Monday, March 14, 2011

Beta Waves

The brain is an electrochemical organ. It can generate small amounts of electrical activity. This electrical activity is called brain waves.

There are several different kinds of brain waves and I’ll be discussing them all over the next couple of weeks. The first I’m going to talk about is beta. These waves are considered fast brain waves and are usually generated in the left side of the brain.

Beta waves indicate a strongly engaged mind – someone participating in active conversation, making a speech, thinking logically, feeling stressed or tense. Basically, when you’re awake and alert, your brain is giving off beta waves.

Some benefits of increasing beta brainwaves include the ability to think quickly, being more social, being more goal-oriented, high levels of focus, more energy, the ability to write easily and quickly and an increase in I.Q.

I know all these benefits sound great, and they are. But remember, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

When beta wave levels are too high, you may experience anxiety, stress, paranoia, muscle tension, elevated blood pressure and insomnia.

There are ways to increase your beta waves. Healthy ways include:

1. Brain entrainment – this is a method that I use when I want to change my brain waves. Personally, I like Dr. Jeffrey Thompson’s CDs and own several. He uses classical and soothing music embedded with sound frequencies to stimulate the appropriate brain waves. If you’re interested in trying to stimulate your own beta waves, you might consider his Brainwave Symphony: Beta.
2. Neurofeedback – I don’t know much about this one, other than it is very expensive though effective.
3. Brain training games – these games increase thinking and naturally speed up your beta activity. Some possibilities include Big Brain Academy for the Wii, Brain Age for Nintendo DS or the brain program.
4. Doing homework – using your brain to complete assignments, particularly math problems or reading short stories are another natural way to increase your beta waves.
5. Drinking coffee – the caffeine gives a jolt of energy to the brain, increasing beta waves. This effect is different for everyone, though, so it may take more or less to get your own motor revving.

Unhealthy ways to increase beta activity include snorting cocaine, taking diet pills, taking amphetamines, drinking energy drinks and smoking cigarettes. I think these are pretty self-explanatory.

Beta brainwaves are great, but you need to judge whether increasing them is right for you. Are you already a positive thinker with lots of energy? If so, your brain probably produces large amounts of beta waves naturally and you may even benefit from slowing down to alpha waves (Wednesday’s topic). Are you tired a lot and feel unmotivated or bored? Then you may benefit from an increase.

Are you familiar with the different types of brainwaves? Have you ever tried any methods of training your brain? Think you want to try?


Margaret Fieland said...

Riley, I enjoyed reading this. Does my insomnia mean I have too many beta waves? My partner complains that once I start reading or writing I'm in another world (true). Too bad I can't seem to do a better job of concentrating on cleaning the kitchen, though.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting topic and very aplicable to writers.
Liz Arnold

Riley Quinn said...

If your brain waves are going too fast, as with beta waves, while you're trying to sleep, it could be causing insomnia. I'll be discussing delta waves later in the series. I'm sure you'll find some helpful info there.

I'm glad you found it interesting, Liz. I've been fascinated with it for years.

Thanks for stopping by, ladies.

Jessa Slade said...

I suffer terribly from monkey mind. Sounds like an overabundance of beta waves by this definition. I'm looking forward to your alpha fix :)

Riley Quinn said...

I've never heard it referred to as monkey mind before. Stay tuned for Wednesday for alpha waves. Thanks for stopping by.

Robert Clark said...

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