Overcoming Anxiety And Trauma Through Brainwave Balance
How can we overcome Anxiety And Trauma Through Brainwave Balance?
For many of us, stress and feelings of anxiety are an everyday part of life. Our body’s response to trauma and stress is designed to be infrequent and temporary. In fact, occasionally experiencing short bursts of stress can actually be good for us. However, traumatic experiences or chronic, prolonged stress or on the brain can dramatically impact your brainwaves and, therefore, your brain health. For people who are suffering from trauma and chronic stress, it can often become difficult to think positively, and it becomes the norm to live in a permanent state of worry and overthinking. When this occurs, our responses to stress become habitual, causing the brain to develop negative patterns. This can lead to the brain being unable to calm itself normally (Relaxation Response). As stress and anxiety impact our brain health by altering our brainwave patterns, could balancing these brainwaves help reduce anxiety by breaking these negative patterns? In this article, we dive into brainwaves and explore if its possible to overcoming Anxiety and Trauma through Brainwave Balance.
A Balanced Brain – Overcoming Anxiety And Trauma Through Brainwave Balance
We all know life is all about balance, from the food we eat to the exercise we enjoy. Our brain and nervous system are no different. A healthy, well-balanced brain and nervous system will produce the right brainwaves at the right levels at the right time—slow, quiet waves when we are sleepy and fast, loud waves when we are stressed or excited.
Brainwaves are electrical pulses that are produced as neurons communicate actions, emotions, and ideas. There are five types of brainwave Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma and Theta. Each wave operates at a different frequency and velocity – quiet and slow through to loud and busy.
- Alpha waves are associated with meditation and a sense of peacefulness and calm.
- High Beta frequencies can cause agitation and anxiousness and are typically seen during times of stress.
- Delta waves are produced at night during dreamless sleep and help in producing hormones that are key to helping the body and brain repair.
- Gamma waves are the fastest brain waves; they simultaneously process information from different brain areas. They pass information rapidly and quietly. As the most subtle brainwave frequency, the mind has to be quiet to access gamma.
- Theta waves instigate the release of Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which balances the brain by inhibiting over-excitement. This ‘peacemaker’ or ‘calming’ chemical helps induce relaxation and reduce stress and anxiety.
When our brains are well balanced, we use a combination of these brainwaves depending on the situation facing us. We never solely use a single brainwave; however, our emotions and reactions are generally governed by the most dominant brainwave. As we navigate our day, we continue to move between different brain states – sleepy awake – alert and calm – calm and focused – anxious and stressed. The important thing to note is that our brains and brainwaves are free to move and change based on the external factors around us. Problems arise when this natural process gets stuck.
A Traumatised Anxious Brain – Overcoming Anxiety And Trauma Through Brainwave Balance
When studying brainwaves (via EEG scans), we know that trauma and anxiety both impact or change our brainwaves. This makes sense as the ‘chatter’ or communication our neurons make at times of stress would be very different from when we are relaxed. When we experience trauma or periods of stress, we see an increase in beta waves and a decrease in alpha, delta and theta waves.
We also know that anxiety or feelings of panic can be caused by more than just external factors like stressors, fear and insecurities. When talking about chronic or prolonged states of anxiety, we know these states can be chemically driven, caused by an imbalance and poorly regulated brainwaves. This explains why we can still experience or function within a high-stress state even after adjusting to our life circumstances. Our reactions to the situation around us are often more extreme, out of balance, more negative, less patient or angrier than would seem normal for the situation encountered. Our brain’s communication language – our brainwaves – is stuck. The delicate brainwave balance where every wave plays its part has been disrupted.
Reduce Trauma & Anxiety With Alpha Brainwaves – Overcoming Anxiety And Trauma Through Brainwave Balance
Alpha brainwaves are associated with the following:
- Meditation Begins
- Mind Chatter Slows Down
- Great For Learning & Studying
- Creative Ideas Flow
- Reverse Brain’s Ageing Habits
- Fears, Phobias Melt Away
- Calm & Peaceful
- First Layer Of Subconscious Mind
- Gateway To Deeper Mental States
- Advanced Focus
- Relaxation Begins
- Good For Anxiety, Depression, Stress, Panic
- Mind Power
Alpha brainwaves sit in the middle of our brainwave frequencies. Our brain produces these wave types when we are awake but not really concentrating on any one thing. Alpha is experienced when we first wake up in the morning, whilst we are coming to, and before we engage with the tasks, activities or worries of the day. In this state, our brains are in a relaxed, wakeful rest state. Whilst in Alpha, you’re not asking your brain to process a lot of information or solve any big problems.
Because alpha waves are associated with calm states, it’s logical that by boosting alpha waves, you are likely to experience these calmer states and therefore reduce anxiety and increase a sense of calm. This theory has been tested across a number of studies where results have seen a decrease in anxiety when alpha brain waves are boosted.
In a 2012 study, Dr James Hardt concluded that there was a direct link between increasing alpha brain waves and a decrease in feeling anxious. Alpha brain waves can not only reduce stress and anxiety, but they also allow people to maintain more focus.
