Do you have trouble getting things done? Do you struggle with remembering what you just read? Do you find that it’s tough to get focused? Most of us struggle with these issues and more. In most cases, there’s nothing wrong with us. It’s just that we haven’t gotten our brain in the right state for the task at hand. For the times when you need concentration and focus, you must get your brain into Alpha State.
The Four Brainwave States
Neural oscillation (Brainwave activity) is the rhythmic or repetitive neural activity in the central nervous system. It has been studied since the 1920s and 1930s. Research over the years has shown that our brainwaves operate at different rates based upon what we are doing. Below are the four commonly agreed upon brainwave states (Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta).
Beta – Beta state is where our brain waves are operating at their fastest (14-28 cycles per second). This is the state that which we operate in our daily lives. We tend to be active, normal, and alert. We pay attention to everything around us with our attention being constantly divided. In Beta state we multi-task with ease and generate several ideas at a time. We energetically interact with others and are very responsive to needs and issues. Being in Beta state over extended periods of time can create stress and anxiety. It can lead to increased heart rate and hypertension.
Alpha – Alpha state is where our brain waves are operating at approximately 7-14 cycles per second. This is where we are in a light, relaxed, and partially conscious and sub-conscious state. In some cases, Alpha is considered a euphoric state. In Alpha state our brain absorbs information more easily. We tend to be relaxed and clear on the task at hand. Alpha state is useful for relieving stress, facilitating mental clarity, increasing verbal clarity, improving recall, promoting creative thinking, and enhancing performance. In some cases, Alpha state has been used to relieve pain. This is a great state for visualization and reflection.
Theta – Theta state is considered the deep relaxed state where brain waves operate at approximately 4-7 cycles per second. In this state we tend to turn the conscious mind off and go into auto-pilot. For instance, when we’re driving on the freeway, sometimes there are moments where we can’t recall the last 10 miles. In that case our brain has gone into Theta state. In this state our sub-conscious mind flourishes. Even though we are less in tune with our surroundings, we are in our most creative state and tend to come up with many good ideas. Hypnotists love to get people into Theta state because it is a state where our brains are most open to new ideas, visualization, and suggestion.
Delta – Delta state is considered the sleeping and most deeply relaxed phase where our brain waves operate at 1-4 cycles per second. In this phase dreaming occurs. The Delta phase is useful for physical and mental recovery.
At Memory Spring, we promote the importance of getting into Alpha state because it is considered the best learning state. The more time we can spend in Alpha, the more we will be able to process information, understand information, and remember information.
Getting centered and in Alpha state is a key component in our Phenomenal Reading process. Besides reading, other academic work including writing and test-taking, are enhanced if your brain is running in Alpha state. Alpha is focused concentration and is considered most effective for learning.
How do you get into Alpha state? Many different entities have their own key steps to getting into Alpha state. A query on the internet will provide you with many options. At Memory Spring we promote the following steps:
1. Sit up and lean slightly forward.
2. Breathe deeply from the top of your chest.
3. Close your eyes
4. Visualize a place that gives you peace. (Really go there and experience your feelings, senses, and thoughts)
5. Continue thinking of your peaceful place, roll your eyes up, and back down.
6. Open your eyes and begin your task.
While we’re promoting the importance of Alpha state in this article, it’s even more important to be mindful on what state you need to be in to accomplish your objectives for the moment. For instance, if you’re looking to generate uninhibited creative ideas, you’re probably going to want to do extended relaxation techniques to get into Theta state. However, if you’re looking to improve your focus, learning, and recall, then Alpha state is your ticket.
Remember the next time you’re going to read something or need focus for a task, take a few minutes to get yourself into Alpha state. You’ll be surprised at how much more effective you’ll be. For more information on brain wave activity, please email Memory Spring or call us at (530) 297-6464.