The mind operates at four predominant brainwave states or frequencies:
These different states are classified according to the speed of the predominant brainwave signals from one neurological point to another at any one point in time. This speed and frequency is measured in ‘Hertz’ and the figures are obtained using an Electrocardiogram (EEG) machine.
1. Beta: This is where our mind usually operates in daily life. In such a state we have full conscious awareness and attention of everything around us and usually only one side of brain is operating. Beta is usually typified by brainwave cycles of 15 to 40 Hz (cycles per second). Higher cycles of Beta Frequency usually equate to stress, anxiety and over thinking as the conscious mind becomes misguided or reacts negatively to a given situation. High brainwave beta frequency also equates to hypertension, increased heart rate, increased blood flow, cortisone production and glucose consumption. Generally speaking, you do not want to experience the high beta state too often if you are concerned about your health. (Some techniques are included later to ensure this does not happen)
2. Alpha: A mild daydream or light relaxation state. Operating in Alpha can be exemplified to when you are driving a car and just cruising around or when you get captivated into a good book and sort of lose track of what is happening around you. Meditation is usually aimed at achieving the Alpha state and the brain operates in cycles between 9Hz & 14Hz. Alpha is typified by partial conscious awareness and partial subconscious predominance at the same time. It is useful to absorb information when in Alpha and is considered to be highly desirable for more effective studying. Alpha promotes more of the left side of the brain to be used for processing.
3. Theta: A Deep relaxation state where the conscious mind is, for the most part, ‘switched off’, and the subconscious mind is left to flourish. This is usually typified by sleep, dreaming, and very deep relaxation and is where most hypnotists aim at taking their clients down to. Theta shows brainwave cycles operating at 5 Hz to 8 Hz. Theta is where ideas, visualizations and suggestion are more likely to enter the subconscious mind and consciously we become less aware of what is going on around us.
4. Delta: An Extremely deep relaxation/sleep state with complete subconscious operation. Delta is experienced in the deepest of sleeps and is interesting because it is proven that the physical body begins to recuperate and recover at a heightened level. You can be in waking delta if you are in an advanced state of meditation. This state is associated with ‘kundalini’ experiences. Delta is typified by slow brainwaves at 1Hz – 4Hz. It is interesting to note that a very skilled hypnotist, who can take the client into Delta, is able to perform such phenomena as using hypnosis as a replacement for anesthesia during various medical surgeries and this has been documented on numerous occasions medically and scientifically.
Natural and Artificial Manipulation Transition Between the Different States
Although the human mind naturally switches between the different states of mind according to the current environment, situation, people or happenings of the individual, it is possible to artificially stimulate the brain into the different levels. As an extreme example when we are involved in a serious accident or injury, people sometimes enter into a coma state. This is the brain’s way of performing an emergency response to automatically enter into the deepest realms of delta for heightened physical recovery, trauma protection and mental recovery. This is a very good example of the brain’s natural response to a situation where it lowers brainwave activity for instinctual protection means.
On the other hand, we can artificially induce a change in mental state for both positive and at times, not beneficial purposes. Stage hypnotists often invoke a sudden shift in brainwave frequency through a rapid hypnotic induction in the person to enter Theta for entertainment purposes. Although many people find this funny and it does illustrate the power of hypnosis, there is no real positive purpose in doing this other than to have a laugh. There are many examples of irresponsible use of these techniques for mass manipulation, and these are simply a tragic use of something that can be so powerfully used for positive change.
There are many ways to artificially invoke a person to operate at different brainwave frequency states. These include hypnosis, meditation, music and audio, massage, drugs, alcohol, yoga, pilates, video games, TV, driving, reading and many more. This can be very useful indeed. By learning the best way to lower your mind state to Alpha, Theta and even Delta, it is possible to create numerous positive emotional, mental and physical benefits. For instance hypnosis is fantastic to instate the client into theta and then responsibly use direct suggestion, which is more fully absorbed by one’s subconscious mind, to create permanent and lasting changes in the mind and body.
Meditation is also useful to achieve a light Alpha state wherein you can consciously process information and self suggestion to help change your emotions and feelings. Music and audio such as binaural beats, white noise, theta rhythm, nature recordings and other slow, repetitive trance inducing sounds can help you overcome insomnia and sleep better, perform self meditation, self hypnosis and achieve deep relaxation in the Alpha, Theta and at times, Delta realms. Deep relaxation on a consistent daily basis is proven to be advantageous for the mind and the body. It promotes clarity of thought, focus, better health and heightened mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
In any case, if you are constantly stressed and operating in the high Beta levels, or if you never truly relax and hit Alpha and Theta except for a few hours a night when you sleep, then it is recognized that you will not be emotionally or physically reaching your optimum level of health. Worse still it really can have significant effects on your overall health. This is important to note. Therefore if you are too busy, stressed or have developed certain conditions which affect you from achieving consistent deep relaxation, you will benefit immensely from using some of the aforementioned techniques to help lower your brainwave frequency and achieve some relaxation. This really could change your life for the better in ways you never thought were possible.
Giovanni Lordi – About the Author:
Giovanni is a qualified hypnotherapist, mesmerist & counsellor. He is also the author of a series of self hypnosis CDs & MP3s. His company, Resonanz Recordings, distributes many types of positive CDs & Mp3s throughout the world. Giovanni is especially interested in pushing the boundaries of, what we as humans are capable of, through exploring the deeper reaches of our minds.
- How to Practice Relaxation Meditation (joannewellington.wordpress.com)