patterns... in the theta range..."
Boom! Awesome. Even men in white coats (the good kind) are saying that theta brain waves are responsible for moments of creativity and "ah ha" moments.
Finally, to conclude this section, allow me to introduce you to Dr Roman Chrucky, Medical Director of the North Jersey Developmental Center, who had been using brainwave entrainment tools in his practice for some time.
Dr Chrucky notes "a lot of people spontaneously told me that they've felt much more creative... I've found that using the theta frequency I get that kind of response on myself as well, increased creativity..."
Sweet. Everyone rejoice, for with a little access to theta brain waves, we can all be happy, creative, intuitive superstars.
But it doesn't stop there...
Learning and "Super Learning" with Theta
Another brilliant thing about the theta state that it appears to be very useful for learning. This is a very good thing - because not only does learning feel nice, but typically people who continue to learn after school / university are more well-rounded, and arguably are more successful and earn more money too. High fives all round.
Let's first go back to bio-feedback world expert Dr Budzynski for more on this. He notes that theta brain waves, if used appropriately, could "dramatically boost one's learning abilities" and "enhances the absorption of the material ... (as) a lot of work gets done very quickly".
Sweet. Could you do with improving your capacity for learning? (Who couldn't?)
Oh, here's another genius thing about theta brain waves - when we're in that state, we tend to absorb whatever material we're presented with in an "uncritical fashion, thus circumventing certain resistances present in the fully conscious state".
Hmm... do you see how this could be a major breakthrough for you?
I'll give you a clue... How do you feel about money? Do you think you'll be rich, or do you worry about bills? Or... what do you think of yourself? Are you worthy of an awesome relationship, or will you just settle for the first person who comes along? Do you have your dream job or do you just do what you can to get by? Do you live life on your terms, or struggle desperately not to be noticed?
OK, no more probing questions. The point I was making is that we ALL have beliefs about ourselves stored at the subconscious level. There is more and more research suggesting that whatever we believe to be true (at this level), tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So... what would happen if you could *fast-track* the speed at which you changed your beliefs?
What would happen if you suddenly started to think like a rich person, seeing opportunities where before you noticed nothing?
Or how would you feel if you started to build up your self esteem, so that you could have the confidence to get the partner, job, or life that you want?
I've found that listening to empowering messages when in a level of theta brain wave activity helps me to absorb the message in an "uncritical fashion", allowing me to communicate with my subconscious at a deep, deep level, and thus make gains much faster than by conscious effort alone.
For example, I managed to treble my earnings working in sales after listening to guided theta binaural beats, and totally changed my beliefs about money in just a few months.
(Note - I'm not saying that this was the ONLY reason for my increase in wealth, but it CERTAINLY helped me to think about money in a more positive, empowering way - and then more cash began to flow to me)
The good news is there are loads of guided meditations which will not only take you into theta brain waves, but will make you feel good about yourself at the unconscious level too. These are some of my favourite types of brainwave entrainment - and you can get them on topics such as money, confidence, creativity, success, relationships, weight loss, smoking and more.
It's nice to tell your brain nice things, from time to time, you know...
Using Brain Wave Entrainment to Reach Theta
OK, first of all please allow me to be blunt: you will not find it as easy to access the theta state as you will to experience alpha.
It takes a little bit of practice - and the beats are stronger - so my advice is to get some alpha tones first, and when you're comfortable with them, move on (unless you're a mind adventurer, and are used to... ahem... mind altering substances, in which case you should be fine :)
When you're ready for theta brain waves, 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. Try to "let go" of your day, and just begin to float away.
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.
Just let your mind go and enjoy feeling relaxed and happy. My advice is to keep a pad and pen nearby, to use when those million dollar ideas start flooding into your mind :)
PS - if you want more info, you can also read what to expect with the Effects of Binaural Beats or Isochronic Entrainment.
Best Theta Brain Wave Binaurals
Whilst there is LOADS of choice at places like Unexplainable Store or Ennora, this can get a little confusing for beginners.
If you want to have a shop around and look for yourself, awesome, I'd recommend visiting Unexplainable 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 theta 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).
Alternatively, have a go at one of my tried and tested favourites ...
Here's my top 3 for Theta Brain Waves:
1) Theta Music Meditation from Unexplainable Store. Yep, you guessed it, this is a meditation MP3... with music. Boom. This is a nice, simple, powerful 20 minute session 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 theta brain waves. Simple and understated, my favourite.
2) Zen Mind Meditation from Brain Wave Alchemy. This is a powerful download which promises a state of "mind awake, body asleep". 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 36 minutes.
3) God Consciousness from Ennora. Wow - quite a name, no? Hmm - well I don't know if I felt God, but I certainly felt something ... and at the time of writing, they have got a massive sale on, with downloads costing $11 (rather than $25), so you'd be mad not to leap at this if you're the spiritual type. This isn't the only reason to choose Ennora, however - this recording has got brilliant, soothing rain sounds, it works, and it certainly gave me the advertised "everything will seem perfect". 30 minutes long again. Good stuff, perhaps not one for the atheists though :)
OR - for a more detailed look, read my review of the Top Brain Wave Toys
I hope this article helped you to understand the power of your theta brain waves, and inspired you to explore them yourself. Good luck!
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