We have multiple different types of brain waves and our state of arousal depends on which brain waves are happening at the moment. Our brain waves are measured in hertz, or cycles per second.
Delta waves are slow and usually occur when we are in a deep sleep. We also frequently see delta waves in head injuries, as injured neurons tend to be slower.
Theta waves occur when we are a bit more aroused. We see them when we are drowsy, groggy or right before we are about to fall asleep. Having a balance of theta helps our memory.
Alpha waves are ideally where we want our brains to be. They signal that we are alert but calm.
Low Beta waves occur when we are thinking but relaxed. We solve problems, have conversations and even read blog posts in this state!
Beta waves generally occur when we are actively thinking. They are heavily involved in cognitive functions; we are alert, focused, engaged and task-oriented.
High Beta waves signal anxiety, worrying and muscle tension. Lots of these waves can suggest we are having trouble letting things go.
Gamma waves are the highest frequency brain waves and also the most recently discovered. Whenever you have a moment of enlightenment you can thank Gamma waves for it!
Many psychological conditions are affected by the balance of brain waves. In anxiety, PTSD and panic attacks we see too much beta waves and not enough alpha. This could be a result of childhood trauma that has placed your brain in a rigid pattern which needs to be changed before you can get better.
In traditional therapy, too much high beta waves could be impacting your ability to learn the techniques your therapist is providing. High theta waves could also be giving you concentration problems and result in zoning out during a session. Using neurofeedback in conjunction with psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy allows us to observe your brain waves and teach the brain to regulate itself. We want to achieve a balance of brain waves so the brain can reach the homeostasis it constantly craves.
Neurofeedback can teach the brain to calm the autonomic nervous system which is related to anxiety. By balancing brain waves we can move you away from the sympathetic system response to a parasympathetic response. Once we reach our goal of reducing beta waves and balancing theta, you will feel calmer and relaxed.