The brain is an intriguing organ. There’s always a certain level of electric activity going on inside our brains regardless of whether we are sleeping or mentally alert. Scientists have been trying to unearth the true power of meditation on the mind and body. So far, the results have been eye-opening. When you train your brain to be alert during meditation, you not only improve your emotional intelligence but also strengthen your mind tremendously. Meditation waves are largely responsible for calming our minds and restoring a sense of peace.
Meditation benefits for the brain
There are essentially 5 types of brain waves, each corresponding to our level of brain activity. The gamma rays exist when our minds are actively learning or in hyperactivity. Learners take advantage of these gamma rays since information is normally retained during this state. However, an excess of these rays can cause anxiety. Gamma rays are undesired during brain waves meditation, since they promote hyperactivity of the brain. Meditation waves will generally contain slower wavelengths. When you’re meditating, you work with negative thoughts and feelings and invest in positive motivation and awareness.
The Beta Waves are second in line. They are a bit slower than gamma rays and usually dominate for majority of the day. Whenever our minds are thinking and performing ordinary tasks such as planning, analyzing and assessing, we’re usually in the Beta state. The Alpha Waves, on the other hand, are much slower (between 9 and 13Hz). These meditation waves normally occur after performing activities that relax our mind and body. Such activities include taking nature walks, attending a yoga class and performing mindful swimming, and of course – meditating. Some scientists believe that many meditation benefits for brain start unveiling when we reach the Alpha State.
The two remaining brain waves are Theta Waves and Delta Waves. These two meditation waves allow us to experience the full power of meditation. Theta Waves help us to commence meditation. When we enter the Theta State, our thinking/verbal minds transition into visual/meditative minds. Most meditators feel drowsy when they enter this state because their minds are usually sinking into a deeper level of awareness. Their intuition strengthens and their minds develop a larger capacity to solve complicated problems and to achieve wholeness. Researchers associate the Theta State to visualization. Delta waves are mostly achieved by Tibetan monks who’ve been practicing mindful meditation for decades. They’re the ultimate culmination of brain waves meditation and are usually achieved by ordinary people during deep sleep.
It isn’t important to remember all these types of brain waves, let alone try to manipulate your mind to experience them. Focusing on the object of meditation – usually the breath – you will gradually calm your mind and your brain, all by itself, will know what to do!
A change in mind and body
When you start meditating, your mind also starts changing. Those parts that are responsible for enhancing your attention, empathy, compassion, calmness and youthfulness start developing. Parts of the brain (such as the amygdala) associated with fear, stress, anxiety and restlessness also start shrinking. Interestingly, meditation also increases the production of dopamine, a reward hormone, within the brain. Certain anxiety neurotransmitters called Norepinephrine usually reduce once you start practicing meditation. These subtle changes within the brain result in an overall improvement in your health and wellbeing.
Rachel Parrish, an authentic meditation teacher, says that meditation allows us to gradually change those habitual patterns that we dislike in ourselves. In case you feel tied down by an addiction, practicing meditation will rewire your brain and help you break those addiction cycles. While we can’t really do brain waves meditation directly, it is clear that meditation is a powerful way of reconnecting with your inner self and finding peace. Scientists have discovered that meditation helps you grow fundamentally resilient. This sentiment is shared by Tokpa Korlo, an authentic meditation practitioner, who reiterates the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
If you desire to experience the true power of meditation, downloading a meditation app might help. The Mindworks: Guided Meditation App comes highly recommended. It has an array of meditation resources including valuable daily meditations as well as some enriching Mind Talks from respected mentors like Rachel Parrish. Remember, trying to achieve various meditation waves won’t lead anywhere, just practice your meditation and let your body and mind become calm and relaxed. The brain waves take care of themselves.