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
I’m definitely admiring what you’re about. In another life I would have been you. And now I’m an oldster passing (@75-yo) who’s still trying to catch up with the youngsters. So thanks for bringing me along to what I’m missing in the evolution of being. You are definitely a love of my life which if we were in closer proximity, we’d investigate.
<3 I appreciate you Chris. I've love to do an interview with you in the near future if you are game?
Even after years or reading them, instant recall of these described states (as applied to electric frequency patterns) in broad areas of the cortex and neocortex and other brain regions in the 3d volumetric area is difficult for me, probably as I very rarely make time to recall them or share the detail or try to teach them to others I know.
But mnemonics do help, tunes and musical also, for some people but I don’t think so musically as some do, I’m more of a parrot there!
Here’s a description of what I thought in the instant I felt like again trying to commit the descriptive words such that I can recall them. Let’s see if it works, I’ll see if I can describe these states to my children and partner one time 🙂
The word ‘dat’ as a missspelling or slang for ‘that’.
Dat brain stuff!
Abbreviated to DT, missing the A, where do you start?
Then ABC but it becomes ABG
All Be Good, or a common sequence that ends with go, or some other set of concepts, too many to write up!
So a frequency order starts slow and wide
Then gets fast with more frequent ripples,
The numbers and associated descriptions of the common ways people describe feelings or actions or other activity in those measurable states, perhaps I’ll try think about and write that out another time, to help memorise it so it’s describable using our common ways of drawing thoughts to moments and each other.
Thank you, this is interesting but also maybe dated? Have you read the more recent papers on brainwaves and meditation? It seems different to what you’re saying. A lot of advertisements I get now on Facebook for devices that don’t seem to work or understand how brainwaves work but try and promise me they do but no real studies. What do you think of this? I think seems like typical scams? Thank you, Carol
Hey Carol… Thanks for your comments. I’ve read a lot of research around the brainwave states, meditation and altered states, but I am always happy to be learning. If you can please share the research you are referring to, I would love to check it out. Yes I agree some technology devices rely on research which is skewed in favour of the technology. I’ve been using a number of technology devices from consumer level to more clinical applications over the years. Are there any technology devices in particular you would like me to review or offer feedback on? I look forward to hearing from you. Troy