Alpha Brain Waves Background Information
Alpha Brain Waves are brain waves within the documented frequency range of 8 Hz to 12 Hz on an E.E.G. and were the first brainwave frequency range to be discovered. In 1908, an Austrian research psychiatrist was the first individual to find “brain waves.” He happened to have found the range of brain waves cycling at a rate of 8 Hz to 12 Hz per second. He named them Alpha Waves (“Alpha” translates to “first” in Greek) due to the fact that they were the first brainwave range to be found and observed in an electroencephalograph (E.E.G.).
Thousands of brainwave researchers have taken the time to learn more about our brainwave frequencies and states of consciousness. Researchers have found that Alpha Brain Waves are associated with states of peace and relaxation. Not everyone even has Alpha Brain Waves due to the fact that they diminish when you get stressed out, nervous, or tense. If this is the case, your brain will shift to a fast-paced state of mind consisting of Beta Brain Waves.
When you take the time to breath deeply, meditate, or close your eyes, there will be a big increase in the amount of alpha brainwave activity inside your brain. Alpha Brain Waves are not the slowest brain waves though. Theta Brain Waves, which cycle from 4 Hz to 7 Hz (e.g. 4-7 times per second) are associated with early stages of sleep. Even slower than Theta Waves is range of Delta Brain Waves which cycle from 1 Hz to 4 Hz (e.g. 1-4 times per second). Delta Brain Waves are associated with deep sleep and being completely unconscious.
How You Can Experience Alpha Brain Waves
If you want to improve the overall functioning of your brain and improve the quality of your life, you should work to increase your Alpha Brainwave activity. This will do all of the following: improve your ability to learn, significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels, bring you to a state of peak performance and mental processing, enhance your immune system, allow you to think outside the box (i.e. be more creative), and help you stay relaxed. Check out the Brainwave Entrainment technology section and read below for more information discussing the benefits you can experience from increasing your Alpha Brain Waves.
Benefits of Alpha Brain Waves
Due to the fact that many people are short on Alpha Brain Waves, it is a good idea to learn how they can be increased. People who suffer from anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, or other stress related problems usually are not able to reap the benefits of the alpha brain waves range. Though each brainwave state has benefits, it is most common that people are lacking the alpha range.
When a person is lacking in alpha brainwave activity, rapid thinking and overthinking usually occur. They may get adrenaline rushes and lack the ability to concentrate. Think of Alpha Brain Waves as the third gear on a four speed bike. You need to be able to shift from the fastest paced fourth gear (Beta) in order to get to third gear (Alpha), and you need to shift from the third gear in order to get to second gear (Theta). And you finally must be able to shift from the second gear (Theta) in order to reach the first, slowest speed gear (Delta).
Just like each and every gear is important in the shift process of gear shifting on a bike ride, each brain wave frequency range is important to have in your brain in order to optimally deal with life’s experiences. People who are able to shift their brain waves from a highly focused, motivated, fast-paced and excited (Beta) state to a more relaxed, flowing, calm state (Alpha) – are able to better deal with stressful situations and cope with life. Unfortunately though, not everyone has the ability to get out of the overstimulated state of mind (Beta).
The ability to produce Alpha Brain Waves does not come easy for all people. In fact, some people have never experienced them their entire lives. These people don’t know what it feels like to slow down from stress or rapid-thinking. There is nothing wrong with being in a Beta state of mind, however, if we access that state for too long and forget to return to Alpha, our mental health will suffer (e.g. lack of concentration) as well as the health of our body (e.g. high blood pressure from stress).
Alpha Brain Waves can be of benefit to you because they will help you stay relaxed and will literally melt away all of your stress. They have been documented to improve learning, memory, and social interaction. They also have been known to cure anxiety and insomnia in some individuals. It is known that people who have lower anxiety tend to have significantly more Alpha Brainwave activity than those who are nerved up.
Another interesting benefit from Alpha brain waves is that they have been known to boost your immune system. This basically translates to you getting sick less often. If you take some time to think about this statement, it makes perfect sense due to the fact that people who are stressed out (e.g. in a Beta state) tend to get sick a lot. Staying calm and relaxed will build up immunity and you sure won’t be getting sick as often.
Alpha Brain Waves have also been associated with creativity. Researchers have discovered that most creative individuals tend to have more Alpha activity than those who are too logical and unoriginal. So if you were to work on increasing your Alpha waves, you would almost positively be increasing your ability to tap into a highly creative state. Problem solving, “super learning, and peak performance have also been known to skyrocket as a result of an increase in Alpha Brain Waves. If you would like more information regarding Alpha Brain Waves, I highly recommend checking out the articles below.
