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What Are Brain Waves and How Does Our Brain Work?

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

  • Brain waves are patterns of electrical activity occurring in the brain. They are measured using a technology called Electroencephalography (EEG).

  • There are five types of brainwaves: delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma.

  • In certain individuals, the brain wave patterns can be dysregulated, and one type of brain wave can dominate too frequently or at the wrong time.

  • You can fix brain wave dysregulation and train your brain to reach its optimal state by doing a type of personalized brain training with neurofeedback.

The brain is a fascinating, complex organ that controls many aspects of our daily life. It is responsible for every thought and action, from the deepest philosophical musing, to remembering a grocery list down to coordinating the motor skills necessary to brush your teeth.

It communicates using electronic signals transferred using neurons, also called brain waves. Brain waves are patterns of electrical activity that can be measured using a technology called Electroencephalography (EEG), which picks up the electric signals from the brain using sensors in the form of metal electrodes placed at different locations on the head.

Brain Wave Frequency Chart: There Are Five Different Types of Brain Waves

Brain waves can be divided into different speeds (fast, medium, slow) and correspond to different types of thought patterns.

They are often compared to musical notes since each type of brain wave has its own “sound,” which is distinct from others. When the brain is working well, it is like a symphony in harmony, with the different brain waves occurring in predictable patterns and using fluid jumps between mental states.

However, in certain individuals, the brain wave patterns can be dysregulated, and one type of brain wave can dominate too frequently or at the wrong time.

Brain waves are further broken down into the following three categories based on brainwave frequency:

Hi-Beta (20.5-28 Hz) - Hi-Beta waves are seen during highly complex, rapid thought, including states of excitement and high anxiety.

Beta (16.5-20 Hz) - Beta waves are the intense, focused brain activity when we are working on solving a problem or actively engaging with our environment.

Lo-Beta (12-16 Hz) - Also known as sensorimotor rhythm (or SMR), the Lo-Beta waves have been shown to be very beneficial in reducing anxiety, increasing focus, and overall wellbeing and health.

Alpha (8-12 Hz) - Alpha waves are slower and higher in amplitude than Beta waves and represent a calm, relaxed state. It is the resting state of the brain and occurs during some meditative and mindful activities. Most people can increase their Alpha waves by closing their eyes and taking a few deep breaths.

Theta (4-7 Hz) - Theta waves are very slow and relate to dreamy, free-flowing, detached unconscious thought, which occurs while doing automatic tasks and sometimes in deep meditative states. It often occurs during dreaming sleep.

Delta (1 - 3 Hz) - Delta waves are low brain waves that occur during dreamless sleep and in the deepest meditative states.

The average person experiences all of these types of brain waves at different times over the course of a day. For instance, when solving a difficult crossword, their Beta waves would be most active, while sitting during a relaxing coffee break, they may have more Alpha waves, and in bed, thinking over the events of the day right before drifting off to sleep their Theta waves would be dominant.

Is It Possible to Change Your Brainwaves?

With EEG, you can measure your brain wave activity and ultimately alter it by training your brain to reach its optimal state. This alteration is done through neurofeedback, a non-invasive technology that utilizes EEG technology to train the brain with visual and auditory cues.

The brain training, or feedback, may be done using games or videos that respond to your brain wave activity in real time. Over time, that awareness from the feedback teaches your brain to self-regulate and achieve a healthier, more balanced brain wave state.

As a result of neurofeedback, you can experience improvement in your focus, spatial/motor skills, mood, and overall wellbeing, as well as enhancement in different types of memory and attention.

Myndlift provides a personalized expert-guided brain training program that can help you achieve your goals towards reaching improved focus and calm. Check if you’re eligible to kick start your journey with us for better brain health from here.

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