Our brain is made up of billions of very specialized brain cells. These super specialized cells are called "neurons". Neurons use electrical impulses to communicate with each other, which is a very complex process. Depending on the current situation, there is a high electrical activity in the brain or not. Typical examples are active thinking and sleeping. During active thinking, many neurons send off electrical impulses, whereas in sleep, there only little brain activity and so, there is also little "communication" amongst the neurons. The electrical impulses also differ in speed and amplitude. You can imagine, that in active thinking there needs to be more brain activity in order to process information faster and so, the brain waves are also faster.
The beta brain waves are one of the four main brain waves (the other ones are alpha theta and delta brain waves). Our brain is at all times in a specific brain wave state. When we are awake and doing our job, study, solve math problems and so on, we are normally in the Beta brainwave state.
What Are Beta Brainwaves?
Beta brain waves mainly occur, when we are awake and doing a task that involves active thinking. For example, students in school or university will display many on an EEG (an EEG is an instrument that is used to measure brain waves), as long as they are paying attention. Also, people in a job will mostly show many beta brain waves. As a counter example, people watching TV are in a rather relaxed state and will not have that many beta brain waves.
The range of beta waves is from approximately 13 Hz to nearly 40 Hz. They typically have a high amplitude.
Beta waves are linked to the conscious mind. In meditation, it is very advisable to make the meditative experience "conscious" by talking about it, writing it down, and so on. Normally, one slows down the brain and ideally, all the beta brain waves vanish (this is not true for analytical meditations and for meditations that involve words by either listening to them of thinking of them). Meditators experience each meditation individually (states of ecstasy, insight, inspiration, relaxation and so on), but these experiences can be forgotten very fast after the meditation is finished. The reason is we were not really conscious right after the end of it, our brain waves were still alpha and theta waves and the experiences stay "subconscious" (the theta brain wave state is linked to the subconscious mind) if we do not "bring the to light". This can be very beneficial for any meditator!
Benefits of Betawaves
There are a number of benefits of having a healthy amount of beta brainwaves or increasing them:
- Concentration: When we concentrate, we have plenty of beta waves. When you cannot really focus on something for any reason it is advisable to listen to beta binaural beats in order to stimulate your brain to go into concentration mode.
- Motivator: It is said that increasing beta waves in students, who are demotivated with studying, can be a true motivation boost. I can confirm (amongst many other people) this claim. If you are ever bored with homework and exams I recommend you listening to beta binaural beats.
- Enhancement of language and reading skills: Studies have shown that if people are exposed to beta binaural beats for a certain period of time, they can increase the lingiustic skills of an individual (besides concentration and mathematical thinking). These experiements can be found on the internet.
- Effective treatment for ADD: EEGs have shown that children with ADD have little to no beta brain wave activity. So, it is very hard for such children to stay focused on a task. Studies have shown that if such children are exposed to beta binaural beats, they will eventually become more focused and ADD vanishes, as their brain starts to produce beta brain wave states automatically and naturally.
How to Increase Betawaves
In my opinion, the easiest way to increase beta waves is listening to beta binaural beats. Beta binaural beats are nothing more than a track with two beats, where one is played on each ear at different frequencies. For example, the right ear may have a tone tuned to 220Hz and the left one to 200Hz. The difference is 20Hz, which will induce the brain to produce this specific beta wave. Many YouTubers provide these tracks for free. Sometimes, these tracks have natural sounds in the background, since for some people it is easier to focus with these sounds.
Another way of increasing them is reading books or playing beta games on luminosity.com, though beta binaural beats is the most efficient method.
Energy Boost With Beta Brainwaves
Dangers of Betawaves
Generally spoken, beta binaural beats are not really dangerous. The problem is that in the Western society, people often work a lot, and the consequence is that they feel stressed and become depressed or have a burn-out in the worst case. In terms of brain waves, these people are always (in some individuals even in sleep) in a beta brain wave state. So, increasing beta brain waves in stressed people can actually make everything else worse. EEGs have shown that these people, in fact, have too much beta brain waves going on and too little alpha and theta waves.
Such people would need to do alpha and/or theta brainwave entrainment, so they have some time to relax and start producing more of the other two brain waves.
There always needs to be a healthy beta-alpha balance. Too much of either of them is not good. Balance is desired. It can be achieved by taking little breaks, where one consciously turns off thinking processes and listens to alpha binaural beats.
Beta waves are the "normal" state of brain waves. They are not that exciting as the others, in my opinion, but they are extremely important. At some points, it can be really practical to increase them if you are a student for example, but be aware of the downsides! Many people in the western world are already too stressed, which means in terms of brain waves, their minds are far too much and often in beta brain states. This leads to too much cortisol (a stress hormone that is very unhealthy if there is an overload ), stress, decrease in general health and to the inability to turn off the mind, sleeping disorders and so on and on. In my personal opinion, healthy humans do not necessarily need to increase their beta waves each day. I think it is more important to increase the activity of alpha and theta waves.
© 2013 Slaven Cvijetic
Dustbuster on September 04, 2016:
So what would you suggest if you have ADHD *and* you're chronically stressed? Alpha brainwaves improves my stress but makes my ADHD unbearable, but beta improves my ADHD and makes my stress unbearable.
Slaven Cvijetic (author) from Switzerland, Zurich on September 02, 2014:
can you please be more specific? I did my research but you appear to be wrong to me. Gamma is actually the state of extremely high mind activity and both are good for learning. But learning is only one little aspect. Gamma activity is also found in loving persons or in many buddhists. Theta activity is also apparent in dreaming, deep meditation, and any creative activity.
What is your problem exactly?
Slaven Cvijetic (author) from Switzerland, Zurich on September 02, 2014:
hmm, well, during learning, beta and gamma are very good. I then would change to some alpha and theta during breaks, in order to have maximum success in learning. Also, sleep is extremely important. It's better to learn only 1 hour before going to bed than learning all night long, because your brain makes the actual connections in sleep. Some theta/alpha before going to bed would be good I guess ;).
mark on August 31, 2014:
Gamma, hyper brain activity? False. Also false, on theta.
Theta are the specific waves correlated with learning.
Clean up your facts.
Amit on August 26, 2014:
This stuff is so interesting! :). But I have one question, which brain wave is better for productivity or studying especially for exams(when you want to get the marks ;)) ? Because lets face it, in this fast pace world, this is what we need the most :)
Slaven Cvijetic (author) from Switzerland, Zurich on April 08, 2014:
I would generally advice to listen to beta waves as they are easier to reach. After some time, gamma waves can also be added or it can be listened to a progressively increasing track starting at low beta and going up to gamma. But I guess the best thing to do is to listen to beta waves ;).
Vikram on April 07, 2014:
This stuff is really interesting to me, however which is better for a person suffering ADHD/ADD beta brain waves or gamma brain waves for faster results?
Slaven Cvijetic (author) from Switzerland, Zurich on December 02, 2013:
no problem my friend. Read the other ones if you're interested in this topic!
Prithima Sharma from Delhi, India on November 28, 2013:
knowledgeable hub, thanks for sharing it with us.