Before we move on to stress management techniques, in order to better understand how to relax completely, it is important to know how exactly our minds work. Our brain is constantly active, even when we sleep. Its activity can be determined based on bran waves.
Beta waves – When we are solution-oriented and focused on completing a task, our brain works at a 13 – 30 Hz frequency. Due to the broad range of wave frequencies, we can categorize them into 3 sub-groups:
- Low Beta – when we are gathering information using our 5 senses
- Medium Beta – intensive mental effort
- High Beta –stressogenic anxiety phase
Alpha waves – In times of relaxation and calm our brain waves decelerate – our brain works at a frequency of 8 to 12 Hz, though it is not in the sleep phase. Moreover, our mind can skip to that frequency every time we close our eyes so we can listen in and relax using both hemispheres of our brain.
Theta waves –This is a relaxation phase, bordering on sleep mode (frequency of 4 – 7 Hz), which is a very fleeting one. This is a phase during which we have visions or we are full of inspiration. These kind of waves occur during advanced stages of meditation, though in excess they can signal a depressive state.
Delta waves –These occur during deep sleep phases, with a frequency below 4 Hz.
CALMING YOUR THOUGHTS
How do the high frequency beta waves work? A problem is occupying our mind to such an extent that we are unable to talk about anything else. We feel increasingly tired, we struggle with exhaustion, and we feel like we have run a marathon. It is exactly what happens with our body and our mind if we take too much time working on solving one specific problem. Changing the frequency of your brain waves could help in this situation, however during a workday we can’t really take a nap or meditate so below you will find a simple exercise to help you relax.
Close your eyes and open them again when you think 2 minutes have passed. You can switch on a timer before closing your eyes and then check after what time you actually opened them. If your office is noisy, go outside and do the exercise. Ready? Go.
After completing the exercise ask yourself:
- How are you feeling?
A lot of people feel really relaxed after completing the exercise, even on the brink of falling asleep.
- After what time did you open your eyes?
Doing this exercise in a group shows how remove the time perception differs from person to person – some people open their eyes after 1 minute and some after 3 minutes. What happens during an 8 hour workday?
If we do not control the time assigned for our tasks, it slips through our fingers and we become inefficient. By discarding such a strong sense, which is our sight, we make our brain work a bit more slowly by skipping to a lower frequency – the alpha waves. Why did I write that if we wanted to take a nap, it would not work in our favor? Cutting out one sense calms your mind, nevertheless our brain does not like to be inactive for so long and after a while it starts to produce thoughts. During the exercise, what helps us concentrate is measuring the time. It is not particularly demanding, thus the frequency of our brain waves decreases. However, the longer we will try to stay in that state of mind, the more active our brain will want to become. As many of us know, the thoughts we can have sometimes, eventually pertain to the negativity in our lives.