The brain is the most complex object in the known universe, and it has its own form of language. That’s right: your brain communicates with itself by emitting electrical signals called “brain waves.” The human body produces five different types of brain waves, each one corresponding to a different mental or physical state. Brain wave frequencies range from 1 Hz (or cycles per second) up to 100 Hz for beta waves; gamma waves are even higher at up to 200 Hz. All these frequencies are measured in hertz (Hz). A few examples of what they do include:
– Beta Waves: These are high-frequency thoughts that can be easily understood by others and which represent our normal waking consciousness, where we’re engaged in thought and action. This is the sharpest of our brain waves, and it’s where we do our best problem-solving.
– Gamma Waves: These are also high-frequency thoughts but are more inclusive, often touching on many different ideas at once; they foster creativity and innovation.
– Alpha Waves: Although these frequencies are slower than beta, they’re higher than the rest and integral for relaxed focus.
– Theta Waves: These frequencies are present during deep sleep or periods of meditation.
– Delta Waves: Setting the lowest frequency on our list, delta waves are dominant during non-REM sleep; it is where your body regenerates and recharges.
Brain waves are measured using an electroencephalogram (EEG), in which electrodes are attached to the scalp in order to record electrical activity in the brain. A chart is then produced, displaying how strong a given frequency is at different points across time; this shows us different patterns of brain waves that can be mapped to specific behaviors or thought processes.
Likewise, brain waves are the communication tool of the brain. They help us stay in touch with our environment and cognition, and they occur (in different frequencies and intensities) when we’re asleep or awake, being creative or solving a math problem, on LSD or sober. And the good thing is you can also manipulate your brain to go into a meditative state, which can be beneficial to your whole being.
Read more as we’re to talk about meditation brain waves in today’s post…
Meditation And Brain Waves
Science has shown that there are two different types of meditation-relaxation and concentration. Concentration is a form of meditation in which you train your mind to focus on one specific thing, most often a mantra. Relaxation is a form of meditation in which you allow the mind to process thoughts spontaneously and simply observe them with an attitude of openness and acceptance.
In order to achieve the right state of mind for either type of meditation, it is important to find a comfortable position. For relaxation, this may be lying down or sitting upright in a straight-backed chair. For concentration, you might try sitting cross-legged on the floor or in a chair, or kneeling with your back supported by the wall while seated on the floor. You can also try practicing meditation while walking or standing, although this might prove more difficult.
If you find yourself struggling to achieve the right state of mind and concentration during your meditation, consider using a mindfulness bell. This method can be especially helpful if you’re beginning your practice or trying to maintain focus in the face of distractions. The mindfulness bell lets you know when it’s time to refocus your attention after a momentary distraction.
If you practice meditation regularly, your body will become accustomed to the physical positions and mental state required for a successful session. But if you’re new to this type of exercise or have been practicing for a while but find that your mind is still wandering and you can’t seem to focus, consider consulting a meditation instructor or attending group sessions for guidance.
How To Manipulate Your Brain Waves To Achieve A Meditative State
Maintain a relaxed, upright sitting position with your spine straight. Rest both your hands on either your thighs or in your lap while closing your eyes at the same time. You can also keep them open if that makes you more comfortable. Some people find eye contact uncomfortable when meditating, so it’s okay to look down at the floor.
Take a moment to bring your awareness to the present moment and let yourself relax. Acknowledge any feelings of discomfort, but avoid focusing on them too much as this can be very distracting and prolong the period before you’re able to focus on your meditation. It’s important not to overthink during meditation—simply let your thoughts pass through your head without engaging with them. If you find yourself thinking nonstop, it’s okay to gently redirect your attention back to the present moment.
Begin by focusing on slow, deep breathing. Allow the rhythm of your breath to relax you. It can also help to silently say a word or phrase, known as a mantra, with each breath. The most common mantra is the sound of your own breath. For example, breathe in silently saying “in” and breathe out silently saying “out.” You can also choose to say an actual word or phrase over and over again, such as “relax, relax, relax.”
Once you feel fully relaxed, focus on your mantra or the sound of your breath until this mantra becomes the only thing that’s in your mind. If another thought enters your head, redirect your attention back to your meditation mantra without dwelling too much on what you were just thinking. Some people find it helpful to visualize their mantra as a string of light energy at the back of their heads, which they follow as it becomes longer and brighter.
If you find yourself distracted by noises or other sensory distractions, use a mindfulness bell to refocus your attention on meditating. You can purchase one online or make your own by using an object that makes a clear sound when struck.
After using the bell, return to your mantra.
If you’re having a particularly difficult time concentrating and keeping your mind from wandering, try meditating for shorter periods of time or in five-minute increments. Remember that even if you only catch a few moments of stillness at a time, each moment builds on the last—you’ll start achieving longer periods of truly focused meditation in no time.
When you feel your session is complete, take a few moments to stretch and slowly return to a state where it’s easier for you to interact with the physical world around you before opening your eyes. The end of a meditation practice should be much like the beginning—a time where you focus on the present moment and return to your natural state of awareness.
To end your practice, take a minute or two to stretch out any tight muscles in your body. When you feel relaxed enough to return to engaging with the physical world around you, slowly open your eyes.
What’s Happening Inside Your Brain During Meditation
During meditation, the brain releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which activates the brain area that processes sensory input. This can improve your concentration and sleep quality. And as this happens through the meditation brain waves, you’ll experience a decreased heart rate, lower blood pressure and slower breathing. In addition to these physiological changes, the process of meditation also helps you to slow down your thoughts and focus on the present moment as opposed to worrying about the past or anticipating the future.
The Benefits Of Meditation
Research has found that meditation has many psychological benefits such as stress reduction, improved attention and concentration, increased brain activation in areas related to cognitive processes such as memory and learning, lower anxiety levels and better moods. Meditation may also have other benefits, including anti-aging effects.
Also, meditation has been shown to affect the brain’s anatomy. For example, research has found that it can increase the thickness of your cerebral cortex (the outermost layer of your brain), reduce age-related atrophy in brain tissue and improve the flow of blood to your brain. During meditation, the brain releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which activates the brain area that processes sensory input. This can improve your concentration and sleep quality. During meditation, you’ll experience a decreased heart rate, lower blood pressure and slower breathing. In addition to these physiological changes, meditation also helps you to slow down your thoughts and focus on the moment as opposed to worrying about the past or anticipating the future.
In this way, voluntary meditation can help reduce inflammation in the body and support overall health. For example, research has found that meditation can have beneficial effects on metabolic syndrome risk factors such as obesity, blood pressure and triglycerides. Research has also found that meditation can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Overall, meditation is an intentional mental process to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, enhance personal growth and promote well-being. At its most basic level, meditation involves bringing your attention out of the past or future and into the present moment —helping you focus on what’s happening right now in your life.