What Does Alpha State Feel Like And How Do You Get There

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Achieving an alpha state of mind has profound benefits for helping you fulfil your goals and live without stress. So what’s there to know? This article sums up the alpha state of mind, its benefits, the how-to, and common questions, like ‘what does alpha state feel like’.

a small boat or tinny on calm water, suggests what alpha state feels like
The calm on a sea of tranquillity – the alpha state feeling

About alpha brain waves

What are alpha waves? These 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 the alpha state impresses thoughts and images onto your subconscious mind and so is a way of empowering you to achieve and attract your desires. Some people market this as the ‘law of attraction’.

Alpha waves definition

Whether you believe in the law of attraction or not, alpha brain waves exist. 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

What does alpha state feel like?

Some people refer to the alpha mind state as being in ‘Zen’.

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.

Alpha state of mind benefits

The benefits, as defined by Psychology Today, include a boost to your creativity and alleviation of depression.

Other benefits include feelings of calm and happiness.

Clear cognitive thinking, recall, and insight and intuition are other reported benefits.2  

In an everyday sense, turning off the beta waves (task-orientated) and entering the alpha state of mind is something we do for a sound night’s sleep.

Einstein was one of the famous minds that demonstrated the alpha state of mine benefits …

A recording of Einstein’s brain wave frequencies3 revealed he was in a continuous alpha state whilst working “on automatic” [in the flow, zoned out] on a rather complex mathematical calculation.

After some time, Einstein became aroused and the alpha waves stopped.

When asked what was happening, Einstein answered that he’d insight into a mistake. He insisted that he needed to contact the university.3 

We can all reach an alpha state of mind.

How to get into alpha state

You enter alpha when you stop doing. When you still your mind. Deep relaxation is the level where you enter into alpha state.

You can access this state through meditation. You can also get into this state by self-help creative activity where you feel like ‘you’re in the flow’. Doodling is an example and so is coloring in.

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People unknowingly enter the alpha state when they ‘zone out’. Crocheting, journalling, woodworking, and doing jigsaw puzzles, are all ways people zone out. This is good for you, especially in full-on ‘doing’ society.

Meditation for alpha state

Using meditation as a daily habit of entering alpha state…

Start with getting comfy.

Take a few deep breaths to relax. To go further into relaxation, think of the chakras, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet in succession and visualise these in your mind’s eye.

Then, imagine yourself in a place that feels safe, where you feel calm and joy in your heart. This could be a scene in the mountains, at the beach, or any place where you feel secure and serene.

From here, simply be or you can visualise yourself achieving whatever it is you desire, your goal. This is a very powerful way of getting a mindset for victory as it impresses success on the subconscious mind.

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 the alpha state of mind frequency when we are daydreaming or consciously practising mindfulness or meditation or other times when we are in the flow — on automatic.

We are in the 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. You’ll find some on Amazon as well…

Deep Alpha: Brainwave Entrainment Music for Meditation and Healing

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!

Info sources

  1. Alpha wave. 2018. In Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved Oct 17, 2018, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alpha%20wave/
  2. 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. Neuropsychologia46(1), 281-91.
  3. Penfield & Jasper1954.) Epilepsy and the Functional Anatomy of the Human Brain. pp. 189-90.
  4. 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.
  5. Jensen, M. P., Adachi, T., & Hakimian, S. (2015). Brain Oscillations, Hypnosis, and Hypnotizability. The American journal of clinical hypnosis57(3), 230-253.

Other sources:

Lee D. J., Kulubya E., Goldin P., Goodarzi A., Girgis F. 2018. Review of the Neural Oscillations Underlying Meditation. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 12.


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