You know how it is — you sit down to study or read and your mind wanders and thinks about everything except what you’re trying to learn. You read a page and by the time you get to the bottom, you realize you have no idea what you just read.
This happens because your brain just isn’t in the right state of mind.
To really absorb information, your brain needs to be operating in its ‘learning mode.’ Your neural processes need to be fired off in a way that is conducive to focus and study.
There are many techniques to achieve this state of mind, but using binaural beats for studying is a really great shortcut.
Before we get into the tricks to help you study better, we’re going to break down how the brain works. Don’t worry, we promise to keep it easy and simple. No pop quizzes!
Your Brain Throughout the Day
Your brain is actually an incredibly complex network of little cells called neurons.
These neurons constantly fire off information. As they do, they produce electric activity in different stages.
When you’re really alert, your brain is in what’s called the Beta state, which means the neurons are firing off rapidly and producing a lot of information. As it slows down, it moves into Alpha state, and then as it slows way down and you fall asleep, it moves into Theta then Delta state.
Don’t freak out — you won’t be tested on this information.
What you need to understand though, is that your brain doesn’t learn very well when it’s in the hyperactive state of Beta or the dreamy state of Theta.
To learn, you need to be focused, present, and in the very aware state of Alpha.
Why Can’t I Focus?
If you’re anxious and stressed about… well, anything, you’ll have a hard time studying. This is because the anxiety 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 more than likely, 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.
To focus, your brain needs to be in between these two extremes.
You need to be awake and alert enough to retain information, but not so awake that you can’t concentrate.
Using Binaural Beats to 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, there’s a wonderful technology that can naturally put your brain into the Alpha state — all you have to do is listen to some music.
Binaural beats are the imaginary beats your brain makes up when it is presented with two different frequencies in each ear.
For example, if you hear 410hz in one ear and 400hz in the other, your brain will actually create the 10hz 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 8hz-12hz.
By doing so, your brain will ease into the Alpha state and you’ll feel focused and ready to tackle your studies.
What Is It Like to Use Binaural Beats?
Using binaural beats for focus can instantly put your brain into the right state of mind. You’ll feel calm and relaxed, but not too calm.
It should be a really similar feeling to meditation or yoga. During those activities, your brain is in the Alpha state.
To use binaural beats, make sure you are wearing headphones. Because binaural beats work by presenting each ear with different frequencies, you need to make sure that each ear only hears one of the frequencies.
CAUTION: If you are epileptic or pregnant, talk to your physician before attempting to use binaural beats. They are safe to use but could induce seizures in people who have epilepsy.
Once you put your headphones in and listen to the track, you’ll probably hear soothing music.
The frequencies that create the binaural beat don’t have any real sound, so soothing music is often added to the frequency to make the experience more enjoyable. Soon enough, you’ll feel focused and ready for concentration and studying.
We have a great binaural beats track available on our Mindvalley app. As a Member, you can try it out the next time you have to study or want to focus.
And you can use binaural beats for many other purposes. It simply entrains your brain into a certain state, so it can be helpful for meditation, sleeping, and even having lucid dreams!