Feeling like you’ve hit a mental roadblock? You may just need to adjust your brainwave frequency.
People have multiple brainwave frequencies, each with its own characteristics representing a unique state of consciousness, according to brain scientists. Switching gears from Beta to Alpha can inspire creativity and lower your stress levels.
When you are attending to daily responsibilities and focused on mental activities, your brain is in the Beta frequency. Beta brain waves are associated with normal waking consciousness and an amplified state of awareness, logic and critical reasoning.
Beta brainwaves are divided into three bands: Low Beta (Beta1) is characterized by a “fast idle” or a musing state. Beta (or Beta2) represents high engagement and Hi-Beta is characterized by highly complex thought, high anxiety, or excitement.
Though Beta brain waves are necessary for daily functioning, they also are associated with anxiety, stress and restlessness. Hear that nagging voice in your head reminding you that it’s time to worry? You’re in a “Hi- Beta” state of mind, according to scientists.
Continual high frequency processing is an inefficient way to run the brain, because it takes an enormous amount of energy, researchers say.
Hi-Beta brain activity can lead to long-term problems, as the brain dumps stress hormones into the system faster than the body can flush them. Such chronic stress degrades the capacity for creativity and innovation, experts say.
Even if you’re not in the high stress Hi-Beta state, you still may find your creativity constrained. For most adults, the Beta state is left brain-hemisphere dominant, which means thinking is done using language, linear and spatial intellect that is logical and reliant on physical senses. Because of this left-brain focus, creative thinking that defies logic, time and/or space may be impossible while in Beta, according to some experts.
Alpha is a light relaxation state associated with creativity, superior focus and improved learning. While in this state, your brain releases endorphins and other substances that counter the effects of stress hormones, according to scientists.
Think about how you feel when you are lost in a good book, or enjoying a leisurely drive. You’re mentally alert but also relaxed; alpha is characterized by simultaneous conscious awareness and subconscious predominance.
The right-brain hemisphere, which is associated with creativity, takes an active role while in the Alpha state, which allows a whole-brain approach to problem-solving tasks. Inspiration and out-of-the-box thinking come from being in the Alpha state of mind.
Reading, massage, yoga, driving and other activities can help you enter Alpha, experts say. Certain types of meditation also are effective in altering your brain state to promote creativity, researchers say.