Oh, by the way, welcome to the resurrected blog. Or, if this is?your first encounter with me writing blog posts, welcome in general. It seems 700 blog posts just wasn’t enough for me. I needed to write more, lol. Nah, not really. I just thought the newsletter format was too much to swallow all in one visit. So I’m breaking things up in lil’ chunks for you. I hope you like it. It may very well be more work for me, I don’t know, but at least I’ll have a chance to sleep again on the last day of the month!
I’ve been thinking about brain waves a lot recently, and it’s not just because I watch Superman II a lot (Lex Luthor??creates a black box allowing him to read other people’s alpha waves), although admittedly I do. It helps me spend more time in an alpha wave state, which I find to personally be beneficial, as I spend a far greater amount of time in a beta brainwave state than what I would assume to be normal.
For an introduction to the bare basics, there are 4 basic classes of brainwave states, in order from highest to lowest frequency:
- Beta (focused, alert, busy, concentrating)
- Alpha (meditating, daydreaming, zoning out, watching TV, relaxation)
- Theta (sleep or nearly asleep)
- Delta (deep sleep)
As expected, our general hormonal state patterns our brain wave activity, and like many things in the body, seems to work in 2-way fashion. By 2-way fashion, I mean that you can change your brain wave state to alter your hormonal state, or if your hormonal state changes, your brain waves will change along with it.
For this article, we’ll focus on what we have greater control over–the conscious brain wave states of beta and alpha. Of course, calling something “beta” waves is like saying “loud.” There are many shades and intensities of loud. Beta brain waves are only classified by being higher frequency than brain waves that are “not beta.”
A better way to look at this might be to think of your brain activity, concentration, and thought intensity on a scale from 1-100, where everything over 10 is a varying shade of beta, and everything at 10 or below is the alpha wave state–something you might experience when in a state of deep relaxation with eyes closed. Most people are also in the alpha state while watching television, although I rarely am, as?obnoxiously reciting the lines of the movie while watching prevents this.
I mean seriously, am I really just supposed to sit there quietly when Harry yells out to Woody and Natalia:
“Will you two come on?!”
I couldn’t if I tried.
So what’s the significance of brain wave activity and our health? I don’t think it’s a matter of foolishly calling one brain wave state “good” and the other “bad.” In fact,?in my years of pondering this subject,?my views about it are still inherently at odds with one another.
For example, the alpha wave state is synonymous with a reduced metabolic rate. The reduced metabolic rate experienced by television viewers (national average is’supposedly four hours daily) is theorized to be one of the?most substantial factors in the development of obesity. Yet, the high beta brain wave state is synonymous with?a high-stress catabolic’state, featuring elevated cortisol levels and reduced levels of DHEA.
Speaking in generalities, it seems the last things the citizens of the world need is more cortisol and less DHEA. However, the last thing we need is a reduction in metabolic rate and calorie burn?from complete lack of physical activity including non-exercise physical activity (NEPA), also a primary point of?focus for obesity researchers.
Like most things health-related, different brain wave states have effects, and those effects can be desirable or undesirable depending on who we’re talking about and how much. Just like the water issue, which I’m so well-known for surfacing, water can be a tremendous healing tool, or it can cause nasty health problems. Depends on the person we’re talking about as well as how much water is being consumed relative to other substances. To better put that into perspective, the organization where I learned of the harms of excess water ingestion was named “Heavenly Water.”?The extreme positive and negative effects of water used inappropriately were well-understood there.
I think brain waves are the same. Many people are spending WAY too much time’tuned out, avoiding active brain use, and suffering for it. Likewise, many people are’thinking at very high intensity levels for many hours on end–creating?unmanageable physical stress and great decline from the physical catabolism that excess?mental activity can?precipitate.
The key is to seek out and find your personal “medicine” for achieving a rebalancing act. For some people at some stages?of life,?it will be to do something creative, use the mind more actively,?and read?a?frigging book instead of watching YouTube all day.
For others, meditation, breathing exercises, taking breaks from intense?focus to lie down with eyes closed, or following some kind of brain wave entrainment?or biofeedback?routine will be more therapeutic.
What I know for sure on a personal level,?is that I’m having to take a?hell?of a lot more breaks from?concentrating so damn hard. My productivity levels have been off the charts for nine straight months, but it’s really catching up with me now. Things that lower the intensity of my brain waves and provide the greatest?benefit are lots of walking, sunbathing,’taking?breaks to lie down and close my eyes, and yes, even I am’suffering from 80’s movie deficiency. It’s really nothing that the Tom Hanks box set I just ordered can’t fix though. Worry not.
Matt Stone is an independent health researcher, author of more than 15 books, and founder of 180DegreeHealth. He is best known for his research on metabolic rate and its central role in many health conditions as well as his criticisms of extreme dieting. You can read more of his work in over 500 free articles on the site or in his books HERE.
