The altered state of mind can be defined as any condition that is significantly different from a normal waking state. It is also called an altered state of consciousness. Brainwaves are the measurement of activity that is going on within your brain. The brain is an electrochemical organ that is responsible for electrical communication through neurons. The electrical activity is measured in the form of brainwaves. In a medical or lab, the brainwaves are measured by using particular tools and the setting called electroencephalography in which brainwaves are measured by sensors that are attached to the scalp. At rest, the shape of the wave is different from the shape of the wave when someone is using all of their focus and attention. Many devices are used to get a read on your brainwaves at home but they are not advanced such as the Emotiv Insight tracker or Muse headband. The tracking of brainwave readings is greatly beneficial to get a general idea of the activity and any progress to get more mindful about how mental state affects the overall wellbeing.

Alpha waves

Alpha waves show activity at a frequency between 8 and 12Hz while peaks around 10Hz. The white matter of the brain contributes to the production of these waves. This part of the brain connects all the parts. These waves are strongest over the occipital cortex that is on the back of the head and over the frontal cortex. Moreover, allow bridging of the conscious to the subconscious. These waves of the brain are involved in the mind/body integration, balance, and inner-awareness of self, healing, and centering. These waves allow us to shift easily from one task to another.

When alpha waves can be accessed?

These waves can be accessed in the following states:

  • The normal relaxed state of adults.
  • Beyond the thirteenth year of life when it dominates the resting tracing.
  • When a person is alert but does not involve actively processing information.
  • When listening and coming to a solution for creative problems.
  • When someone involves in mental work.

How to control alpha waves?

Alpha waves can be easily controlled in the following ways:

  • These waves can increase by closing your eyes and then deep breathing.
  • You can decrease these waves easily by calculating and thinking.

Benefits of healthy alpha production:

  • Enhances the overall sense of relaxation.
  • Promotes resourcefulness of mind.
  • Aids in accomplishing the tasks quickly and efficiently,
  • Aids in the ability of mental coordination.
  • Helps people feel at ease and calm.
  • Helps people experience good moods and see the world truthfully.
  • Enhances sensation, self-control, and abstract thinking.

Theta waves

Theta waves show activity at a frequency of 3.5 to 7.5 Hz and are considered slow activity waves. The limbic system and hippocampal regions of the brain contribute to the production of these waves. These allow the state between wakefulness and sleep and thus relate to the subconscious mind. These waves are involved in daydreaming, creativity, fantasizing, and intuition. These are considered the repository for sensations, memories, and emotions and promote complex behaviors such as memory and learning.

When theta waves can be accessed?

These waves can be accessed in the following states:

  • In children up to 13 years old.
  • Spiritual awareness.
  • During sleep.
  • Internal focus.
  • In anxiety.
  • Prayer.
  • Meditation.

How do control theta waves?

Theta waves can be controlled in the following ways:

  • These waves can be increased by thinking, creative work, meditation, spiritual awareness, and prayer.
  • You can decrease these waves by inactiveness and getting free from internal focus or any creative activity.

Benefits to control theta waves:

  • Increased ability to focus attention.
  •  Improved concentration.
  • Increased ability to perform any creative work.
  • Increased awareness.

Delta waves

Delta waves show activity at a frequency less than 4 Hz so considered the waves of the lowest frequencies. These tend to be the highest in amplitude and are thus considered the slowest waves. These waves are generally broad or diffuse and may be bilateral and widespread. Delta waves are involved in deep sleep and some abnormal processes. These also help to access information in the unconscious mind.

When delta waves can be accessed?

These waves can be accessed in the following states:

  • In infants up to one year of age.
  • In 3 and 4 stages of sleep.
  • In deep sleep.
  • Dreamless sleep.
  • Trance.
  • Lethargic behavior.
  • Unconscious.
  • In some abnormal processes.

How to control delta waves?

Delta waves can be easily controlled in the following ways:

  • These waves can be increased by decreasing the awareness of the physical world, and by increasing lethargic behaviors, deep sleep, and unconsciousness.
  • You can decrease these waves by increasing peak performance, maintaining attention, and high focus.

Benefits to controlling delta waves:

  • High performance.
  • High focus.
  • The increased power of attention.
  • Enhanced activity to perform tasks efficiently.

Ways to access your altered states of mind.

There are several ways to access your altered states of mind and get closer to the state you want. The three ways are described in the following:

Wearables

There are several devices that generate neurofeedback. These devices measure your brainwaves and provide information about your behavior as well as reinforce certain patterns of waves, thus mental states. These devices may be in the form of headbands that you can wear while doing any creative task. So, they read out brainwaves and you can see how active your brain is. These devices are expensive and an average person cannot afford these so there are many other ways to strengthen the brain waves that you desire and help with sleep, stress, and productivity.

Meditation

Meditation allows the increased production of alpha waves while decreasing the production of beta waves which helps you get to relax. Mindfulness meditation usually employs the techniques such as closed-eye visualization and deep breathing to enhance the production of alpha waves. Moreover, increased alpha production allows a boost in creativity. These promote the release of the serotonin neurotransmitter and thus act as a natural anti-depressant.

Binaural Beats and Music

Binaural Beats and Music help you to train your brain waves to a particular frequency during a specific task. This happens when your brainwaves begin to synchronize with the frequency of an external stimulus such as a pulsing sound and a light. For example, you require the production of different kinds of brainwaves during various tasks such as you may desire increased beta waves while you are preparing for a test or increased alpha or delta waves while you are trying to sleep. Binaural Beats are two different sound frequencies that are played in each ear and thus can be listened to get your brain on the right wavelength that you desire to get. There are two types of Binaural Beats easily available on u tube:

  • Delta Binaural Beats
  • Alpha Binaural Beats

Many services play music to enhance certain brainwaves. You can also listen to the music if you get binaural beats to be a bit repetitive and boring.

References:

Cahn, B., & Polich, J. (2006). Meditation states and traits: EEG, ERP, and neuroimaging studies. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 180–211.

Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., & Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 57(1), 35–43.

Kjellgren, A., Sundequist, U., Norlander, T., & Archer, T. (2001). Effects of flotation-REST on muscle tension pain. Pain Research & Management, 6(4), 181–189.

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