What State Are You In?
Your emotional states and the type of mental activity your brain is engaged in at any given time can be measured by frequencies (patterns) known as brainwaves. Brain scientists have found that there are several distinct brainwave states, each with its distinct functions and benefits.
Using meditation audios while you meditate can help you access the slower, deeper brainwave states that allow your brain to function in a completely different, more holistic and efficient way than you normally do.
The normal waking state is called Beta. When you are fully awake and alert, your mind is busy problem-solving, attending to daily tasks… And obsessing over past dramas and future worries. Obsessing often flies under the radar of your consciousness, but it’s there nevertheless, taking up valuable mental energy just to keep the dramas and worries alive.
The Beta state is, for most adults, left brain-hemisphere dominant, meaning that most of our thinking is done using language, linear (time) and spatial thinking that is logical and relies on the physical senses for input.
The Beta state can (in simplistic terms) be characterized by “seeing is believing.”
Out-of-the-box creative thinking that defies logic, time, and space is not possible in the left-brain way of thinking – so being in Beta all the time can be very limiting if you’re trying to solve complex problems or be highly creative.
The faster “high Beta” brain activity that occurs when you are stressed about something can lead to long-term problems, as the brain constantly dumps stress hormones into the system and there is not enough opportunity to release these hormones.
Getting Out Of Beta
A more relaxed brain activity state is called Alpha.
This calm, meditative state is associated with tranquility, creativity, enhanced focus, inner peace, and enhanced learning. In the Alpha state, the brain releases substances that counter the effects of the stress hormones. Among these are endorphins, the feel-good or “runner’s high” hormones that are your body’s natural opiate-like pain killers, and also promote relaxation.
The Alpha state is where the left brain hemisphere begins to be less dominant, and the wildly creative right brain hemisphere begins to take a more active role in problem-solving. This whole-brain thinking also leads to enhanced learning. It is a state where you are aware of your intuitive guidance, and you may feel bursts of inspiration and out-of-the-box creative thinking.
Alpha is also where your best personal growth work is done, as the brain is highly suggestible here and you can effectively bypass the limitations of Beta thinking to reprogram yourself.
What being in Alpha does for you: relaxation, super-learning, enhanced creativity. Takes stress out of the equation so you can focus on learning and performance.
Deep meditation and REM (dreaming) sleep are the slow brainwave states called Theta.
During Theta, you experience profound insight, intuition, spiritual connection, creativity and one-ness. The sense that you are a physical being starts to disappear – although the automatic functions of the body continue, you are not aware of your body; and the general emotional state is one of euphoria and bliss.
Since the right brain hemisphere becomes more active in Theta, this state is also characterized by a dramatic decrease of language, which is a left brain hemisphere function. Small children spend a lot of their waking hours in Theta, where imagination is just as real as “reality.”
Theta is where you transition to “believing is seeing.”
What being in Theta does for you: uninhibited imagination and creativity, intuition. Imagination not censored by the left-brain results in out-of-the-box problem-solving.
Deep, dreamless sleep, and extremely deep meditation results in Delta brainwave activity. This is where the body is able to rest completely and repair itself. Little is known about what happens in the brain during Delta – but Delta is highly beneficial for your body’s self-healing mechanisms!
What Delta does for you: rest and repair.
Meditation is the best way to access the deeper, slower brainwave states of Alpha, Theta and Delta.
Traditional meditation can be frustratingly slow to master, but now the advanced technological advances of binaural beats allow you to effortlessly enter these deeper brainwave states whenever you want to.