This post was most recently updated on March 30th, 2020
Achieving an Alpha state of mind has profound health benefits for the body and mind, and life in general. So what’s not to know? This article sums up the Alpha state of mind, its benefits, the how-to, and things to be aware of.
About Alpha Brain Waves
What are alpha waves? They are electrical pulses within the brain, otherwise known as brain waves or neural oscillations (brain oscillations). The alpha brain waves are relatively slow at frequencies between 8 to 13 hertz (hz). Alpha waves are associated with mind power.
Using visualization and affirmations while in alpha state has the power to make your desires reality, according to the law of attraction defined by the New Thought philosophy.
Alpha Waves Definition
Whether you believe in the law of attraction or not, alpha brain waves are real. An alpha wave is an “electrical rhythm of the brain with a frequency of approximately 8 to 13 cycles per second that is often associated with a state of wakeful relaxation”.¹
Some people understand the alpha mind state as being in ‘Zen’.
What Does Alpha State Feel Like?
This is how I describe it: You are in the flow. You are in a state of calm and helpful thoughts flow freely. Some describe the alpha state as a light hypnotic state. You are awake but very relaxed.
Why Practice Getting into Alpha State
The alpha state of mind benefits defined by Psychology Today include boosting creativity and reducing depression.
States of calm and happiness are others. In an everyday sense, it helps to turn off the beta waves (task orientated) and enter alpha state (of being) necessary for sound sleep at night and de-stressing.
Clear cognitive thinking, recall, and insight and intuition are other reported benefits.2 Einstein was one of the famous minds that demonstrated these benefits …an experiment on Einstein revealed he emitted a continuous alpha frequency when working on one of his rather complex mathematical calculations while ‘on automatic’ (in a relaxed state). After some time, he became aroused and the alpha waves stopped. When asked what was happening, he answered that he’d just had insight into a mistake and asked if he could contact the university.3
We can all reach an alpha state of mind.
How to ACHIEVE Alpha State of Mind
The best way to access this state would be to practice meditation or a creative activity in tune with your inner nature.
An alpha meditation method starts with getting comfy. A few deep breaths can help. For deep relaxation, visualize the colors of the chakras, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet in succession in the minds eye one at a time. Then, imagine yourself somewhere that feels calm and sparks joy in your heart. This could be in the mountains, at the beach, or any place where you feel safe and serene. These tricks help relax the mind and body further, allowing the brain to enter the alpha state of mind. From here, you can use the law of attraction methods or simply be. I always have a mental notebook to capture insights or park random thoughts that pop into my head.
Other ways people (sometimes unknowingly) enter the alpha state of mind is through creativity — a hobby or other activities that allow them to ‘zone out’. Adult coloring is a modern trend relating to this. Crocheting, journalling, woodworking, doing jigsaw puzzles, are other ways you can zone out.
Brain Wave Types
The human brain waves known to science occur at the following frequencies: Delta (0.5–3 hz), theta (3.5–7 hz), alpha (8-–13 hz), beta (13–30 hz), and gamma (30–100 hz), the latter only acknowledged since the use of digital electroencephalography (EEG). You might see these measured in hertz (hz) or in cycles per second (cps), but 1 hz equals 1 cps, nonetheless.
We experience alpha state of mind frequency when we are daydreaming or consciously practicing mindfulness or meditation or other times when we are in the flow — on automatic.
We are in beta state of mind when wide awake and operating in today’s fast paced lifestyle.
In hypnosis, often linked to an unconscious or subconscious mind, we are likely to exhibit an increased level of theta brain waves.4, 5
In REM sleep or light sleep, our brains are in alpha state. In deep sleep (the dreamless type), we enter delta and theta states.
Advanced practitioners of meditation have been found to display increased gamma activity.
This stuff happens without our control or awareness.
We know these associations through technology that measures brain activity, namely EEG, that give views of brain oscillations.
Conscious Use of Alpha Waves
It is highly recommended to practice entering an alpha state of mind often for its multiple benefits. The number of times is up to you but it is thought the more the better.
You can download alpha state of mind music designed to help with this.
However, you wouldn’t consciously use alpha wave type music or methods while driving or operating machinery or any other activity that requires your full attention.
Tip: Make sure it is a positive experience and avoid feeding your mind with harmful subliminal information.
Have you ever noticed how the time disappears when you are using social media networks? If you check yourself, you’ll probably notice you are in a trance-like state. FB is aware of this connection and is developing brain science technology to tap into your brain waves to improve your so-called experience. This is no longer the stuff of sci-fi movies. Brain science use in technology is advancing at a rapid rate and there appears to be insufficient understanding of its effects or whether or not we need to self-guard ourselves from the alpha brain side effects of this phenomenon. So, be aware of how you use social media and how it affects your wellness. That’s my thoughts.
In closing, I recommend you check out the different ways of how to meditate and start your practice of tuning into alpha state today for positive results. What is alpha state of mind? It is a natural ability we have that’s often unrealized. It yields cognitive gains among other benefits that help us stay in tune with the nature within and the nature around us for a harmonic and rewarding life. That’s my take!
- Alpha wave. 2018. In Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved Oct 17, 2018, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alpha%20wave/
- Kounios, J., Fleck, J. I., Green, D. L., Payne, L., Stevenson, J. L., Bowden, E. M., & Jung-Beeman, M. (2007). The origins of insight in resting-state brain activity. Neuropsychologia, 46(1), 281-91.
- Penfield & Jasper, 1954.) Epilepsy and the Functional Anatomy of the Human Brain. pp. 189-90.
- Sabourin, M. E., Cutcomb, S. D., Crawford, H. J., & Pribram, K. (1990). EEG correlates of hypnotic susceptibility and hypnotic trance: Spectral analysis and coherence. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 10(2), 125-142.
- Jensen, M. P., Adachi, T., & Hakimian, S. (2015). Brain Oscillations, Hypnosis, and Hypnotizability. The American journal of clinical hypnosis, 57(3), 230-253.
Lee D. J., Kulubya E., Goldin P., Goodarzi A., Girgis F. 2018. Review of the Neural Oscillations Underlying Meditation. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 12.