**MUST-READ ALPHA BRAIN WAVES ARTICLES**
- Alpha Brain Waves: Definition, Functions, Benefits
- How To Increase Alpha Brain Waves
- Drugs That Increase Alpha Brain Waves
- Can Too Many Alpha Brain Waves Cause Problems?
In the previous article, I discussed how to Increase Your Alpha Brain Waves. All of the methods that I discussed were generally healthy ways to increase your alpha brainwave activity. In this article, I decided to provide you with basic information surrounding a couple of unhealthy ways to increase your alpha brain waves. I am not going to tell you that alcohol and marijuana are terrible for your health – because I don’t know your individual situation. However, I do not think these are beneficial ways to increase your alpha brainwaves due to the fact that:
1) They cost you money
2) They can potentially have long-term implications
3) Marijuana is illegal
With that said, I’ll describe more about each below:
- 1.) Drinking Alcohol – Though not the greatest thing in the world for your body, each time you consume alcohol, you’ll experience significant increases in alpha brain wave activity. Part of the reason that alcoholics become addicted to alcohol is due to the fact that they need to drink to access their alpha brain wave state. Their beta brain waves take over during the waking hours and their alpha EEG activity is significantly deficient. Each time you get drunk, you do experience alpha brain waves, however, you do not consciously experience them – and you are certainly not training your brain to increase their production.
- 2.) Smoking Marijuana – No matter your opinion about marijuana, it too does a nice job at increasing alpha brain wave production. The reason people feel relaxed after smoking marijuana is due to significant increases in alpha brain waves. Marijuana is actually more powerful than alcohol at increasing your alpha brainwaves. Similar to alcohol, smoking marijuana will not allow you to achieve the fully conscious access to the alpha range like most people are striving for.
Better Ways to Increase Alpha Brain Waves:
There are certainly better ways to increase alpha brain wave activity than those mentioned above. If drugs are what you’re into for the alpha increase, I hope you understand that they are unnecessary for significant increases in alpha production. If you haven’t read the previous article discussing how you can naturally increase your alpha brain waves, I talk about techniques and exercises that will keep you consciously aware during the increase. They also won’t leave you with a hangover or smelling smoked up.
Unfortunately, many people don’t know what Alpha Brain Waves are, let alone how to most effectively increase them. Fortunately, I have outlined healthy exercises you can use to naturally and significantly increase your alpha brain wave activity. They are not organized in any particular hierarchy of effectiveness. With any exercise, each will vary in the degree to which they will have an effect upon you.
How To Increase Your Alpha Brain Waves:
- Utilizing Brainwave Entrainment Technology – Brainwave Entrainment is one of the most powerful methods on this list for tuning into your alpha brain waves. I have recommended a list of the best brainwave entrainment programs – several of which you can test out for 30 Days before purchasing a copy. All brainwave entrainment involves is listening to a specific tone through your speakers or headphones and allowing your brain wave state to match the audio stimulus.
- Start a Meditation Routine – Meditation will get you into the alpha brainwave state fairly quickly after some practice (provided you know what your doing). If you make meditation a daily practice or start up a routine, you will be able to tap into that alpha state. The nice thing about meditation is that it’s free and very effective. However, I do not think it is as effective as the combination of meditation with brainwave entrainment. So even if you are meditating, consider trying it with entrainment software. I like using brainwave entrainment software with meditation because you can control the exact frequency to which you access during your meditation. It will also help you access alpha waves more quickly and more profoundly than it would if you used only meditation.
- Hypnotizing Yourself – Yes, it’s possible to hypnotize yourself. Many people are misguided in understanding self-hypnosis – which involves relaxing your body and listening to recorded suggestions to positively program your mind. You are in full control the entire time (e.g. you cannot be forced to do something against your will). The goal of self-hypnosis is to target the lower brainwave ranges (i.e. alpha and theta) and feed your brain with helpful patterns of thinking. Hypnosis-Downloads has a wealth of great self-hypnosis sessions to try.
- Closed-Eyes Visualization – Each and every time that you shut your eyes and attempt to visualize, your alpha brain waves profoundly increase. If you are able to focus on pictures in your mind or using your imagination to create pictures, you know what it’s like to access alpha brain waves. As with meditation, I prefer to utilize brainwave entrainment software to help me create a more vivid visualization.
