Brainwaves and Mind States

Learn about brainwaves

Brainwaves and How They Relate to States of Mind

brainwavesElectroencephalograms (EEG’s) show that the brain produces distinct “waves” (brainwaves) in specific frequency ranges or Hz (‘cycles per second’ – pronounced Hertz). The classically described frequency ranges are Beta (greater than 13 Hz), Alpha (8-13 Hz), Theta (4-7 Hz), and Delta (less than 4 Hz). Each range of brainwave activity is associated with certain states or experiences. Very generally, the higher the frequency within these ranges, the more alert you feel.



Beta is the state you are normally in while awake and active. It is the fastest and most active form of brainwave, and is associated with focus and concentration. When excessively present, Beta can contribute to anxiety.

Alpha states happen as soon as you close your eyes and relax. Alpha is thought of as an idling rhythm and is associated with being calm, ‘paying attention to your thoughts’, or meditation. Many people find this state refreshing and creative.

Theta happens as you transition into sleep to what is called “stage 1and 2”. “Saw tooth waves”, which are indicative of the REM state (where most of the vivid dreaming takes place), are also in this range. Theta rhythms are often associated with twilight states such as that between sleep and wakefulness. Theta is much more complicated than this simple explanation, as it has also been shown to be important in memory consolidation.

Delta waves happen when you are in “stage 3 and 4” sleep, otherwise known as delta sleep, and often it is the dominant brainwave activity after a seizure. This is a state of probable unconsciousness, but not always.


All sites of the brain show all frequencies of activity.  However, the amount of a particular frequency that is desirable depends on where it is located in the brain. In general, concentrations of alpha are found at the back of the head, and faster waves are more prominent at the front of the head. Thus, no brainwaves are good or bad. It is simply more or less adaptive, depending upon where it is concentrated in the brain. You experience these stages each and every day, transitioning effortlessly between them.

Many people have learned to control their mental states at will via brainwave entrainment.  Understanding how it feels to be in a certain frequency state allows one to re-enter that state more easily; to actually learn a desired mind state such as relaxation or focus so it can be entered at will.  Amazing consumer technology is widely available to assist in this process including light and sound mind machines, biofeedback and sound technology.

October 21, 2013