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Alpha Brain Waves: Why They Reduce Anxiety & Calm You Down
You're staring out the window while fluffy clouds drift gently across an impossibly blue sky.
A deep and pleasant sigh escapes your lips. You lift your cup of warm tea and take a delicious sip.
The chair beneath you feels soft yet sturdy. You notice the birds chirping and a warm breeze.
There's no rush to be anywhere. Everything feels calm and relaxed.
This is your brain on Alpha waves.
When Alpha brain waves are dominant, you’re in a state of wakeful rest. Alpha waves naturally occur just after you wake up, during daydreaming and relaxation. You’re awake but you aren’t concentrating too hard.
What are alpha brain waves?
Your brain is made up of billions of neurons that use electrical signals to communicate.
When neurons fire together to send signals to other neurons, the resulting patterns are known as brain waves.
There are five types of brain waves that range from very slow to very fast. Alpha waves fall somewhere in the middle. Not too fast, not too slow.
Imagine you’re watching the waves at the beach. You start counting how many times they crash onto the shore per second.
The number of times the waves crashed onto the shore is their frequency. In science, this frequency is called Hertz (Hz).
The frequency of Alpha brain waves are between 8-12 Hertz. This means Alpha waves peak 8 to 12 times per second.
Benefits of Alpha waves include calm focus, reduced stress and quiet reflection.
Types of Brain Waves
Alpha brain waves are just one kind of brain wave. There are five types of brain waves, each with a different frequency range and unique benefits. From slowest to fastest they are:
- Delta waves - between 0.5 and 4 Hz, dominant during deep, dreamless sleep
- Theta waves - between 4 and 8 Hz, dominant during light sleep or deep calm
- Alpha waves - between 8 and 12 Hz, dominant when you feel relaxed and idle
- Beta waves - between 12 and 30 Hz, dominant when you're alert and focused
- Gamma waves - between 25 and 100 Hz, dominant when you’re actively involved in problem solving, processing information and learning
Alpha brain waves and anxiety
When you're producing alpha waves, you're in a more relaxed, restful mental state. Which means alpha brain waves help you to reduce stress and feel calmer.
One study found that alpha brain wave neurofeedback training helped participants reduce their anxiety levels.
Another study found that increasing alpha activity in the brain’s parietal lobes helped decrease symptoms of both anxiety and depression in those with generalized anxiety disorder.
By boosting your alpha waves, you might also experience less anxiety and a greater sense of calm.
Can you increase alpha brain waves?
In a word? Yes.
You can activate alpha brain waves through neurofeedback - a specialised brain training program where you try to consciously induce specific brain waves.
A 2009 study also suggested that meditation and mindfulness training could boost alpha brain waves states.
However, an easy and effective way to increase alpha waves is by listening to meditones®. Because meditones help entrain your brain.
What is alpha brain wave entrainment?
Entrainment refers to the synchronization of organisms to an external perceived rhythm. Your mind and body integrate musical patterns in unison with your own biological rhythms - like tapping your foot along with the beat.
But some entrainment rhythms are more subtle. Music can entrain your heartbeat, your hormones and even your brain waves.
Both brain waves and sound waves are measured in Hertz. Which means we can use sound to stimulate or entrain specific brain wave patterns.
How do meditones entrain alpha brain waves?
Meditones® are precisely tuned frequencies of sound, that when heard with headphones, guide your brain into effortless calm.
Here’s how they work.
When two frequencies are combined they make a humming vibration. When you listen to this vibration with a pair of headphones, your brain synchronises to that frequency.
Which means, when you listen to a vibration of 10Hz, your brain will produce brain waves of 10Hz.
Brain waves that are at a frequency of 10Hz are in the Alpha range. So by listening to meditones at 10Hz, you’ll start to produce Alpha brain waves and feel blissfully relaxed. Effortlessly.
The technical term for meditones is binaural beats and their results are completely backed by science.
But all you need to remember is that they make you calm without you having to do a thing. Just listen with headphones, and the meditones effect occurs naturally and easily.
Alpha brain waves and music
Slower paced music is perfect for inducing a relaxed state of mind. By combining Alpha meditones and calming music, you can easily begin to reap the benefits of Alpha brain waves, such as:
- calm focus
- reduced stress
- decreased anxiety
Inside the Seekers' Sanctuary we have hours of calming meditones music for alpha brain waves. You can easily filter by brain wave on the Explore page.
Electrical activity is always occuring in your brain. But alpha brain waves are dominant when you are awake and calm.
You can boost alpha brain waves when you listen to meditones, meditate or practice mindfulness. Which in turn will help you reduce stress, overcome anxiety and feel calmer.