Reduce Trauma & Anxiety With Theta Brainwaves – Overcoming Anxiety And Trauma Through Brainwave Balance
Theta brainwaves are associated with the following:
- Deeper Meditation
- Near The Stage Of Sleep
- Vivid, Dreamlike Imagery
- Creative Visualization
- Feel More Open & Connected
- Advanced Problem Solving
- Super Creativity
- Deeper Subconscious To Super-Conscious Mind
- Immune System
- Lower Cortisol
- Deeply Relaxed
- Sleep Better
- Emotional Intelligence
Theta waves are slower than alpha waves, falling close to the low end of the spectrum. Theta brain waves are most commonly found when we are drifting off to sleep during the REM sleep cycle, where we dream. We know that theta brain frequencies are the gateway to our subconscious mind. A theta brain wave state is strongly connected to dreams, deep relaxation, and meditative states of consciousness. This may be why the term ‘sleep on it’ was coined, as we often find insights overnight as our brains process the events of the day and gain more detailed understandings that evaded us in our awake state. This type of insight is also possible during deep meditation, as our brains move in the same theta brain frequency.
Because of this, theta waves are associated mainly with relaxing and calming feelings. It’s, therefore, logical that by boosting theta waves, you might experience less anxiety and better sleep.
Early research suggests that finding ways to boost certain alpha and theta wave activity could help reduce anxiety in people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Additionally, research into theta brain waves has shown several positive effects from activating these brainwave frequencies:
- Improving memory recall and learning ability.
- Increase in positive thinking
- Rejuvenating relaxation
- Satisfying deep sleep
- Improved and effective meditation practice
- Increased mental and creativity performance
- Improving overall mental health, lowering of depression and anxiety
Simply put, the activation of theta brain waves turns off the hyper-aware beta brain and moves you into a peaceful and calm place of relaxation, creativity and inner awareness.
Reduce Trauma & Anxiety With Delta Brainwaves – Overcoming Anxiety And Trauma Through Brainwave Balance
Delta brainwaves are associated with the following:
- Deepest Meditation
- Many Scientists Believe To Be The Most Beneficial State
- Associated With Deep, Dreamless Sleep
- Unconscious To Super-Conscious Part Of The Mind
- Best For the Immune System
- Health Restoration
- Overcome Insomnia
- Highly Advanced Awareness
Delta waves are the slowest of our brainwaves and are generated in deep meditation and dreamless sleep. When in a delta brain state, key healing and regeneration occur, which is why deep sleep is so essential for our body and mind.
Although delta waves are usually associated with sleep, they are also generated by experienced meditators. When delta waves are present, the mind is usually not very active, and your body is in a state of complete relaxation. Consider this your maintenance setting, where your body and mind are shut down for repairs. It’s no wonder Drs prescribe rest and sleep to really help the body heal, as, during a delta brain state, you are ridding your brain of toxins and resting it after all the random electrical firings that happened throughout the day. A deep delta sleep state is vital for healthy brain function.
When looking at our body’s response to stress and anxiety, there are two thoughts around how a delta brain state can specifically help with anxiety levels. Firstly, we are relaxed when we experience a delta state, which means we are not in a heightened stress state. Secondly, research has noted a reduction of cortisol levels during a delta brain state. As the body releases cortisol as a response to stress, it’s a positive sign that just by being in a different brain state, we can see positive impacts on the body’s chemical balance.
Delta brainwave states have also been linked to additional health benefits, including reduced stress levels, increased longevity, improved immunity, and reduced inflammation and pain. Add to that the known benefits of tissue regeneration and cell growth, and you really have a ‘super healer’ brainwave state.
Triggering Alpha, Theta and Delta Brain States
There are several ways you can induce and increase how much time your brain spends in these healthy brain states.
Alpha states can be induced by:
- Meditation and mindfulness practice
- Aerobic exercise
- Deep breathing exercises
Activation of Theta brainwaves includes:
- Engaging in simple, repetitive tasks like walking/jogging, housework and gardening, or driving.
- Practising mindfulness, meditation, and yoga techniques
Delta waves can be experienced by:
- Getting deep, dreamless sleep.
Outside of these lifestyle influences, one of the most reliable and fastest methods of activating each of these wave types is through DeepWave brainwave entrainment. Sessions are specifically designed to support relaxed, calm, happy states by simply increasing either alpha, theta or delta brain frequencies.
For those brains ’stuck’ in a cycle of high anxiety – training the brain to reach those relaxed states can shift us away from a permanent anxious state.
Brainwaves play a crucial role in our mental and emotional well-being. When our brain waves are balanced, we are able to navigate our day with ease, switching between different states depending on the situation. However, traumatic experiences or chronic stress can disrupt this balance and cause negative patterns in the brain, leading to anxiety and other mental health issues. Promoting specific brainwave states has been shown to bring a sense of relaxation, calm, peace and balance, which can help to reduce anxiety and improve our overall mental health. This is what makes practices such as meditation, so helpful in supporting to slow down the mind and inducing relaxation states.