Most of us live in our conscious thoughts, but about 95% of what we do – almost every action we take – is based on the subconscious programming of the mind. If we can learn how to alter our brainwave states we tap into more of our subconscious thought patterns and thus change them to be more positive, uplifting and insightful.
First, let’s talk about the five main brainwave states (beta, alpha, theta, delta, and gamma) although there are at least seven that have been measured by modern scientific instrumentation, and likely even more that are not measurable as of yet.
Each of these states is indicative of a certain type of thinking – with beta being our most common waking state. It is associated with logical thinking but is also where we tend to get stressed and anxious. So, while it can be beneficial to involve logic in many of our daily activities, it is best to induce some of the other brain waves states that help us tap into our creativity, intuition, insight, and even the Cosmic Consciousness and Cosmic Intelligence.
How Brainwave States are Measured
Your brain’s cerebral cortex contains millions of neurons that make connections with other neurons for trillions of possible neuronal networks. These networks or pathways are connected via dendrites, that look like tree branches extending out from brain cells. They receive input from other parts of the body, notably the nervous system, and also send information back out to the body. This electrical activity along the neuronal pathways in the form of nerve impulses are active even while we sleep. When they are gone, this signifies death in the medical field.
So, as long as you are breathing, you will have electrical brain activity. This activity can be measured and reflects how your brain is talking to itself and other parts of the body. This activity can be measured using an instrument called an electroencephalogram, or an EEG.
Just one square-millimeter of your brain’s cortex contains more than 100,000 neurons, and when electrical activity is measured therein, it makes a “wave” on the EEG machine. These waves look like brain rhythms because they are. The brain tends to move into a chaotic or relaxed state based on the rhythms that are present, or the waves that we measure on the EEG.
If you think of brain waves like a lake or pool, you’ll see that a few big waves make the surface of the water roll in relative calm, and lots of small waves make the surface of the water look choppy. So, it is with our thoughts and our brain activity.
These waves of rhythms are recorded in the EEG are named alpha, beta, delta, theta, and gamma, and are measured in frequency and amplitude (cycles per second) called Hz. Without getting too technical, they can be measured down to the microvolt which is 1/1,000,000 of a volt of electrical energy. Each of these states indicates a certain level of brain activity as well as a specific state of consciousness.
The 5 Brainwave States
Beta (14-40 Hz) – This brainwave state is where most of us live while we are awake. It is associated with critical thought, reasoning and logic. It is also where our inner critic lives, that likes to tell us things aren’t possible and that tends to be more negative.
This is simply a result of the brain’s evolution and was necessary to prevent us from death when the cortex started to develop in the hominid. We needed to know that lingering near a large tiger or eating poisonous berries would kill us, so logic was formed to indicate these dangers.
This is a necessary part of life, but not a brainwave state that you want to linger in all the time, as it can cause you to lose your creative insight, induce anxiety or depression, and keep you running from danger instead of embracing your destiny.
Beta also happens during deep sleep, though, so it has its uses which scientists are still trying to understand. These brain waves are usually associated with arousal – and may indicate memories or even the recall of trauma that the mind is trying to process.
Alpha (7.5 – 14 Hz) – This is the most common brainwave state of the adult who is awake but relaxed with their eyes closed. The minute you open your eyes, you usually fall out of the alpha state and go into beta. This is why ancient meditative practices have you close your eyes, or at least gaze down, so that you can minimize external stimulation that induces beta activity.
Only highly adept meditation practitioners can “be in this world but not of it” and stay in a calmer brainwave state once external stimuli are in their periphery.
Theta (4 – 7.5 Hz) This is the brainwave state which you want to induce to be relaxed, open to your internal guidance, and though alert, completely non-reactive and present. Both Delta and Theta brain waves indicate a low-frequency EEG pattern and while they are most prominent when we sleep, we can also train ourselves to have them in a waking state.
We can also more easily tap into our spiritual connection our intuition, and non-logical solutions to problems while in this brainwave state.
In fact, the border between alpha and theta (around 7.5 Hz) seems to be ideal for creative visualization and mind programming. If you want to learn something new, change an outdated belief, or visualize a different future, this is the ideal state to be in to do so.
Delta (.5 – 4Hz) This brainwave state is where the body restores itself. We are most commonly in delta when we are fast asleep. This is the realm of the subconscious mind. If you want to tap into its power, it is wise to state silently or visualize your ideal reality right when you go to sleep so that you can take that impression into the subconscious mind (or the collective unconscious as psychologist Carl Jung would say), and let it play with the ideas as you rest and dream.
Gamma (over 40 Hz) This brainwave state is the fastest frequency yet recorded and is relatively rare. It has been measured in meditating monks. This brainwave state seems to offer incredible insights and the ability to quickly digest tons of information.
To induce more theta or any of these brainwave states, the fastest way to do it is through deep breathing and meditation. As you breath more deeply you signal to your nervous system that you are calm and relaxed. When you close your eyes and sit in silence, even if for a few moments, while still aware, you give your mind a chance to get out of its chatter (the monkey mind) often associated with the beta state.
Try starting with just ten minutes of silent meditation and deep breathing daily and then expand that to longer periods as you are able. Soon you will notice that the calm you feel during those sessions spills over into other areas of your life. You’ll experience more insight, more creativity, and more of an ability to think rationally, but also with the help of Universal Mind to back you up.
The EEG doesn’t lie. Change your brainwave state, and you’ll change your reality. Try it for yourself.