Brain Waves

Now, you might think this post is about inspiration and creativity and indirectly it is. But this blog is, literally, about brainwaves. So, what are brain waves? Well, brain waves or neural oscillations are rhythmic or repetitive patterns of neural activity in the central nervous system. Through research and observation we are able to tell what the brain is doing be measuring the frequency of the brain waves being produced.

Although changes in brain activity is normal, for example falling asleep, what hypnosis does is move you from a higher frequency (full awake) to a lower frequency (relaxed) of brain waves. The lower the frequency the lower your level of consciousness and thus the more receptive the subconscious becomes.

The highest level of brain waves are call Beta waves and they occupy the frequency range between 12 and 40 hertz (Hz). You produce these waves when you are conscious and awake.  This is a normal state for us to be in during the day. Typical activities include thinking, problem solving, reading, writing and talking. 

Alpha waves occupy the range between 8 and 12 Hz and are associated with calm and relaxed periods.  These waves act like a bridge between your conscious and unconscious minds. This alpha state is sometimes described as being in “the now” or being in the present. These are typically produced when relaxed, meditating or when your eyes are closed. This is an ideal state for learning – absorbing and digesting information.

As you become more relaxed, alpha waves become more prevalent, but you are still awake. When you become unconscious more theta waves are produced. These waves are in the range 4 to 8 Hz. You produce these waves when you enter sleep, practise visualisation or under hypnosis. When theta waves are produced your conscious mind is pretty much switched off. This mean you can access your creative side, dream, experience deep meditation as well as delve inside memories.

Delta waves are produced when you are asleep and occur in the low end of the range up to 4 Hz.  The deeper you sleep, the more delta waves are present.  Delta wave production are a sign of a good night’s sleep, healing and boosting your immune system. Sadly, the older you get, the fewer delta waves are produced and this explains the expression ‘to sleep like a baby’. 

The human brain is an incredible thing and one we know little about it. As Neil deGrasse Tyson (American Astrophysicist and Author) said, “Everything we do, every thought we’ve ever had, is produced by the human brain. But exactly how it operates remains one of the biggest unsolved mysteries, and it seems the more we probe its secrets, the more surprises we find”.

Despite this, what insights we have allow us to understand and do more.  For example, if you are looking to be creativity then you need to get out of your conscious mind and do activities that reduce the frequency of your brain waves. And, while problem solving can be a logical, conscious process (beta waves), creative problem solving can be done with alpha (when relaxed) and theta waves (visualisation, mediating).  

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