Many people use the phrase “mental state” to refer to their thoughts and feelings. Mental state, though, technically also can refer to distinct stages of brain waves that play a role in your mental well-being – even if you aren’t aware you’re switching from one wave range to another during your day-to-day reality. Being aware of those mental states empowers you to use them to your best advantage.
How do you utilize brain waves toward self-improvement?
Contrary to popular belief, your circumstances do not make up your reality. Your reality, or how you see the world, has much more to do with your thoughts, beliefs, and mindset.
For example, you may be a glass-half-full rather than a glass-half-empty kind of person.
It doesn’t take much effort for a glass-half-full person to typically view the world in a positive light. They simply interact with their circumstances with optimism. Because of this glass-half-full outlook, they might be open to more opportunities and positivity in comparison to people with a glass-half-empty outlook.
If you want to become more of a glass-half-full kind of person, one effective way to do this is to train your subconscious mind to view the world the way you want to view it. By rewiring your deeper consciousness, you can create your own reality. Understanding your different brain wave frequencies is one of the first steps in achieving this new reality.
The 5 Types of Brain Waves
You have five types of brain waves:
Each wave is classified according to different cycles per second (Hz). With each frequency, there comes a different state of consciousness and level of brain activity.
One study at the University of Madison looked at the brain waves of meditating monks. During meditation, the monks showed an intense level of gamma brain waves. This type of brain wave correlates with robust brain function and higher synthesis of brain activity.
The good news: You don’t have to be a monk to access these types of brain waves. Through the practice of meditation, you can take advantage of each of the five types of brain waves and reap their benefits.
1. Beta Waves
Beta waves (often known as the consciousness or reasoning frequency at 14-40Hz) correlate with a state of alertness, logic, and critical reasoning.
You need beta brain waves to function properly throughout your day; however, they can trigger some unpleasant experiences as well. Stress, restlessness, and anxiety are all associated with beta waves. In fact, beta brain waves are likely the reason behind the pervasiveness of anxiety and stress among adults. These waves are, however, necessary for basic cognitive function.
2. Alpha Waves
If you’ve ever dozed off into a daydream, you’re familiar with alpha brain waves. These brain waves operate on a 7.5-14Hz level and contribute to feelings of deep relaxation.
Alpha brain waves aren’t only present when you’re relaxed though; these waves are the gateway to your subconscious mind. Because of this, your mind is more open to new positive inputs such as success or positivity when your brain is in this state.
Operating in an alpha brain wave frequency can also heighten your memory, concentration, and imagination.
Try to pay attention to moments throughout the day when your brain feels relaxed. This is the time when your alpha brain waves are activated, so be aware of how your subconscious mind might be framing the world to you in these moments.
3. Theta Waves
If your daydreaming has ever caused you to fall asleep, you’ve probably slipped into the theta brain wave frequency.
Theta brain waves range between 4 and 7.5Hz, which is the zone for light mediation and light sleep. This is the range that causes you to dream or reach the REM state. You only spend a brief amount of time in this wave range as you drift from waking consciousness to deep sleep.
Many people consider the theta wave range to be a state of deep spiritual connection. This is where you can experience your greatest inspiration, creativity, and insight. It’s also a great frequency at which to make decisions.
4. Delta Waves
Your awareness becomes fully detached in the delta wave range, at 0.5-4Hz. This is known as the deep sleep wave, and it’s the slowest frequency. Here you experience deep, dreamless sleep, and transcendental meditation.
When your brain is operating at the delta frequency, you’re completely in your unconscious mind.
Among many things, deep sleep is important for the healing process — as it’s linked with the daily recovery your body needs to regenerate itself. Hence, neglecting deep sleep can be detrimental to your health in more ways than one.
5. Gamma Waves
The fastest frequency your brain can access is 40Hz or above. Among researchers who study brain waves, these gamma waves (or insight waves) are their most recent discoveries.
While there is little information about this frequency, initial research shows gamma waves are associated with higher IQs, better concentration, and improved problem-solving abilities. In addition, it is often thought that people who display high levels of gamma waves may be happier and more receptive to new experiences.
On the flip side, people who don’t produce enough gamma brain waves may have difficulty learning, recalling information, and concentrating.
Keeping in mind the power of gamma waves, it’s even more impressive the monks were able to access these brain waves through their meditation practices. That same ability to meditate is accessible to everyone if we choose to pursue the power of gamma waves.
The Bottom Line
Understanding your brain waves and how you can access them can help you control your reality.
Meditation is a tool that’s accessible and free to us all and can help us take advantage of different brain waves. Get started by developing a daily meditation practice to experience a wide range of benefits.