Are you familiar with that moment when you’re staring at the page but your mind is anywhere, everywhere, all at once? It can be frustrating, especially when you’re trying to learn something new or prepare for an exam.
Using binaural beats for study and focus is a wonderful (and quite musical) solution to your dilemma. They can activate a special brain state where you’re truly concentrated and retain information better.
As Vishen, founder of Mindvalley, said, “Human beings are not taught how to tap into altered states of awareness to make an impact in the world.” And being able to upgrade your learning capacity can set you up for success and harness your power to create incredible change.
What Are Binaural Beats?
Binaural beats are two different sounds played in each ear that create a third tone inside your head. It’s sort of an illusion created by your brain when you listen to multiple tones at slightly different frequencies.
Think of it like a mental massage. Just like how a massage therapist uses different techniques to relax your muscles, binaural beats work their magic on your brainwaves. They gently nudge your brain into a state of relaxation, focus, and concentration.
And the best part is that anyone can use binaural beats. You don’t need any special equipment besides a pair of headphones and the expectation to supercharge your learning abilities.
Get familiar with binaural beats before studying by listening to this guided meditation by Vishen, founder of Mindvalley:
What the Different Brain Waves Do
Experiencing the power of binaural beats can be an exciting affair, especially when you understand how they impact your brain. Simply put, binaural beats activate the necessary brain state for you to have sharp focus and attention.
Maybe you’re already familiar with the concept of brain waves and how these altered states of consciousness benefit your day-to-day activities. If not, here’s a summary of what happens to your brain when experiencing different brain waves:
Think of your brain as a buzzing metropolis where little cells called neurons are constantly chatting away, sending messages back and forth.
When you’re feeling alert and ready to tackle the day, your brain is in beta mode. The neurons are firing off faster than a bullet train, producing a ton of information.
As you start to slow down, your brain shifts into alpha mode. You know that feeling when you’re totally present and in the zone? That’s your alpha brain state.
But here’s the thing: Your brain doesn’t learn best when it’s in the fast lane of beta mode or the dreamy state of theta mode (which is where it slips into right before you fall asleep). It’s actually the alpha mode, where your brain is most receptive to new information—much like a sponge, eagerly soaking up knowledge and retaining it like a pro.
Why Can’t I Focus on Studying?
If you’re anxious and stressed about anything, you’ll have a hard time studying and may even find yourself wondering, “Why can’t I focus?” This is because the anxiety or overwhelm you’re feeling is feeding the beta state of your brain.
Things are moving too quickly, and information can’t be absorbed or retained.
Beta takes a lot of energy, so if you’re going through a stressful time, you’re using so much energy that your brain is exhausted. When this happens, your brain tries to move into the theta state. The result is a weary mind that can’t learn new information.
The key to successful studying is finding the sweet spot between these two extremes. You need to be awake and alert enough to retain information, but not so awake that you can’t concentrate.
The essential skill of our century is how to become indistractable.— Nir Eyal, trainer of Mindvalley’s Becoming Focused and Indistractable Quest
Using Binaural Beats for Study
Getting to the alpha state can be difficult to achieve on your own. This is especially true if you’re feeling really stressed out.
However, binaural beats can naturally put your brain in the alpha state. It’s as simple as putting on your headphones and finding the right tune for you. And it works wonders.
For example, if you hear 410 Hz in one ear and 400 Hz in the other, your brain will actually create 10 Hz to make up the difference. When it does so, the rest of your brain syncs up with that frequency.
To use binaural beats for concentration, you need to listen to a track that presents your brain with a difference of 8 Hz–12 Hz. By doing so, it will ease you into the alpha state, and you’ll feel ready to focus on learning and be more productive.
In fact, during one pilot study on binaural beats in 2020, participants were shown to improve their cognitive abilities, mood, and ability to retain information. So binaural beats for study, focus, and memory may work their magic on you, too.
What Is It Like to Use Binaural Beats?
Binaural beats can help you get into the right headspace for studying. So, all you have to do is make sure that you have a pair of headphones when you’d like to maximize the potential of your learning session.
Each ear needs to hear a different frequency, so using headphones will ensure that you’re getting the full effect. When you listen to a binaural beats track, you’ll probably hear some soothing music. The frequencies that create the beat don’t have a sound, so the music is added to make the experience more pleasant.
On the Mindvalley app, you can enhance any of the free meditation tracks with binaural beats to amp up their effects. It’s a perfect hack for studying and focusing, and you can even use binaural beats for other purposes too, such as meditation, sleeping, and even having lucid dreams.
However, it’s important to note that if you are epileptic or pregnant, you should talk to a professional before attempting to use binaural beats. They are safe to use but could induce seizures in people who have epilepsy.
Unlock Your Maximum Study Potential
Our most precious gift is our brain. It is what allows us to learn, love, think, create, and even to experience joy. It is the gateway to our emotions, to our capacity for deeply experiencing life, [and] to our ability to have lasting intimacy. It allows us to innovate, grow, and accomplish.— Jim Kwik, trainer of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Quest
Your brain has the incredible ability to absorb huge amounts of information and use it in the most creative ways. And one way to enhance its capacity is to support it with binaural beats for your study productivity and learning skills.
And if you’re looking for more tips and tricks on how to unleash your unlimited brain power, here at Mindvalley, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you can get a taste of by claiming your free access today:
- The Superbrain Quest with Jim Kwik. You’ll learn all you need to know on how to take the greatest care of your brain and tap into its infinite resources.
- Becoming Focused and Indistractable Quest with Nir Eyal. Find out what triggers your distractions from the inside out and how to beat them for maximum concentration.
- The Silva Ultramind System Quest with Vishen. It’ll teach you how to access altered states of consciousness to nurture creativity, improve focus, and fall into deep states of relaxation.
Your limitless potential is waiting for you to uncover it. And you can take the first step today.
Images generated on Midjourney.