- Yoga, Yoga, Yoga – Though I don’t personally practice Yoga, it is another way to boost your alpha waves. If you are feeling relaxed while practicing your yoga, then you know what it’s like to increase your alpha brain wave activity. I’m not sure if I’d want to use brainwave entrainment while doing yoga – after all those poses can get pretty complicated ridiculous.
- Deep-Breathing Exercises – Utilizing deep-breathing exercises is a quick way to tap into your alpha brain wave range. Do a Google search and look up some deep breathing exercises. Not only will deep-breathing amp up your alpha levels, it has been found to increase your brain’s oxygen level.
- Guided Relaxation – This exercise is very similar to that of self-hypnosis; I happen to prefer self-hypnosis. Basically, you listen to a soothing recording of a voice guiding you into deep relaxation and by the time the recording ends, you feel refreshed and relaxed. The relaxing feeling that results is a result of an increase in your alpha brain waves.
- Laying Under the Sun, Sitting in a Sauna, Hot-Tub – If you have ever gotten drowsy laying under the sun at the beach with your eyes closed, then you know what your alpha brain waves feel like; amazingly relaxing. The same feeling of relaxation can result when you sit in a sauna or a hot-tub for awhile. They cause your body to relax, and your brain waves usually follow; shifting to the alpha range.
- Turn on the Television – If you are an avid T.V. junkie, your brain has produced its share of alpha brain waves. After less than 1 minute of watching the tube, your brain’s alpha waves kick in. However, in comparison to other methods on the list, the increase in alpha waves as a result of your T.V. watching is not very significant let alone helpful. It’s not an option I recommend pursuing in order to increase your alpha waves due to the fact that they are more erratic than from utilizing other listed methods – which will put you in a full, more profound alpha brainwave state.
**Should everyone increase their Alpha Brain Waves?
Increasing Alpha Brain Waves may not be optimal for everyone, I recommend that you read the 2 articles below to get a better understanding about Alpha waves before increasing yours:
- Alpha Brain Waves: Definition, Functions, & Benefits
- Too Many Alpha Brain Waves Can Cause Problems
Before you read this post, be sure to review this linked article about Alpha BrainWaves so that you don’t get any skewed or misguided impressions.
Can Alpha Brain Waves cause problems?
When a person becomes “stuck” in one brain wave range for prolonged periods of time and cannot seem to access another state, then problems can arise. Though being in the alpha brain wave range is generally considered to be the safest state of mind, too much alpha brainwave activity can be a cause for concern. You do not need to increase your alpha brain waves if you already feel you have plenty of alpha activity. Though it is not common to experience problems from increasing your alpha brain waves, there may be drawbacks from doing so if you already had adequate alpha activity in the first place.
Too much Alpha Brain Wave activity may cause:
- Difficulties in Your Ability to Focus – Though most people actually experience increased focus with an alpha brain wave increase, some individuals will clearly not benefit. If you have ADD or feel that mental slowness is causing a difficulty in your ability to focus, increasing your alpha brain waves may make things worse. Focus difficulties arising from alpha increases only apply to a minority of people.
- I Can’t Stop Daydreaming… – Amplifying your alpha brain waves may cause too much unwanted daydreaming activity throughout your day. If you are trying to cut back on daydreaming, then alpha waves are not suggested as a brain wave range to increase. Having some daydreams throughout the day is healthy, but if you are already having too many, stay away from alpha waves.
- Feeling Depressed – Though most people actually experience a natural antidepressant feeling from increasing alpha brain waves, some people become more depressed. If alpha brain waves are making you feel depressed, it is likely that your brain’s left-hemisphere has too much slow-wave activity and not enough beta. Synchronized alpha waves (i.e. the same amount in the left and right hemispheres of the brain) is not usually a sign of depression. Here’s a little rule to follow: If your depression is resulting from overstimulation (e.g. stress, fear, anxiety), then an increase in alpha will be of benefit. However, if you are sluggish, tired, drowsy and feel depressed (e.g. understimulation), you should stay away from the alpha range and use beta entrainment instead.
- I Feel Tired… *Yawns* – If you are feeling tired during the day, drowsy, sleepy, or fatigued, your alpha waves do not need an increase. Alpha brain waves have been linked to feeling tired in certain people. When you are entraining alpha waves, you may experience temporary feelings of drowsiness; this is a sign that your brain waves are adjusting to a new frequency range.
- Nothing is Exciting – This problem is fairly uncommon. You may lack feelings of excitement if you already have too much alpha activity. Though it is usually theta waves that are the primary culprit for this, alpha waves can sometimes play a role in your lack. You may already feel relaxed and have a clear mind, but want some excitement back in your life; this is a sign that you already have adequate alpha activity.
