Alpha brain waves are one type of brain wave that correspond to a certain state of consciousness. In terms of oscillations, they are measured by an EEG as 8-13 cycles per second.
You are probably wondering what they are good for and how being in the alpha state benefits you…
But first, let’s briefly touch on your states of consciousness when you’re in various brain wave states.
Most of the time, you spend your waking hours in the beta state. Beta brain waves are faster (13-40 cycles per second) and somewhat more chaotic than the alpha waves. When you’re in dreaming sleep or deep meditation, you are in the theta state – or, your brain waves are oscillating at 4-7 cycles per second. And when you’re in very deep dreamless sleep, you are in delta, which is 0-4 cycles per second.
Each brain wave state corresponds to a different state of consciousness – there is no one “perfect” brain wave state. A fun metaphor for this is comparing your brain to a car with four gears. First gear (delta) is slooooooow. You’re moving but barely plugging along. As you become more conscious, you shift into second gear and enter the deep meditation/dreaming sleep state of theta. Alpha is third, where you are still moving slowly – relaxed, enjoying the scenery – but you are moving at a reasonable speed and the miles are ticking away. Beta is fast (highway speed) at fourth gear. Great fun, and it gets you from here to there quickly, but it’s also potentially dangerous.
The trouble starts when we’re running our car in the wrong gear. For example: if you’ve ever been in deep, deep sleep and the alarm starts screaming that it’s time to wake up, you don’t jump out of bed all alert and ready to rock-n-roll. You are groggy, disoriented, and you have to force yourself into alertness. Usually, this is accompanied by stress of having to get to work on time… and you start thinking about the day ahead, and all the unwanted stuff that you’ll have to deal with… shifting your brain from first to fourth too quickly. You know what this feels like: you’re sluggish and tired, yet you’re forcing your brain into hyperdrive because you have STUFF TO DO.
So, being in any given brain wave state is great and useful – except when you need to be in a different state of consciousness. If you:
- can’t sleep, your brain is not in theta or delta, but spiking up into beta (which is why you can have stressful thoughts at night)
- can’t focus, your brain is not in beta
- have writer’s block or other creative blocks, you are not in alpha
- can’t control your emotions or think your way out of a complex situation, you are not in alpha
If you can learn to direct your brain to enter a specific state of consciousness when you need it, your life will improve!
Think about complex problem-solving, for example. Most of the time, your waking hours are predominantly spent in the beta state. Beta is characteristic of alertness, concentration, focus and a logical and rational way of thinking. That’s the good news. The bad news is, beta is also associated with stress. Can you “think straight” when you’re stressed out? No. Can you think out-of-the-box creatively when you’re stressed… or when your mind is in logical/rational mode that automatically dismisses seemingly illogical solutions? No.
Alpha brain waves are associated with relaxed alertness, enhanced learning, creativity, peak performance, imagination/visualization and intuition.
That’s why, if you spend more time in alpha during the day, your problem-solving skills will improve. That’s not to say you should be in alpha all the time while awake – you don’t focus as well and you’re not as quick with your thinking while in alpha. So, for optimal “daytime performance” you want to be shifting between third and fourth, or alpha and beta, whenever you need it.
The trick is just to learn how to create that shift when you need it!
You dip into the various brain wave states when you’re predominantly in one state – for example, you can dip into alpha while you’re in beta. Usually this happens very quickly and briefly. If you’ve ever had a flash of insight or a burst of intuition, it’s because you dipped into alpha for a nanosecond! You can spend more time in alpha, and get these benefits when you need them, not just randomly (WHY does that great idea always pop up exactly when you do not have something to write on??). that you miss out on if you’re in beta most of the time:
- You will be more creative.
- Your brain will stop producing stress hormones and start producing healing hormones, leading to stress release.
- You will be aware of intuitive guidance that typically gets rejected by the logical brain
- You will generate innovative solutions to problems instead of trying to solve problems with pure logic and reasoning.
- You’ll be able to give a peak performance if you allow yourself to relax into alpha just prior to the event. Athletes and anyone who needs to give their best will benefit from relaxing into alpha and visualizing success, just before the event.
- You will make great progress in self-improvement and self-reprogramming because you are more receptive to suggestion in alpha (which is why alpha is also great for learning).
- Beta is more ‘logic’ and alpha is more ‘feeling’ and when you can combine the two, you use your brain at a much greater and higher capacity.
How do you produce more alpha waves? By meditating! Use your Omharmonics meditation to spend time in alpha everyday; use the time to relax, visualize, let your imagination run wild with creative ideas, and just take the edge off.