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The brain’s activity can be understood and measured in the form of electrical waves. These are detected as differing frequencies and have been arranged into four categories, from the most to the least activity: Beta, Alpha, Gamma, Theta, Delta. Or: focused, relaxed, information processing, creative, resting/sleeping.
Beta waves are characteristic of a fully aroused mind, alert, active and engaged mentally and when we are most conscious of the external world. Beta waves are the fastest of the four types and are of low amplitude. High beta would be akin to focused, concentrated activity. Reading a book in bed before sleeping would be low beta.
Alpha waves are slower and higher in amplitude. Reflecting, meditating and resting are associated with the alpha state.
Theta waves are of even greater amplitude and slower frequency. It is akin to daydreaming. It can be induced by the repetitive nature of certain activities, such as motorway driving, performing household chores, shaving, taking a bath or shower. The tasks are familiar and automatic, freeing the imagination to play without guilt or censorship. It is a highly creative, positive mental state. We’re also in theta when we are in a semi-waking/sleeping drowsiness. This is when we are particularly receptive to ideas. Giving yourself suggestions when you are in theta, just before falling asleep is very powerful and likelihood of remembering such suggestions or information is high.
A variety of techniques have been known and practiced since ancient times which effectively slow the brain from beta functions. In this way masters of meditation have been able to be conscious in the sub-conscious realm and affect their bodily functions, such as reducing blood pressure and heart rate.
Delta waves are of the greatest amplitude and slowest frequency. Delta is deep, restorative sleep. We sleep in cycles, shifting from dreaming to non-dreaming. Active dreaming takes place when the frequencies raise to theta brain waves and REM (rapid eye movement) takes place.
Each brainwave state is operating at all times, even though one will be the most predominant.
Meditation has been shown as an excellent way to ßenable you to relax and enter a light meditative state: alpha, moving to theta, then returning via alpha to normal consciousness. By following the breathing procedure and closing your eyes, you can direct your mind away from the sensory stimuli of your external environment. The electrical activity of the brain slows, as does the neocortex and you are able to use your imagination to reformat some of your programming. The mind becomes less distracted by and reactive to the external environment and more focused on its thoughts. It is a highly creative state and an opportunity to use recreation for re-creation.
In our modern world we are actively encouraged to remain for long periods with a beta wave left-brain focus. Because this part of the brain likes to analyse the world around it, it contributes to a build up of beliefs around what is seen. It is reactionary rather than creative and it sees only a ‘slice’ of what is going on, rather than the whole picture. Often what the left-brain considers to be logical and rational, however is highly partial and assumption forming. It bases much of its decision on limited information that has been deliberately selected by the brain’s filtering systems, while screening out other information that doesn’t ‘fit’ with a preconceived idea. In this sense, it is almost impossible for a human being to be objective in the literal meaning of the word, as the brain is totally partial, even prejudicial, in the information that it brings to the attention of the conscious mind. To understand why, we need to understand how the brain alerts you to the information it gathers about your world via your senses.
Gamma Brain waves have the smallest amplitude and oscillate within the range of 40 Hz to 70 Hz. They are the brain’s information and sensory-binding brainwave that is able to link and process information from all parts of the brain. Having high amounts of Gamma Brainwave activity has been associated with: having high levels of intelligence, being compassionate, having high amounts of self-control, and feelings of natural happiness, and the ability to process large amounts of information in relatively small amounts of time.
Gamma Brain Waves have also been linked to having a great memory and an increased perception of reality. Gamma Brainwave activity is responsible for making smells more powerful, increasing your visual acuity, sharpening your hearing, and making foods taste better!