Article by Dr. Ellen Weber.

At your peak performances your mind is energized by the highest brain waves – called beta waves. Start to daydream during a lecture, or boring committee meeting, and your brain waves shift down a gear to alpha brain waves.

You’re still awake but your waves would register lower on an EEG which is a reading that measures brain waves by hooking electrodes to several points on your head.

Move down one further level – to theta waves and your body relaxes, heart rate and respiration lower slightly, and your mind tends to move back and forth between creative energy and deep relaxation. Eventually, the lowest brain waves, called delta, kick in, and for awhile the brain moves back and forth between delta and theta movement.

In the first stage of sleep, EEGs show the brain waves slowing down progressively through a thirty minute period. Your brain at that point shifts into REM or rapid eye movement sleep.

Nathaniel Kleitman, discovered in the 1950s, that in REM sleep a person’s eyes flutter rapidly in all directions. In REM stages of sleep people dream, and when woken in that stage you may feel like a Mack truck hit you – but you will likely remember your dreams. Interestingly, brain waves at the deepest sleep speed up again – even though the brain remains dormant to conscious thought.

The key is to sustain brain waves suitable for the moment, based on what you hope to accomplish. Easier said than done for a person prone to stress. For example, alpha waves are generated by the relaxed brain, so that you have vivid memories, aha moments, and you feel at peace with the world.

Serotonin chemicals are released which is characterized by high performance and researchers tell us that when some people begin to move from alpha waves into theta movement, sleep soon follows. People who practice meditation can train their minds to enter meditative states, much as those practiced by monks or devout Zen followers.

In contrast, the stress hormone cortisol is released in dangerous doses in people who sustain stress in the lives. This can be caused by poor diet, lack of priorities, too little sleep, habits such as meta messages which generate poor relationships, and lack of reflection that helps you grow and progress in daily doses.

Music or whistlin’ while you work is one of the best touted ways to move your brain waves from one state to another, and as I described in by 2005 book, MI Strategies in the Classroom and Beyond. When you think about it, our brainwaves are rather impressive.

First, Beta Brainwaves, kick in when we think logically, solve problems, and confront external stimuli. Beta often races and brings panic at times. Used too often, you run the risk of thinking deeply about little, and tiring yourself out about much. Imagine this wave as more high energy activity within your mind. Beta has its place but must be helped to slow down at times and reflect.

Second, Alpha Brainwaves, add images and visuals, you could view as escape from reality. Too much alpha activity leads to excessive escapes and too many daydreams. Too little makes human machines in motion, without dreams that direct. “Just right,” adds perfect porridge bowls balanced for healthier lives.

Third, Theta Brainwaves, engage inner and intuitive subconscious. You’ll find theta in places where you hold memories, sensations and emotions. Sometimes, we also store secrets there, which we block out in times of pain, to survive what we feel unprepared to fix.

Fourth, Delta Brainwaves, provide personal radar and feelings at unconscious levels. In healthy doses, these signals cause empathy while too much delta activity can pack on another’s baggage. If you read other people’s minds, you probably have more delta activity than most. If you find yourself in trouble for stepping on another’s toes during typical days, you may engage less.

Fascinating pictures of your brain’s activity can add tools to help you move from one wave kind to another. For example, wide-eyed with beta movement at midnight, you can actually coax your brain into quiet delta thought and parallel places of sleep. Wonderful new studies show what we now know and indicate how we can alter activity to speed up thought or slow it down and plunge into deeper insights to solve complex problems. Einstein used brainwaves to invent and pound new paths off old walkways, and so can we. Whether you feel rushed and stressed or quiet and relaxed much of the time, I’d like to suggest three terrific books for those interested in changing brainwaves for higher performance and brain based business results.

Check out Dr. Daniel Amen’s book, CHANGE YOUR BRAIN CHANGE YOUR LIFE, which suggests wonderful ways to tackle anxiety, diminish anger and break obsessions. Then read Dr. Anna Wise in THE HIGH PERFORMANCE MIND, to find practical helps for improved creativity, spirituality, and relationships. The third book I recommend, A SYMPHONY IN THE BRAIN, is written by a journalist, Jim Robbins, to explain the science behind treatments which train readers to activate brain frequencies they don’t normally use.

Can you see why successful people tend to flee from stressful workplaces and why relaxed people come up with more innovative solutions? What do you think?

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Dr. Ellen Weber

Dr. Ellen Weber – recognized globally for brain-compatible leading, learning and assessment renewal based on people’s hidden and unused capabilities.  Lecturer, TV and radio guest, author of books by major publishers, chief academic officer with PBS renewal series, award winning blog and ranked highly influential on social media elite list in Rochester, NY.

Website: Brain Leaders and Learners

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Article source: Brain Waves for Sleep or Peak Performance?

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