An intro to hacking our state for Wellbeing & Performance
Understanding our brainwave states is key to being able to hack ourselves for a particular state/outcome. The brain is an electrochemical organ. Electrical activity emanating from the brain is displayed in the form of brainwaves. Millions of electrical pulses pass between neurons when we work, exercise, relax and sleep. Brainwaves are grouped into frequency bands, each having specific characteristics associated with them.
The ability of the brain to be flexible and produce more or less of each band depending on the requirements of the moment. Brainwave states are measured in hertz and broken down as follows:
Delta Waves: 0.1 to 3 Hz. Delta waves are the slowest brain waves and occur in the deepest states of sleep (the third stage of non-rapid eye movement (NREM)), rest and recovery. Interesting to note is that when we are in the Deep sleep phase (also called slow-wave sleep), the function in the brain associated with memory is not active. It is theorised that our consciousness crosses over into source and returns back into the body during the sleep cycles. This is just theory at this stage.
Theta Waves: 4 to 7 Hz. Theta waves also occur during sleep, and have been observed in very deep states of meditation. It is relevant to creativity, intuition, daydreaming, healing, access to the subconscious and visualisation.
Note: The Schumann frequency or the Earth’s frequency is 7.83hz, which sits between Theta and Alpha. In modern society, much of the Schumann frequency is blocked out by the massive amounts of EMF radiation that are emitted every minute of every day. A reason why many consciously or unconsciously seek out (or should) time in nature. Time surrounded by nature is a simple but effective consciousness hack.
Alpha Waves: 8 to 12 Hz. Harnessing your brain’s alpha waves can help you enter a flow state, which allows you to do deep work with less effort. Alpha waves induce feelings of calm, increase creativity, and enhance your ability to absorb new information. Typically linked to problem solving, insight, flow state, time distortion… alpha waves come with increased sense of focus, high output and high quality of work.
Note: Insight or new ideas are often preceded by alpha brain wave state, leading to spikes in gamma frequency. You may have heard people say that they have their best ideas in the shower, on the toilet, exercising. These activities most often put us into an alpha state.
Beta Waves: 13 to 32 Hz. Beta are the most common daytime brain waves, with a rhythm of 13 to 32 Hz. They are dominant in normal wakeful states, when you’re focused on cognitive tasks, multi-tasking, they are associated with an active mind. In excess, high beta brainwaves can create a sense of fragmented attention, stress, anxiety and overwhelm. We feel busy but we get very little done. Common in many modern workplaces.
Gamma Waves: 33 to 100+ Hz. Gamma are the fastest of the brain waves, with a rhythm of 33 to 100+ Hz. They process information from various brain areas and are responsible for conscious perception. 40Hz has proven to be particularly beneficial to the brain. According to studies, our brain cells communicate at a frequency of 40Hz.
You can see from the image above that we cycle through the same brainwave states during both the waking and cycle across 24 hours. The challenge with modern living is that connectivity, access to information and urbanisation has evolved exponentially over the past century, but our ability to manage this transformation hasn’t kept pace resulting in elevated beta brain frequencies, resulting in over active minds, stress, anxiety, overwhelm, leading to depression, burnout and disrupted sleep patterns.
In coming posts, we’ll talk more about different consciousness hacks or ways that we can consciously access different brainwave states to change our experience, wellbeing and performance, using emerging technologies, practices, tools and techniques.
We hope that this gives you a good foundational understanding of your brainwave states and introduce the concept of state management (ie: brainwave state management)
We will build on this.
p.s How do we experience what is beyond unconsciousness (the otherside of the delta brain frequency)? We’ll explore that too in our upcoming consciousness hacking series