Brainwaves and creativity

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Ecco perché mi vengono le idee a classe di spinning…

BRAINWAVES [Source: Middle East Medical Information Center and Directory]

One of our body’s most mysterious functions is the electrical activity in the brain. The electrical activity in the brain can be measured and defined as four distinct electrical levels.These brainwaves are known as Beta, Alfa, Theta and Delta. The electrical activity is defined in “Hz” and is directly related to your physical and mental activity.
These brainwaves can be measured and give us great insight to our current state of mind. You can tell a lot about a person simply by observing their brainwave patterns. For example, anxious people tend to produce an overabundance of high Beta waves while people sleeping would have little Beta brainwaves.
Researchers have found that not only are brainwaves representative of physical and mental state, but they can be stimulated to change a person’s mental state, and even help treat a variety of mental disorders. Certain Brainwave patterns can even be used to access exotic or extraordinary experiences such as “lucid dreaming” or ultra-realistic visualization.

Electrical activity emanating from the brain is displayed in the form of brainwaves. There are four categories of these brainwaves, ranging from the most activity to the least activity.

BETA WAVES

When the brain is aroused and actively engaged in mental activities, it generates beta waves. These beta waves are of relatively low amplitude, and are the fastest of the four different brainwaves. The frequency of beta waves ranges from 15 to 40 cycles a second. Beta waves are characteristics of a strongly engaged mind. A person in active conversation would be in beta. A debater would be in high beta. A person making a speech, or a teacher, or a talk show host would all be in beta when they are engaged in their work.

ALPHA WAVES

The next brainwave category in order of frequency is alpha. Where beta represented arousal, alpha represents non-arousal. Alpha brainwaves are slower, and higher in amplitude. Their frequency ranges from 9 to 14 cycles per second. A person who has completed a task and sits down to rest is often in an alpha state. A person who takes time out to reflect or meditate is usually in an alpha state. A person who takes a break from a conference and walks in the garden is often in an alpha state.

THETA WAVES

The next state, theta brainwaves, are typically of even greater amplitude and slower frequency. This frequency range is normally between 5 and 8 cycles a second. A person who has taken time off from a task and begins to daydream is often in a theta brainwave state. A person who is driving on a freeway, and discovers that they can’t recall the last five miles, is often in a theta state–induced by the process of freeway driving. The repetitious nature of that form of driving compared to a country road would differentiate a theta state and a beta state in order to perform the driving task safely.
Individuals who do a lot of freeway driving often get good ideas during those periods when they are in theta. Individuals who run outdoors often are in the state of mental relaxation that is slower than alpha and when in theta, they are prone to a flow of ideas. This can also occur in the shower or tub or even while shaving or brushing your hair. It is a state where tasks become so automatic that you can mentally disengage from them. The ideation that can take place during the theta state is often free flow and occurs without censorship or guilt. It is typically a very positive mental state.

DELTA WAVES

The final brainwave state is delta. Here the brainwaves are of the greatest amplitude and slowest frequency. They typically center around a range of 1.5 to 4 cycles per second. They never go down to zero because that would mean that you were brain dead. But, deep dreamless sleep would take you down to the lowest frequency. Typically, 2 to 3 cycles a second.

GOING TO SLEEP

When we go to bed and read for a few minutes before attempting sleep, we are likely to be in low beta. When we put the book down, turn off the lights and close our eyes, our brainwaves will descend from beta, to alpha, to theta and finally, when we fall asleep, to delta.
It is a well known fact that humans dream in 90 minute cycles. When the delta brainwave frequencies increase into the frequency of theta brainwaves, active dreaming takes place and often becomes more experiential to the person. Typically, when this occurs there is rapid eye movement, which is characteristic of active dreaming. This is called REM, and is a well known phenomenon.

WAKING UP

When an individual awakes from a deep sleep in preparation for getting up, their brainwave frequencies will increase through the different specific stages of brainwave activity. That is, they will increase from delta to theta and then to alpha and finally, when the alarm goes off, into beta. If that individual hits the snooze alarm button they will drop in frequency to a non-aroused state, or even into theta, or sometimes fall back to sleep in delta. During this awakening cycle it is possible for individuals to stay in the theta state for an extended period of say, five to 15 minutes–which would allow them to have a free flow of ideas about yesterday’s events or to contemplate the activities of the forthcoming day. This time can be an extremely productive and can be a period of very meaningful and creative mental activity.

SUMMARY

In summary, there are four brainwave states that range from the high amplitude, low frequency delta to the low amplitude, high frequency beta. These brainwave states range from deep dreamless sleep to high arousal. The same four brainwave states are common to the human species. Men, women and children of all ages experience the same characteristic brainwaves. They are consistent across cultures and country boundaries.
Research has shown that although one brainwave state may predominate at any given time, depending on the activity level of the individual, the remaining three brain states are present in the mix of brainwaves at all times. In other words, while somebody is an aroused state and exhibiting a beta brainwave pattern, there also exists in that person’s brain a component of alpha, theta and delta, even though these may be present only at the trace level.

Huffington post: Stimulating Brain Waves May Boost Creativity And Ease Depression

“[An alpha wave pattern] essentially decouples you from the environment,” Dr. Flavio Frohlich, assistant professor of psychiatry, cell biology and physiology, and biomedical engineering at the University of North Carolina and the study’s lead author, told The Huffington Post. “The brain at any given moment in time has to decide, ‘How much energy do I spend on processing incoming input through the sensory modalities, and how much time do I spend on processing and reprocessing internally stored previous information?’”

Previous research has shown that highly creative people tend to exhibit more alpha activity, Frohlich said, and the new findings suggest these alpha waves may indeed be a critical part of the creative process.

“In a state of creativity, you need to recombine — in different, novel ways — previously experienced things,” he explained. “You’re shutting out the outside world so that you can come up with newly generated internal ideas.”

Psychology today: Alpha Brain Waves Boost Creativity and Reduce Depression

Our various states of consciousness are directly connected to the ever-changing electrical, chemical, and architectural environment of the brain. Daily habits of behaviour and thought processes have the ability to alter the architecture of brain structure and connectivity, as well as, the neurochemical and electrical neural oscillations of your mind.

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