The human brain: marvelous. Thinking, feeling, sensing, choosing…how indescribable the complexity of this organ is. The activity of your brain is a kind of energy that can be understood as biological electricity, measured by a mathematical formula that has a wave form. This is not the only way to understand the activity of a brain, but it is one very useful metaphor.
Various levels of brain activity can be categorized according to the rate or frequency of that brain’s electricity. The usual range of healthy human brain activity falls into reliably measured categories that are associated with levels of awareness ranging from very deep sleep to intense, alert concentration.
All of us can learn to manage our brain activity in order to use the ideal level of bioelectric energy for the specific tasks we face each day. We are able to create the best level of awareness to help us reach our goals with relative ease, dialing in the right kind and amount of mental and physical effort. The ability to tune our awareness is inherent in each and every one of us. In fact, all of us do this throughout each and every day, automatically. When we learn to do it intentionally, we actually make ourselves stronger, faster, smarter, more alert, creative, intuitive and spiritually developed.
Albert Einstein and others like him hypothesized that most people use only a very small percentage of their true potential. The single most powerful way to reach more of your unused potential than ever before is to gain conscious control over your brain states, measured in brain waves. This is what we refer to as brain wave technology: the practice of controlling your brain states for specific purposes. This technology is an essential part of the power and effectiveness of the methods I use in therapy.
Brain wave activity is measured in one second intervals called Hertz. The slowest category of human brain wave activity is deep, dreamless sleep. This activity has less than four waves or cycles per second, and is known as the Delta category. You can learn to sustain Delta level brainwave activity while awake, experiencing intentional dreaming and enhanced self-directed recovery from illness. Most people don’t spontaneously enter Delta with their eyes open, but it is possible, and you can learn to do it in a day.
The Theta category of brainwave activity is characterized by four to seven cycles per second or 4 – 7Hz. Theta is the level of brain activity often used for stress management. It is the dominant brain activity associated with deep meditation. Conscious manipulation of Theta can result in a reduced need for sleep, enhanced creativity, increased energy, calmness, and an increased sense of well being.
The next higher frequency category after Theta is called Alpha. Daydreaming, contemplation and visualization all take place at the Alpha level of brain wave activity. Alpha is easy to learn with eyes open or closed. It’s the level of brain wave activity that can be manipulated to enhance creative problem solving and peak performance. The Alpha category ranges from 7 or 8 Hz to about 14. Alpha is used extensively throughout the therapy I provide.
Our typical, eyes open, alert level of brain activity is called Beta, up to 40 Hz. Concentration, work, performance and most forms of daily activity occur predominantly at the Beta level of brain wave activity. At the higher levels of Beta, some individuals may start to become anxious, even agitated. Prolonged periods of activity at the Beta level can be exhausting for some people, and may interfere with interpersonal functioning.
Finally, above 40Hz the category of rapid brain wave activity is called Gamma. Gamma usually occurs only in short bursts of intense concentration, and is currently the least well understood category of human brain wave activity. Flashes of insight and brilliance may be associated with Gamma.
Here’s an exercise you can do by yourself to experience entering the Alpha brainwave state. This is the level associated with conscious relaxation, creative problem solving, intuition, and peak performance.
- Place yourself in a comfortable position in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted for 10 to 15 minutes. The light should be dim.
- Give yourself a moment to get situated and give yourself the silent instruction: I AM RELAXING. You can close your eyes at this point or keep them open and let them close on their own later on in the exercise.
- Imagine yourself stepping into a perfectly warm bathtub. The water envelopes your foot, then your lower leg. Allow yourself to imagine what it feels like as you step in with the other foot, too.
- Continue with the mental experience of settling into a wonderfully warm bath. Sit down in the tub. Lie down. The warm water covers you peacefully up to your chin.
- Imagine yourself reclining in the tub of warm water. If your eyes are still open, look up from where you are sitting or lying at a 45 degree angle and let your eyelids drift closed. If your eyes are already closed, just imagine yourself looking up from your reclining position without moving your head, letting your eyelids drift closed.
- Imagine settling into the warm, comfortable feeling of being perfectly at peace, perfectly at ease as the water surrounds and supports you. Let your body feel heavy, safe and warm. Take a moment to enjoy this blissful, peaceful feeling of calm and ease.
- Start giving yourself silent, mental instructions. If there’s problem you’ve been grappling with, say to yourself “WHEN I GET OUT OF THIS BATH THE ANSWER I AM SEEKING COMES TO ME CLEARLY AND EASILY.” If you’re preparing for an event or competition say to yourself “I PERFORM EXPERTLY AND EFFECTIVELY (at this event).” If you’re having trouble sleeping say to yourself “I NOW DRIFT OFF TO PEACEFUL, REFRESHING SLEEP, WAKING FEELING ALERT AT (tell yourself what time).” If you are struggling with anger or mood related problems say to yourself “I FEEL PEACEFUL, CALM AND HAPPY.”
- Repeat your instruction to yourself several times, slowly and deliberately.
- When you are ready, imagine yourself getting out of the bath, wrapping yourself in a velvety soft, warm towel. As you dry, repeat your instructions to yourself. When you are ready, simply open your eyes and continue with your day. If you are using Alpha for sleep, just allow yourself to drift off while surrounded and supported by the warm water, after repeating the instruction to sleep and to wake when you specify.
WHY IT WORKS
The Alpha brain wave state has powerful attributes of suggestibility in it. That’s why subliminal advertising works. The images on the TV evoke alpha brain wave activity and your brain soaks up the instruction to want the item being advertised. Give yourself better, intentional instructions that are produced from your enhanced access to creative thought while in Alpha, and reap the double benefit of noticeably improved performance in your daily life.
For more information or a confidential consultation, contact Dr. Miriam Blum.