Brainwaves are electrical impulses in the brain.

An individual’s behavior, emotions, and thoughts are communicated between neurons within our brains. All brainwaves are produced by synchronized electrical pulses from masses of neurons communicating with each other. Our brainwaves occur at various frequencies. Some are fast and some are slow.

Our brainwaves change according to what we’re doing and feeling. When slower brainwaves are dominant we can feel tired, slow, sluggish, or dreamy. The higher frequencies are dominant when we feel wired, or hyper-alert.

The classic names of these EEG bands are delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma. They are measured in cycles per second or hertz (Hz).

What Brainwaves Mean to You

Each of us, however, always has some degree of each of these brainwave bands present in different parts of our brains. Delta brainwaves will also occur when areas of the brain go “offline” to take up nourishment. If we are becoming drowsy, there are more delta and slow theta brainwaves creeping in. If we are inattentive to external things and our mind is wandering, there is more theta present. If we are exceptionally anxious and tense, an excessively high frequency of beta brainwaves is often present.

Our brainwave profile and our daily experience of the world are inseparable. When our brainwaves are out of balance, there will be corresponding problems in our emotional or neuro-physical health.

Binaural Beats and Music

There are also techniques that use the concept of brain wave entrainment, whereby your brainwaves begin to match or synchronize with the frequency of an external stimulus, like a pulsing sound or a light. You can use this concept to train your brain waves to a particular frequency during a specific task. For example, you may want beta waves while you’re preparing for a test, or alpha or delta waves to help you sleep.

To get our brain on the right wavelength, you can listen to binaural beats, which are basically two different sound frequencies played in each ear. 

If you find binaural beats to be a bit boring or repetitive, there are also services that play music designed to enhance certain brainwaves.

The next time you’re stressed or relaxed, motivated or depressed, think about what your brain is doing and how you can help it calm down or get energized. Mind over matter!

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Last modified: September 16, 2022