Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Something New

I know I haven’t been around much lately. I had some family obligations come up and needed to take some time to recharge. Not sure when I’ll be back to a regular blog post schedule, but don’t give up on me.

I did want to share some exciting news. I’m joining 14 other authors in a new venture. We’ll be blogging Monday through Friday, bringing original fiction, book reviews and other fun stuff. We’ll have the blog on Amazon so if you have a Kindle and want to pay Amazon’s convenience fee, you can have it automatically uploaded to your device. Or you can go to the blog directly and read for free.

I’ll be posting twice a month. I’ve decided to release my werewolf novella as a serial, available at The Digital Digest (our blog). I’ll have more information as we get closer to the launch date of June 1.

I hope you check me out on The Digital Digest.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Subliminal Stimuli

Today I want to talk about something that is related to the brain wave series we just finished up, but is different.

Subliminal stimuli.

You’ve heard of advertising executives tout the advantage of inserting a flash photo into an advertisement to sell more products. Some people worried so much about becoming “brainwashed” that the FCC banned subliminal messages in advertisements in the 1970s.

The idea behind it is that the flash of a picture or words spoken so softly as to be heard clearly bypass the conscious mind and lodge in our subconscious. It’s similar to hypnosis in that it bypasses the conscious mind. The difference between the two is the method of delivery.

But does it actually work?

I found myself needing a bit more self-discipline to get certain things done during the day so I decided to find out.

I ordered a CD specifically for self-discipline/willpower. It recommended listening to it for 1 hour per day and once a week reading through the list of affirmations that were on it.

So I did.

I’ve been using it for about 3 weeks now and I have to say I’ve noticed an improvement. Is it possible that it’s all in my head? Yep. But here’s the thing. Whether the affirmations playing under the music are what helped me get my butt in gear or my brain thinking they would help so they did doesn’t really matter in the long run. Not to me. What matters to me is that I had the focus to do what I needed to do.

I’ve not been this productive in quite a while. I’m running with it and not looking back.
In case you’re wondering where I ordered the CD, I ordered from Inner Talk. I did some research and chose to trust them and they’re patented technology.

What do you think about subliminal messages? Do you think it works? Have you tried it? Care to share your experiences?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Gamma Waves

We’ve spent the last two weeks talking about brain waves and we’ve covered them. Except for gamma waves.

Quite honestly, this one is a new one for me. When I’d originally started looking at brain waves, this one never popped up. Recently I’d been looking at Dr. Jeffrey Thompson’s CD offerings and found 2 for gammas. I was intrigued.

So I did some research and what I found prompted me to slap down the money and buy those darn CDs.

Gamma waves are considered the brain’s optimal frequency of functioning. They are associated with compassion, happiness and increased mental abilities. They’re found in every part of the brain and help to improve memory and perception.

Benefits of increased gamma brain activity include boosted memory (as stated above), processing multiple senses at once, increased compassion, high level information processing, natural antidepressant, advanced learning ability, increase in I.Q., higher energy levels and higher level of focus.

As always, too much can cause problems. Too many gamma waves can cause some anxiety. Also, some people are not prepared for the mental awakening associated with gamma waves so it’s best to start off slow.

Healthy ways to increase gamma brain waves include:

1. Brain entrainment – You knew I was going here. I recently (in the last month) purchased Dr. Jeffrey Thompson’s Gamma Meditation System and Gamma Meditation System 2.0. I haven’t gotten to really use it yet, but if it’s a good as the previous CDs I’ve purchased, I’ve no doubt that it’s awesome.
2. Sleep – Gammas are present during R.E.M. sleep and sometimes associated with dreaming, along with thetas.
3. Meditation – I’ve mentioned this several times.
4. Hypnosis/self-hypnosis – The more often you participate in this, the more your gamma waves increase.
5. Yoga – Again, mentioned several times.

There are no known unhealthy ways increase gamma waves and virtually all activities that are detrimental to mental health with decrease gammas.

If you’re already a smart and compassionate person and experience many of the benefits listed above, chances are high that you naturally produce enough gamma waves.

If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll notice several of the same things increase most brain waves in a healthy manner. Getting enough sleep, a regular meditation practice and doing yoga on a regular basis. You’ll also notice that these activities keep your body healthy too.

If you want missed my posts on meditation and yoga, check them out.

I hope you’ve found this information helpful. Monday I’m going to touch on a topic that is somewhat related – subliminal messages.

