Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Alpha Waves

Today I want to talk about Alphas. No, not heroes this time. Alpha brain waves.

Monday I told you about beta waves and that when we are actively using our minds, these are most prevalent. They are fast waves.

Alpha waves are considered relaxed brain activity. These waves are usually generated in the right hemisphere of the brain or in a synchronized pattern between both sides. We experience this brain activity w hen we are relaxed and free of stress.

In people who are relaxed and creative, alpha waves are more prevalent than beta waves. When we close our eyes, alpha waves dominate. They are considered the healthiest wave frequency and the safest to train.

Benefits of increasing alpha brain waves include a relaxed body and mind, higher levels of creativity, improved ability to solve problems, emotional stability, boosted immune system, positive thinking and increased levels of serotonin.

Who tends to have naturally high levels of alpha waves? Extroverts, people who meditate on a regular basis and children.

Of course, it’s possible to have too much. How can anyone be too relaxed, I’m sure you’re asking? Too many alpha waves can lead to lack of focus, too many daydreams, depression, tiredness, lack of excitement, lack of visual awareness and being overly receptive to suggestions.

Bottom line is that it’s not recommended to increase a brainwave that you already have high levels of.

Healthy ways to increase alpha brain waves include:

1. Brain entrainment – I mentioned this Monday with beta waves. Again, I suggest Dr. Jeffrey Thompson’s CDs. I personally own and use his Alpha Relaxation System. He now also has Alpha Relaxation System 2.0. I haven’t tried this one, but I’m sure it’s as great as the original.
2. Meditation – This is a great way to increase alpha waves, plus there are other benefits that go along with a regular meditation practice. Check out last Friday’s post for more information.
3. Self-hypnosis – Doing self-hypnosis on a regular basis will help reduce stress by raising your alpha waves.
4. Visualization – Close your eyes and try to imagine. This goes hand in hand with meditation, but can be used separately.
5. Yoga – Another great activity with more benefits than just raising your alpha activity. Check out my post here if you’d like more information.
6. Deep breathing – Again, this one goes along with meditation and yoga. Deep breathing does wonders in stress reduction.
7. Saunas/hot tubs – Sitting in a hot tub is relaxing, right? Natural state to be in for alpha waves. Same goes for laying in the sun.
8. Watching T.V. – Who would have thought watching television was healthy for anything? After just 30 seconds of watching television, your brains alpha waves kick in. The radiant light from the cathode-ray technology in televisions cause the brain to shift into alpha mode.

Of course there are unhealthy ways to increase alpha waves. Drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana will do the trick, but they are not the best choice.

If you already experience many of the listed benefits, you probably don’t need to boost your alpha waves. If you experience too many of the negative effects, you may want to try upping your brainwaves into the beta range.

Where do you think you fall? More towards beta or alpha? Does increasing certain brainwaves sound like something you’d like to try?


Lynne Roberts said...

I'm afraid I already have too many beta waves... LOL However, I'm usually under some kind of stress, so how does that work?

Riley Quinn said...

Hi Lynne,

Beta waves are the faster brain waves. Increasing your alpha or theta waves may help. Personally, I would suggest meditation or yoga. Both of these activities will increase both alpha and theta waves, plus provide other benefits.

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