Our brains are powerful; they dictate our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors by using various neurotransmitters to communicate different signals, depending on various factors like mood, activity level, and stress. Our brains are split up into various parts, each having its own responsibility within our intricate neurological system.
Basic Brain Science
The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain, and is divided into two hemispheres, or halves. Within the cerebrum, there are various lobes which all work together at every moment of every day. Our frontal lobes, indicated at the front part of the brain, coordinate higher-level behaviors, like motor skills, problem solving, judgment, planning, and attention. In addition, these lobes manage personality, our mood, and emotions. Other parts of the cerebrum exist to organize sensory inputs, aid in hearing and visual memory, speaking and learning a new language, and influence our ability to read. The brain houses numerous other different, smaller parts which assist us in maintaining our energy level, keeping our concentration and focus, controlling appetite, and stimulating the production and release of hormones along with numerous other tasks.
Special Signals: Brain Waves 101
Our brains are fascinating, yet sensitive. Multiple areas of wellness exist to calm the brain (hello, yoga), allowing us to think more clearly, elevate our mood, and release feel-good hormones, such as those experienced during a runner’s high. By using wellness, whether it’s working out, journaling, stretching, or practicing mindfulness, we’re directly caring for our brains! Our brains send and receive millions of impulses every day in the form of chemical and electrical signals. Some signals make us tired, while others make us feel hungry. The brain’s connection to the rest of the body allows our wellness practices to have a direct impact on our overall health and wellbeing.
These neuronal signals produce brain waves, which are essentially the brain talking to the rest of the body. Different brain waves serve different functions, but all are important. While our brains are always on, its functions literally differ minute to minute! Think of brainwaves like a conscious stream of communication; from low and slow to fast and complex, a healthy brain is always in charge of our bodily responses. It’s helpful to think of these brain waves as musical notes–low frequency waves are larger and slower, like a deep drum beat while higher frequency waves are quicker and faster, like the sounds coming from a high-pitched flute. Just like a symphony of instruments, these brain waves work together to produce a functioning mind and a healthy body.
Our brain waves change depending on what we’re doing; if we’re sleeping or dreaming, slower waves will be released, which create a calming effect on the body. In contrast, when we’re feeling refreshed or exercising, higher brain waves will be released to allow our bodies to continue doing what we’re doing. Keep reading to learn more about these complex waves, and how you can stimulate them to both get alert and to doze off into a completely calm space.
The Different Types of Brain Waves
Alpha Waves: Have you ever finished a yoga class or meditation and felt that amazing, naturally high feeling? That’s due to our Alpha wave activity. During quietly flowing thoughts, like meditation, daydreaming, or breathwork, the brain calms itself down by releasing these waves. Alpha is known as the ‘power of now’, and these waves are stimulating simply when we are just being. Alpha waves aid overall mental calmness, alertness, and play a big role in the mind-body connection. To reap the benefits of these waves even more and curate a sense of peace, take 1-3Calm capsules whenever you’re feeling anxious for more zen, without any drowsiness.
Beta Waves:Whenever we’re awake, Beta waves are too. These waves are responsible for our normal, waking state of consciousness and assist us in completing cognitive tasks and with being attentive. Think of beta as ‘fast’; these waves exist when we’re problem solving, critically thinking, making judgements and focusing on a mental activity. Making a speech or gossiping with your BFF both release beta waves. Continually releasing these waves takes a lot of energy, which is exactly why sleep is a necessary process of life; it lets these waves rest!
Delta Waves: These brain waves are of slowest frequency, but greatest amplitude. A deep, dreamless sleep (what we’re all aiming for to recharge) releases these waves. Delta waves allow us to tap into our unconscious mind by decreasing our awareness of our physical world. When we turn off our light, our head hits the pillow, and we drift off to sleep, our delta waves take over and we transcend into a peaceful, good night’s rest.
Gamma Waves:Gamma waves are the only frequency that have been found to exist in all parts of our brains. They are the fastest wave, and are released during times of high concentration and information stimulus. During activities that require problem solving or intense focus, gamma waves are released to help our brains process information. They are the most recently discovered wave, and scientists believe they allow us to expand our consciousness and even further our spiritual beliefs. They have been directly correlated with universal love and gratitude practices, like journaling.
Theta Waves: Theta waves are released during slower activities, and are connected to creativity, intuition, fantasizing, and visualizing our memories. During prayer, meditation, and just before falling asleep, these waves allow us to closely relate to the subconscious mind. These waves also assist in strengthening our mind-body connection and, if enhanced, can induce a trance-like state.
Our brains are fascinating; They use multiple signals, and multiple waves, to aid us in everyday cognitive functions as well as allowing us to daydream without limits. As we’ve learned, different waves are appropriate for different times, and our brains are amazing at deciding which wave to activate. Whether you’re reading a textbook or brainstorming for a work project, or finding your zen in yoga (or you’ve found it after taking Calm), our brains are using the mind-body connection to allow you to show up for yourself and to make you feel your best.
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“What Is the Function of the Various Brainwaves?”Scientific American, Scientific American, 22 Dec. 1997, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-the-function-of-t-1997-12-22/.