Encourage Every day you are busy. Emails fill your inbox, some of them might even matter. Your todo list gets ticked off... or not. You attend meetings, deal with clients, chat with the boss, communicate with colleagues, deal with crises, handle problems, worry about tomorrow, think about yesterday, fret over a sick child ... and the list goes on. If you are disciplined, you get to the gym or exercise at least 3 times a week and keep a wary eye on your diet, and make sure that you get enough rest at night. If you don't do these then you know that your body is more likely to break down. You know that you have to make time to look after your body and put in some effort. But do you look after your brain as well? Taking time to pause and meditate or be mindful is perhaps the most critical instrument to cultivate peak performance. You train your body to grow muscles and keep your weight in check. Well, taking time to pause, meditate or be mindful is like training your brain and taking control of the five types of brain waves so that you can be in charge of your life. Develop At the root of all your thinking, emotions and behaviours is the electrical and chemical communication between neurons inside your brain. And all that electrical activity is measured in the form of brainwaves. Brainwaves are grouped into five distinct categories, each associated with specific tasks and mental state. At our highest frequency we have gamma waves. These are associated with insight, peak focus, and expanded consciousness. If you are currently sharply concentrating on this new information, it'll be gamma waves that are helping you store this learning and associating it with existing knowledge and experience. A little slower in frequency and we have beta waves. This is the state you probably spend most of your active day especially in the urban jungle and our always-on society. Fabulously, beta waves allow us to concentrate hard on the task at hand and they are critical when we read, write and socialise but there is a cost in that beta waves can sap our energy and reduce emotional awareness and creativity. Once you get home and relax and reflect quietly your brain waves slow down to alpha waves. If you suffer from insomnia, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive symptoms you likely don't switch down to alpha and you need help. If on the other hand, you keep on socialising, watching fast-paced television or studying, you are keeping your brain in beta or even gamma state. And that's simply exhausting you. When you nod off into the world of dreaming, you experience theta waves. Interestingly, theta waves are also present when you are in that elusive, brilliant, effortless state often called being in the "flow" of peak performance. It's that autopilot type state you've been in when driving home on a familiar route, arriving home and wondering how you got there. It's in this state that many people get their flashes of insight or bursts of creativity. Lastly, we have delta waves which are associated with deep dreamless sleep. Some people can meditate themselves into this state whilst remaining alert and awake. These waves are the source of empathy, healing and regeneration - hence why deep restorative sleep is so essential to the healing process. Manipulating brainwaves The biggest issue for most people in this modern, always-on, hustle and busyness lifestyle is that we rarely make time to allow our brains to slow down. We get stressed and perhaps anxious, and the mind is whirring away at a fast pace zapping through energy and leaving the body exhausted. So how do we alter our brainwaves? Any process that changes your perception, changes your brain waves! Our brainwaves change according to what we are doing and how we are feeling. When slower brainwaves are dominant, we can feel tired, slow, sluggish or dreamy. When higher frequencies are prevalent, we feel wired, hyper or "buzzed". So, change what you are doing, and your brainwaves soon respond. It can take som
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