- Your Visual Awareness & Acuity – It makes perfect sense that alpha brain waves are associated with a lack of optical acuity and visual awareness due to the fact that when you close your eyes, alpha brainwave activity increases. Simply put: the visual processing center in your brain slows down. I experienced a noticeable shift in my vision system after partaking in alpha entrainment.
The final word:
Alpha brain waves are usually very beneficial to increase in comparison to other ranges. There are also significantly less resulting problems from increasing the alpha range than other ranges. Re-read the primary article describing Alpha Waves and decide for yourself whether an increase in this brain wave range would be of benefit to you. If you have decided that an increase in Alpha brain waves would be helpful – I have many featured products that will quickly get you into an alpha state. I recommend Neuro-Programmer 2 and MindWorkstation for the most powerful alpha entrainment.
What are Alpha Brain Waves?
Alpha Brain Waves are a sign of relaxed activity in your brain. Alpha brainwaves are defined as brain waves that cycle between the frequency 8 Hz – 12 Hz. They are commonly produced in synchronized fashion connecting both hemispheres of your brain, though they can be found solely in the right hemisphere as well. Alpha brainwaves are the dominant brain wave activity when your body and mind are able to relax. If you have ever practiced meditation, yoga, or even felt relaxed after drinking alcohol – you have experienced alpha brain waves.
Alpha brain wave activity is common among highly creative individuals who have a clear mind or are experiencing relaxation. If you close your eyes for a minute or so, your alpha brain wave activity will significantly increase. As you open your eyes, the more stressful beta brain waves become the dominant pattern. In comparison, as a child you will have had significantly greater amounts of alpha brain wave activity than you will as an adult. Alpha brain waves have long been considered to be regarded as the healthiest brain wave range, but also the “safest” brain wave range to entrain – especially at 10 Hz (e.g. 10 cycles per second).
As an early teen or child, you likely had a dominant alpha brainwave pattern. Should you choose to experience a dominant alpha brain wave again, I recommend checking the products section. Most of the products recommended will do a nice job at increasing your alpha brain wave activity. I want to make it clear that there isn’t a single brain wave state that is “better” than the others to be in – each have their advantages and disadvantages. However, most people are lacking in at least one brain wave pattern. For the majority of individuals, alpha brain waves happen to be the lacking frequency range. Things like environmental stressors, fear, anxiety, tension, and overworking tend to deplete your alpha wave activity. Below, I will outline several benefits of alpha brain waves and also discuss ways in which you can naturally increase your alpha activity.
Benefits of Alpha Brain Waves:
- Relaxing Thoughts / Relaxed Body – The alpha brainwave is produced when your body calms down and your mind is completely relaxed. Your brain’s thinking is slower, your mind is clear and you may even feel slightly drowsy. Your body has zero stress, tension, anxiety, or other feelings of being nervous. Increasing your alpha brain wave activity is a profound way to reduce your stress.
- Access Creative States – If you consider yourself to have above-average creativity, chances are that you often experience an alpha brain wave state. Artists, innovative thinkers, and singers are generally found to have higher alpha activity than the average person. If you feel that your creativity is lacking, an increase in your alpha waves will feel great.
- Enhanced Problem Solving – Most people cannot seem to tap their alpha waves to help them problem solve. Alpha waves integrate both hemispheres of your brain for better communication and clearer thinking. The problem with lacking alpha waves is that your left-hemisphere is pulling all the weight in solving a problem, when your right-hemisphere has a solution waiting to communicate to the left. Increasing your alpha brain waves can benefit artists, writers (for writers block), and creative thinkers. You certainly won’t feel mentally “stuck” in the alpha state. In order to tap your inner creativity, your brain must be able to produce synchronous bursts of alpha waves.
- Calming, Centered Emotions – Alpha brain waves will put you in a calm emotional state. You will not feel powerful emotions, however, you will feel “content” and centered. If you are stressed out or nerved up, you likely haven’t had access to the alpha brain waves in a long time. Getting back in an alpha state will stabilize your intense emotions and you will feel good about yourself.