Really happy that you’ve brought back the blog, Matt.
Loving the new look as well.
An edit function needs to be added, though.
You mean like and edit function for comments?
Yes, an edit function for comments. Sorry for being unclear. Don’t think a like function is necessary, though.
The blog’s back! Love the new look and congrats on everything you’re doing! (I could have missed it, but I don’t see a link to the forums up top with the other options.)
You can still get there. http://www.180degreehealth.com/forums
I’ve just never been particularly fond of the forums, and since I don’t spend any time over there, I’d just as soon not publicize them.
HOLY SHIZZNAzzle! GLAD to see this! So Mattie Cakes, I beg to disagree on your movie deficit. It is become obvious to me that you are woefully under 70’s. Start with Billy Jack and Omega Man and get back to me.
LOVE YOU LONG TIME
Noted. This could be the missing link for me.
I think an easy print option could be added for those who’d rather read stuff on paper.
At least the blog reappeared before a new tool album…8yrs and waiting… haha
ITS BACK! so glad you brought the blog back Matt, it was one of the few blogs i enjoyed reading through the comments:D The newsletter is fun and i suppose if youre going to start blogging it could be used more as an update tool and maybe just for guest posts and whatnot? regardless really happy to see you writing again! thanks:) .
Hooray! Not that I missed the blog as it was removed right at the time I discovered it! Now I can enjoy what others raved about. :-)
oh my god praise the lord
Aaaaaaarch! I just wrote a long reply and forgot to type in the code, by by reply. Here we go again.
Well, I just had time to read the article so I wanted to give an on topic reply.
In regard to finding a balans between resting and being productive/focussed, I think it is probably best to be either really productive or to really relax and not to do something in between the whole day.
A lot of people probably go through their day being either somewhat productive or somewhat relaxed (by zoning out in front of the tv/ surfing on the web).
I personally try to either be truly productive or rest with as little stimulation as I can handle. However, I notice that doing so becomes increasingly more difficult with higher stress levels.
When I’m stressed I find it difficult to be very productive but I also find it difficult to relax with very little stimulation because that heightens my awarness of my uncomfortably high stress levels. I tink my experiences can be generalized to other people as well, at least based on my observations that is the case.
Stimulating entertainment for relaxation seems to provide a certain degree of self-forgetting that can be plesurable. However, I do not think it is effective at reducing excisting stress levels. More stimulation = less relaxating = less stress reduction.
And on the topic of brain waves: a few years back I tried binaural beats to put my brainwaves back in order. I used it for better sleep and relaxation. At best I noticed minor improvments so I do I not think it is the quick fix that some people believe it to be.
First of all, I talk about watching 80’s movies more in jest than anything else. I gotta keep up with my rep as the ultimate 80’s movie fanatic. I personally notice that TV viewing, while it may provide some short-term stress relief, is more likely to create long-term emotional malaise, and in excess can create very strong depression and loss of volition to do anything resembling productivity.
As far as what you said about bursts of concentration interspersed with rest periods is right on. My problem, however, is that I’m TOO all or nothing one way or the other. In the past my bouts of hyper concentration and productivity lasted weeks at a time followed by recovery periods of a week or longer. I can’t do that anymore and get away with it. Now I have to look at each day and be mindful of this basic idea to make sure I don’t overdo the manic focus and underdo the leisurely walks around the hood and bouts of sunbathing and other shenanigans.
I love Tom Hanks movies
Box set includes Burbs, Money Pit, and Dragnet. Would it have killed them to throw Big in there with it? Splash? Oh well.
Dude Matt, what’s a man gotta do to convince you to make an RSS feed for your blog. I dig your content bro, but did you know it makes me OCD checking your site for new posts? And you, yes you have the power to make it better.
And it’s been there for years puttin’ suckaz in fear.
Feedburner has some issues with pulling through the latest posts, so best to use this RSS link instead – http://180degreehealth.com/feed/
I think most of us here know that your not too big on tv despite the 80’s movies references ;)
Hope you find a consistent balance, weeks of hyper productivity seems a bit too much indeed :P
I’m still wonderning what the best way is to end a tv/internet/gaming addiction though, tricky thing.
Yeah, I hope to write about this at length in the future, as this is a growing concern, and I would say one of the top 5 health issues of our generation.
Will be looking forward to your take on the subject. I’ve developed some idea’s on the subject myself as I’ve succesfully struggled with my internet and gaming addiction.
Sweet baby Jeebus! The blog is back! This is great, Matt! It looks fantastic, too! Thanks, Matt!
Yea for the blog being back!!
So glad the original blog is back. Maybe Chief will show up after going missing for a year or so. Looking forward to becoming active on this again!