Now that you’ve read about all the different brain waves, their benefits and how to increase them, what do you plan to do? Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Delta Waves

We’ve covered a lot of ground – beta, alpha, and theta brain waves. Next up is delta waves.

Beta waves were fast waves. Then we slowed it down with alpha before going even slower with theta. Delta brain waves are the slowest of all. Whereas theta waves are associated with the subconscious mind, delta waves are associated with the unconscious mind and like other slower brain wave patterns, generated in the right hemisphere of the brain.

Delta brain waves have been linked to stages 3 and 4 of sleep. If you’ve ever woken up and felt irritable, confused or disoriented, you probably woke up during your delta stage of sleep.

Delta brain activity has been linked to boosted intuition and the cultivation of psychic skills in some people. Think of them as a radar system for our intuition. Delta waves allow us to be more aware of information that isn’t available to our conscious, beta brain. This is our “gut” instinct.

Healing of the mind and body have been linked to delta brain waves. Researchers have discovered that it’s possible to produce melatonin and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) within the delta range. These substances help to slow or reverse the effects of aging.

Increasing delta waves can reduce the production of cortisol. Cortisol is often produced in times of stress and increased levels can kill brain cells, as well as speed up the process of physical and mental aging.

Some problems associated with too many delta brain waves include an extremely unfocused mind, extreme sleepiness, and hyperactivity.

Healthy ways to increase delta waves are:

1. Brain wave entrainment – Yep, you guessed it. Dr. Jeffrey Thompson has this one covered too. I own the Delta Sleep System and there is also the Delta Sleep System 2.0. When I or hubby go through a bout of insomnia, I set these CDs to play through the night and they do wonders.
2. Sleep – Getting a good night’s rest is important for staying healthy and while plenty of sleep won’t increase your delta waves the next day, you’ll experience their benefit during your non-dream sleep.
3. Meditation – I just can’t say enough good stuff about this practice.
4. Hypnosis/self-hypnosis – If you practice frequent enough, you may find yourself able to tap into your delta brain wave awareness.
5. Yoga – Again, can’t say enough.

Sometimes, skipping sleep will produce delta brain waves. This falls under the unhealthy label. In addition to some delta wave increase, cortisol is also increased.

Most people don’t produce large amounts of delta waves unless they are in the deepest sleep stages. If you experience too many of the listed negative effects, you may want to consider speeding up your brain waves into the beta range.

Just one more brain wave to go. What do you think so far? Do you recognize yourself in any of the healthy or unhealthy aspects of these brain waves?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Theta Waves

We’ve talked about beta waves and alpha waves. Next on the list is theta.

These brain waves are usually associated with sleep and dreaming. Generated in the right hemisphere of the brain, they kick in when we feel emotional, relaxed, daydreamy, unfocused or asleep.

Benefits of increasing theta waves include deep levels of relaxation, advanced intuition, peak levels of creativity, advanced problem solving skills, lower anxiety and stress, the ability to learn a new language easier, boost in learning ability, stronger immune system, improved long-term memory, the ability to hyperfocus and replenishing the body and mind.

People that naturally generate high amounts of theta waves are extroverts, people who regularly meditate, children, and people with ADD or ADHD.

As with the other brain waves we’ve discussed, it is possible to generate too many. Some problems associated with this include the inability to focus, too much daydreaming, depression, sleepiness, lack of excitement, extreme impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and an overly receptive mind.

Healthy ways to increase theta brain activity includes:

1. Brain entrainment – Again, Dr. Jeffrey Thompson has the Theta Meditation System and the Theta Meditation System 2.0. I have owned and used the first for many years.
2. Listening to music – All genres of music, except classical, target the brain’s right side and increase theta levels.
3. Sufficient sleep – Getting a good night’s sleep is important for good health in many ways.
4. Meditation – Yep. This one again.
5. Hypnosis/self-hypnosis – As with alpha waves, regular hypnosis helps reduce stress by increasing theta waves.
6. Yoga – Another activity that I’ve recommended more than once.

Unhealthy ways to increase theta waves include taking valium, drinking alcohol and taking hallucinogenics.

Theta brain waves can be an intense experience. If you find yourself overemotional and depressed, increasing theta waves would not be recommended. Are you already an overemotional person? If so, you may already produce high amounts of theta activity. If you experience too many of the negative effects, perhaps speeding your brain waves to beta would be beneficial.

Do you think you have an abundance of theta brain activity? Do you think you’d like to increase it? Have you tried any the tips so far? What have you found?

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?

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?