- Optimal Athletic Performance – Interestingly enough, if you are an athlete, you could significantly improve your performance by entraining some alpha brain waves. There is published evidence showing that just before a golfer hits their best shot or a basketball player sinks a shot (think LeBron and Kobe), alpha activity bursts in the left-hemisphere of their brain. Elite marksmen also have shown a significant burst of alpha wave activity before perfect shots. Also unique is the fact that the EEG’s (brain wave measurement) of pro-athletes are very likely to display the alpha rhythm, whereas newbie athletes and even decent athletes do not demonstrate any alpha activity. The best brain wave to entrain for peak performance has been widely considered to be 10 Hz (i.e. 10 cycles per second). I encourage athletes to give some alpha entrainment a shot and see if it puts you “in the zone.”
- Reductions of Fear, Tension, Stress, Nervousness, Anxiety – Increasing your alpha brain waves automatically leads to decreasing your fears, tension, stress, nerves, and anxiety. If you have ever gotten so caught up in a stressful or fearful state, that you literally “forgot how to relax,” then having the ability to increase your alpha brain waves would feel like you’ve been given a miracle drug.
- Everything Seems to “Flow” – Being able to access “flow” means that you are able to tap a state of mind where all of life’s events seem to pass quickly and all challenges are easily and quickly overcome. “Flow” is a period of time when you do not have any resistance or problems. You are in a mental state with optimal brain wave stimulation – you are not thinking too rapidly as to stress yourself out, yet you are also not thinking too slow as to be tired; you are right in the middle between the two. You feel “balanced” and understand that you are in a desirable state of mental functioning.
- Ability to Tap “Super Learning” – The ability to learn quickly and effortlessly has been described as the phenomena of “super learning.” Basically, your brain is able to remember and recall information with less effort than normal. Alpha waves will allow your brain to retain large quantities of information. This is due to the fact that both hemispheres of your brain are integrated and communicating with each other.
- Improved Immune System Functioning – Your alpha waves are responsible for amping up your immune system. They have been linked to health, recovery from sickness, and serve as protection from stress-related illnesses. Stress can quickly ramp up damage on your immune system if you go long periods without taking some time to relax; thus increasing alpha activity.
- Think Positive – Research indicates that due to the calm, wellbeing as a result of increasing alpha brain wave activity, positive thinking and positive emotions also result. I can personally testify for this one – after having gotten caught up in stress for a prolonged period – my thinking became increasingly positive after a few sessions of alpha entrainment; likely resulting from increased mental peace and calmness.
- Alpha Brain Waves = Nautral Antidepressant – Alpha brain waves allow for increased release of an important neurotransmitter called “Serotonin.” Serotonin production usually drops to lower than normal levels in your brain when you feel depressed. In fact, most antidepressants nowdays aim to increase low levels of serotonin in the brain (do a search for “SSRI’s” to find out more). For these reasons, it makes sense that alpha brain waves may help ward off your blues.
- Internal Awareness – Alpha brainwaves are associated with an increased awareness of your self: body and mind. Where as beta brainwaves cause the mind to focus more on external events, the alpha brainwaves enhance the overall awareness of one’s self.
People with Higher than Average Amounts of Alpha Brain Waves
- Outgoing People, Extroverts – Generally, if you are more outgoing and consider yourself extroverted, you have more alpha brain waves than introverts. The consensus seems to be that if you have plenty of alpha activity, you are more than 3X as likely to be outgoing. It makes perfect sense – introverts are less comfortable during social interaction – whereas being social comes natural for extroverts.
- People who Meditate – If you practice meditation, then you have definitely accessed the alpha brain wave state. Each time as you close your eyes to meditate, you experience a surge of alpha brain wave activity. If you want to naturally increase your alpha activity, try meditation.
- As a Child – As a child, you tend to experience much greater activity in the alpha range. As you age, your brain shifts away from alpha to another range (commonly the beta range). It is important to recognize that even though you are not still a child, you can still have access to alpha waves. The majority of the adult population would benefit from increasing their alpha brain waves.
To Quickly Ramp-Up Your Alpha Brain Waves:
I highly recommend that you purchase either Neuro-Programmer 2 or Mind WorkStation. If you want a nice, quick significant alpha increase both these products do a great job. If you want a more advanced training protocol, I recommend the Mind WorkStation (which is more expensive). Mind Stereo will increase your alpha activity, however, it is not as effective as the other two. You can give all the products I just mentioned a 30 Day Trial before purchasing, so I suggest you see how well they work for you before making an investment.
If you do decide to give these products a shot, it would be awesome if you could share your experience with others in the comments section of this website. If you are interested in experiencing some alpha brainwaves or have any questions for me, feel free to send me a message through my contact form – I may start selling customized entrainment sessions as well, so feel free to keep in touch.
**For further reading, check out the article Too Many Alpha Brain Waves Causing Problems.