Your brain produces four types of brain waves: beta, alpha, theta and delta. If you experience an overload of stress and tension, you probably have a low level of alpha brain wave activity. You can increase alpha brain waves with certain meditation exercises and other techniques to help alleviate stress, increase creativity and relieve tension.
About Brain Waves
The four types of brain waves occur during different times of day, depending on what you are doing and how you are feeling. Your brain waves are related to different states of consciousness, according to author Anneke Huyser in her book, "Singing Bowl Exercises for Personal Harmony." Each brain wave is measured based on number of pulses, or hertz, per second. Beta brain waves, which are emitted at a frequency of between 13 and 30 hertz, occur when you are alert and actively engaged in activity, such as when you're at work. Alpha brain waves, which are around eight to 13 hertz, usually occur when you are feeling relaxed, happy and in a positive mood, such as when you're doing something you enjoy or makes you feel peaceful. Theta brain waves, between four and seven hertz, are slower and are produced during light sleep and deep meditation. Delta brain waves, less than four hertz, occur during dreamless sleep.
Benefits of Alpha Waves
Alpha brain waves occur when you are alert and conscious yet in a state of relaxation and calmness. In this state, you are more easily able to access creative ideas. According to therapist and meditation expert Patt Lind-Kyle in her book, "Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain: Applying the Exciting New Science of Brain Synchrony for Creativity, Peace and Presence," your right brain is most active when alpha waves are emitted and your left brain is most active when beta waves are produced. When the two hemispheres of your brain are synchronized, you are able to operate in a state of calm awareness. Alpha brain waves promote feelings of contemplation, peace, relaxation and stillness.
Exercises to Increase Alpha Waves
People who practice yoga, meditation and other mind-body or stress relief techniques usually have a higher level of alpha wave activity. Memory training exercises or listening to guided visualization programs can help increase alpha waves. According to therapist and personal coach Nigel F. Huddleston on his website, Synthesis Learning, you can increase alpha brain wave activity by performing a simple mindfulness exercise. Close your eyes and inhale slowly and calmly, noticing any mental or physical sensations and becoming aware of your heart beating. Listen to your heart beat for three beats. Allow your mind and body to relax. Exhale and repeat this exercise three times.
An excess of alpha brain wave activity can produce undesirable effects, such as feeling depressed, having attention difficulties, feeling "spaced out" or having a slower reaction time, according to author Lind-Kyle. Aim to achieve balance between beta and alpha waves in order to experience increased states of well-being. Don't go overboard, but try to set aside some time every day to meditate, perform mind-body exercises or listen to guided visualization programs.