In brain relaxed and centered in the present moment is not dominated by fear or anguish. It is a brain where alpha waves work with greater intensity, very suitable to reduce the internal reality of a depression.
Alpha brain waves are found in the frequency range between 8 and 12 Hz. They are the result of that synchronic and more rhythmic brain activity that favors relaxation and concentration, stimulating also our creativity and well-being and diminishing even the symptomatology associated with depressive states.
These brain waves and the fact that we can boost them does not mean that we are going to achieve with it to remit completely a mood disorder, such as anxiety or depression. What is achieved by training these states of calm and equilibrium with alpha waves is to reach a more satisfactory internal state, calm and prepared to be able to face these psychological realities with better resources.
It is a means to an end. Moreover, in recent years and is working more widespread in the electrical stimulation of the brain, in order to increase the appearance of this type of waves. Studies, such as the one carried out in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), indicate that when low currents such as those contained between 8 and 10 hertz are applied, very positive results are being achieved in the field of neuropsychiatry.
Let's know more about it.
Patients with chronic fatigue have been found to have certain alterations in alpha brainwaves, often resulting in sleep problems and cognitive disturbances such as difficulty focusing attention.
Alpha brain waves, our allies in promoting creativity and reducing depression
Our brain is made up of billions of neurons that communicate with each other through electrical impulses. Thus, when we speak of brain waves, we refer precisely to those impulses that flow from one neuron to another through any brain region. What's more, it doesn't matter if we're asleep or even if a person is in a coma; that electrical activity will always be present as long as we're alive.
On the other hand, an interesting aspect is the fact that each of the 5 types of brain waves that appear in our brain have a specific function. For example, gamma waves are elevated by high-level cognitive processes such as consciousness, attention, concentration, or reasoning. Delta waves, on the other hand, have a greater amplitude of wave when we sleep but do not dream. Thus, Theta waves arise when we experience intense emotions, such as anxiety and stress.
Now, it is possible that among those five typologies, the most fascinating are the alpha waves. Discovered by the German physiologist and psychiatrist Hans Berger in 1924, they were a before and after in many respects. The first, because Berger also invented the electroencephalogram, thus changing the history of neurology. The second, because we found another way to reduce the effects of anxiety and depression.
Alpha waves and creativity
A study conducted at the University of North Carolina by Dr. Caroline Lustenberg pointed to an interesting idea. When people are relaxed or more connected to what surrounds us, alpha waves rise. In those states where brain electrical activity works at these frequencies, the brain produces more innovative ideas and inspiration increases.
Depression and Alpha Waves
A person with depression, as well as a patient suffering from anxiety, fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue, will exhibit a pattern of altered alpha waves. There is a continuous oscillation, when in fact, these waves are characterized by an almost perfect synchrony. This has led neurologists and neuropsychologists to take an interest in brain stimulation as a means of increasing such waves and thus mediating the well-being of many patients with psychiatric disorders.
In addition, the Harvard Medical School (HMS) also advanced the hypothesis that when alpha waves are active, the production of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA increases, a key component in reducing fear, stress, anxiety, etc.
How can we increase the presence of alpha brain waves?
Alpha brain waves are, as we see, very important for mediating our well-being. How then can we produce them ourselves to reduce the symptoms associated with depression? In fact, there are several ways to do this. Some, for example, resort to neurofeedback.
It's a type of brain electrical activity training that uses operative conditioning and electroencephalogram technology. The patient, in these cases, is placed electrodes on the head (no shocks are applied) that will measure the activity of brain waves. Then, together with a specialized technician, you will be shown a series of images on a screen to work on the increase of alpha brain waves.
On the other hand, and beyond neurofeedback, there are other simpler strategies that we can all develop on a day-to-day basis. They are as follows:
Meditation or Mindfulness.
Progressive muscle relaxation.
Daydreaming or guided visualization techniques.
Music or binaural sounds. This is a type of auditory stimulus contained in a frequency below 1000 Hz, where a different sound is created in each ear. This stimulates relaxation and the appearance of alpha brain waves.
To conclude, as we see, this is an interesting topic. However, let us not forget that many more strategies are needed to treat depression. However, facilitating the appearance of this type of waves will always mediate our well-being in order to advance in recovery and psychological therapy itself.