Most of us have a keen interest in staying healthy, but for many people this does not translate into much more than a general effort to ‘eat well’ and get some occasional exercise. While our physical health is obviously of critical importance, of equal (or perhaps greater) importance is our mental health – our ‘state of mind’ – and yet this is something which doesn’t often receive much attention. At least not until there is a serious problem, which may often end up being identified and labelled as a ‘disorder’ of some sort.
But how much attention does the average, ‘mentally healthy’ person give their state of mind? Most people can relate, to some degree or another, to the impact of stress, anxiety or moments of mild depression in their lives. But they typically don’t do much to proactively cope with the symptoms, let alone address the causes.
People tolerate being mildly overweight and out of shape, and they tolerate being stressed, anxious and unhappy to a certain degree as well.
However, just like a basic understanding of food can help you take care of your physical health, a basic understanding of how your brain contributes to your state of mind can help you take care of your mental health. With that said, a great starting point is to take a look at what the brain’s 5 different frequencies are, how they impact your mental state, and how you can use this knowledge to your advantage.
Our brains create electrochemical processes which can be measured in the form of brainwaves using an electroencephalogram (EEG). Brainwaves occur at different frequencies, on a continuum from slow to fast, and are measured in Hertz (Hz) – or repetitions per second.
We all have 5 brain wave frequencies, each associated with different processes, and they are as follows:
- Gamma (27 Hz and up): information processing and insight
- Beta (12 – 27 HZ)): alert and focused activity (wakefulness)
- Alpha (8 – 12Hz): state of relaxation
- Theta (3-8 Hz): light sleep or deep relaxation; daydreaming and REM dream state; ideal for self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy
- Delta ( less than 3 Hz): deep dreamless sleep
We all experience periods of brainwave activity at all of the above frequencies on a daily/nightly basis. Every time we go to sleep, we drop down from a Beta state (or possibly Gamma) down through to a Delta state. And vice-versa when we wake up in the morning.
With our busy, hectic schedules, however, most of us spend our days in a Beta state – with occasional moments of Gamma. Unfortunately, moments of Alpha or Theta state are not often scheduled or cultivated. At best, people may ‘chilll’ in front of the TV after a long day of work, and dip into a period of Alpha for a short while.
Alpha and Theta states are periods that offer tremendous benefit to our state of mind. They have been attributed to decreases in stress, anxiety, pain, and improved memory. Theta states are also the realm of the subconscious, and where the wonderful work of hypnotherapy takes place. In general, when we provide ourselves opportunities to enjoy these moments of brainwave activity, our state of mind – and mental health – improves.
Whether it’s meditation, self-hypnosis, visits to a hypnotherapist, or just other moments of quiet time where you have a chance to ‘chill’ somewhere other than in front of a TV, your brain will thank you for it.
Below are some fantastic graphics that provide extensive information on the various brain waves. For more information, and to discuss how hypnosis and hypnotherapy can serve you, feel free to contact us as well.
Nichols Clinical Hypnotherapy in San Francisco & White Rock