It’s important to understand that all humans possess five different types of electric patterns, also called “brain waves” across the cortex. It can be observed with an electroencephalograph or EEG. EEG is a tool that allows researchers to note brain wave patterns. While most of us focus on looking at our emotions to become happier, our brain waves and our subconscious mind also play a key part to become satisfied.
In this article, I am going to explain the five brain waves, their frequencies, and how they affect our state of mind and will be explaining where Flow State takes place. Its connection and importance with the state of flow.
What are Brain Waves?
Brain waves are produced by synchronized electrical pulses from masses of neurons communicating with each other. The 5 brainwaves are the Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta arranged from fastest to slowest brain waves. Brainwave speed is measured in Hertz (cycles per second). The first brain waves ever detected were the Alpha Brain Waves which was discovered by Hans Berger on the year 1929.
Our brain waves change according to what we’re doing and feeling. When a slower brainwave is dominant, we can feel slow, sluggish, dreamy, or tired. And when faster brainwave is dominant, we can feel wired or hyper-alert. Multiple brain waves may occur at the same time but there is only one brainwave that is dominant.
Now let me explain each brain wave.
Gamma Waves (40 - 100 Hz)
Gamma Brain Waves are the fastest brainwaves (high frequency) and the most recently discovered brain wave state, relate to simultaneous processing of information from different brain areas. These are involved in higher processing tasks as well as cognitive functioning. This is important for learning, memory, and information processing.
- Too much Gamma Waves result to Anxiety, High Arousal, Stress
- Too little Gamma Waves result to ADHD, Depression, Learning Disabilities
- Optimal Gamma Waves result to Binding Senses, cognition, information processing, learning, perception, REM sleep
- Gamma Waves can be increased through Meditation
Beta Waves (12 – 40 Hz)
Beta Brain Waves are associated with normal waking consciousness and a heightened state of alertness, logic, and critical reasoning. Having the right amount of beta allows us to focus on our tasks whether at school, work, or sports performance. However, exposing too many beta waves also results in too much stress. Stress produces stress chemicals like Cortisol which is really harmful to our body if it’s too much.
- Too many Beta Waves result to Anxiety, Adrenaline, High Arousal, Inability to Relax, Stress
- Too little Beta Waves result to ADHD, daydreaming, depression, poor cognition
- Optimal Beta Waves result to Conscious focus, memory, problem-solving
- Beta Waves can be increased through Coffee, Energy Drinks, Flow
Alpha Waves (8 – 12 Hz)
Alpha Brain Waves are dominant during quietly flowing thoughts, while you are in deep relaxation, or when you are slipping into a lovely daydream, or during light meditation. Alpha is the frequency between our conscious thinking and subconscious mind. This is the Flow State Zone.
- Too much Alpha Waves result to Daydreaming, inability to focus, too relaxed
- Too little Alpha Waves result to Anxiety, High Stress, Insomnia, OCD
- Optimal Alpha Waves result to Relaxation, Flow State
- Alpha Waves can be increased through Alcohol, Marijuana, relaxants, some antidepressants
Theta Waves (4 – 8 Hz)
Theta Brain Waves occur most often in sleep but are also dominant during deep meditation. In theta, we are in a dream; vivid imagery, intuition, and information beyond normal consciousness awareness. It helps us improve our intuition, creativity, and makes us feel more natural. This is also the Flow State Zone.
- Too many Theta Waves result to ADHD, depression, hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattentiveness
- Too few Theta Waves result to Anxiety, poor emotional awareness, stress
- Optimal Theta Waves result to Flow State, Creativity, emotional connection, intuition, relaxation
- Theta Waves can be increased through Depressants
Delta Waves (0 – 4 Hz)
Delta Brain Waves are the slowest but loudest brainwaves (low frequency). It is experienced in a deep, dreamless sleep and in very deep, transcendental meditation. These are also found most often in infants as well as young children. Deep sleep is important for the healing process – as it’s linked with deep healing and regeneration.
- Too many Delta Waves result to Brain injuries, learning problems, inability to think, severe ADHD
- Too little Delta Waves result to Inability to rejuvenate the body, inability to revitalize the brain, poor sleep
- Optimal Delta Waves result to Immune System, natural healing, restorative sleep / deep sleep
- Delta Waves can be increased through Depressants, sleep
So what are the Brain Waves in Flow State?
The Alpha-Theta border area of around 8 Hz is recognized as the zone or the state of flow. This is the border between the conscious and the subconscious mind. In our sports performance, we start out with beta, but very quickly move into alpha and eventually theta. According to Sports Scientists, increases in Alpha Brain waves precede peak performance. And when you are in intense creativity, you are having a mystical theta-burst where you engage in deep dialogue with your divine mind and you’ll be surprised by your performance. This is the brain state of “being in the zone” where your work feels effortless.
The Alpha-Theta zone is also the brain zone where Gamma waves can occur. Gamma waves bind together ideas from distant ranging areas of our brain, connecting memories, experiences, and new stimuli into creative action.
There are 5 brain waves or electric patterns each person has. Namely, the Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta Waves arranged from fastest to slowest. Flow State occurs in the Alpha-Theta Border where you are in the middle of your conscious and subconscious mind. Many sports athletes strive hard to get in that state because it’s the state where constant creativity and optimal performance take place. This is the state where we can combine rapid decisions with creative insight.
You can begin or strengthen your connection to Flow right now, by accessing my Flow State Free Course Package. Flow Tutorials, The 3 Step Formula, Instant Flow Meditation, and a powerful Flow Triggering Workout. Which I will send to you via email right now (if you want). Pretty cool right? Well, grab your access now:)
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Thanks for reading! And stay in Flow for more.
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What are Brainwaves? (n.d.). Retrieved August 20, 2015, from http://www.brainworksneurotherapy.com/what-are-brainwaves
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