Binaural Beats: Your Shortcut to Meditation

Hello everyone! Just wanted to take a second to thank you for reading through my first article.

Binaural Beats

When deciding on a topic to research, I wanted to look into something we could all benefit from. The definition of meditation is: “a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state.”¹. The practice dates back as far as 1500 BCE by the ancient Vedas of India². Well that’s enough history, the point of this article is to discuss a more modern style of meditation…Music. More specifically the use of binaural beats.

Keeping it simple, brain cells use electric currents to communicate with other brain cells, these electric patterns are termed, brain waves. There are five basic brain waves: gamma, beta, alpha, theta and delta. Each wave is measured in the frequency unit: hertz (Hz). The following visual represents brain wave measurements:

Human Waves

 

Just A Quick Summary:

Gamma Waves: This pattern is a fairly new concept, but is associated with heightened performance of the brain. In other words, you are in “the zone” and will have super focus, concentration, and productivity.

Beta Waves: Most of the day, one is in the beta state. In this state, one is alert and focused. With extended states of being in a beta wave, one may feel stress or anxiety. Basically, if one does not sleep, they will most likely become stressed and anxious. Sleep is the bodies’ way of restoring normal brain wave patterns.

Alpha Waves: This is the bridge between being conscious and unconscious. Generally, whenever one closes their eyes, they enter the alpha state. The alpha state relates to relaxation, visualization, and creativity, which is why many desire this state for meditation.

Theta Waves: The theta state is the drowsy feeling one gets as they begin to fall asleep or when in a light sleep. This is also one of the more desired states for mediation purposes as it induces deep relaxation.

Delta Waves: This is the state one’s brain goes into while in deep sleep. This is also how our brain helps to restore us both physically and mentally. Sleep is crucial to keeping a normal brain wave pattern.

 

With the basic science understood, we can discuss how binaural beats work. For reference, the definition of binaural beats is: a term given to a measured change in brain activity when presented with audio stimulus. When a person is presented with a stereo sound of two different tones – the brain produces a response, which is hearing and responding to the difference between the tones, not the actual tones themselves.³ When the brain is presented with two tones of different frequency, it creates a tone that is the difference in the two. The difference in the two tones is the binaural beat. The beat alone can alter one’s brainwaves and change one’s mood. As the diagram shows below, by playing a tone of different frequency in each ear, the brain creates a binaural beat. For example, if one plays a 130 Hz tone in the right ear, and a 120 Hz tone in the left ear, the difference results to 10 Hz which relates to the alpha brain wave.

How to do it?

Binaural Beats Pic 2
This is a visual of how it essentially works

There are a couple of factors that go into meditating with binaural beats. The first thing to consider is why you are meditating. Are you trying to relax? Sleep? Get into “the zone”? Luckily there are plenty of free videos online that are there to help. I recommend Eric Bartel‘s YouTube channel. There are multiple videos on his YouTube channel that I have personally used. The next factor is that you must use headphones, more specifically ones that can play the frequencies given off in the music. I use Audio Technica ATH-M50 studio headphones which hit very low and high frequency while offering a crisp sound (This company doesn’t sponsor me, but I really want them to, so if you’re reading this contact me 😉 ). The last thing to consider are your surroundings. In order to optimize the effects of the meditation, one should lie down, close their eyes, turn the music to a moderate volume, and set the lighting to as low as desired to be relaxed.

Trying it out for myself

In order to truly understand how it works and feels, I had to try it out for my fellow explorers. I found that it really does work almost instantly. As mentioned earlier, I used a couple of videos from: Eric Bartel in order to see how it would change my mental state. Around one minute into a video, I could feel my heart rate slowing down. Nearly five minutes into the video, I could feel myself falling into a very relaxed state where all I could concentrate on were the ambient sounds in the video, added to take away from the loud noise of the binaural beat. After listening for around ten minutes, I took my headphones off because I began to feel tired. In my opinion, it really does work, but only if you can block out other surrounding distractions. As described in the last section, I had to ready myself for meditation. In my case I used studio-grade headphones, sat down on my bed, and turned on low lights. All of the videos I have chosen are meant to be relaxing, thus shifting my brain into the theta and alpha states (as stated in the videos’ description). I look forward to trying out different ranges and exploring more of what binaural beats has to offer.

References

Interested in reading more into this topic? check out these references:

https://yogainternational.com/article/view/the-real-meaning-of-meditation ¹

https://www.project-meditation.org/mankinds-oldest-getaway/ ²

http://www.mindfithypnosis.com/about-binaural-beats/ ³

http://bebrainfit.com/binaural-beats-meditation/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC98_050r8lMxngxurJgU1gA

http://www.immramainstitute.com/brainwave-technology-for-health-wellness/binaural-beats-and-how-they-affect-your-brain/

 

Feel free to email me with any questions or ideas: mikedorval@spacemindexplorers.com

STAY TUNED EXPLORERS

 

-Written By:

Michael Dorval

 

 

 

Decision Fatigue: How Your Choices Are Affecting You.

Decision Fatigue

Decision Fatigue: How Your Choices Are Affecting You

Have you ever started out your day with nothing but a list of tasks that need to get done at some point, but somehow as the clock ticks by you just can’t seem to find the motivation to finish that list? Well as you probably know, this could be from any number of common reasons such as, lack of sleep, poor diet, not enough exercise, but what if I told you that it just might be something different. Something that has been directly causing you to feel drained and get less work done, and it’s been happening for so long that you don’t even realize it is affecting you. I am speaking about something called Decision Fatigue.

What is Decision Fatigue?

Decision Fatigue is the psychological term describing one’s decision-making abilities being weakened throughout the day with every new choice made. So what exactly does all of this mean? It means every choice you make, from the time you wake up to the time you knock out in your favorite recliner with the hum of infomercials in the background, makes it harder for you to make the next choice. This can lead to unnecessary stress and poor decisions.

So What?

Now lets hold on here for a moment, because it’s easy to look at this and think “Oh, well I’ve had to make a couple big decisions at work today and that’s unavoidable, so this is useless knowledge.” You’d be right to some extent, those big unavoidable decisions are most likely large contributors to your Decision Fatigue, but this information can still be very useful. This is because big decisions are not the only ones that have this effect. In fact, it’s often the countless, less obvious, and less important decisions of the day that have the greatest effect. So that choice between Hazelnut and French Vanilla coffee in the morning, choosing what shirt to wear last-minute, whether to drive or walk to work today, where to go for lunch, these seemingly insignificant decisions start to add up. This is where things get interesting, because, honestly, who would have thought choosing coffee in the morning could prevent someone from picking the right stock to invest later in the day (just an example but you get the idea). This is something that could be hurting your performance in and outside of your career, so how can you fix it?

Identify, Simplify, and Delegate

There are many methods out there to help make your daily choices easier. This is the way I find most effective.

Identify

The first step to reducing Decision Fatigue is to find all the simple choices you make each day. Use the examples given in the last paragraph to get an idea of what to look for. Basically, find any choice that you normally overlook or don’t need to be making and take note of it. I mean actually take some time and write these down, it’ll make things easier. Once you’ve done this, move on to the next step.

Simplify

Take a look at the tasks on the list you’ve written. Ask yourself, “How can I make this decision more easily next time?” The answer to this question depends on the person asking it. Sometimes the correct answer is to eliminate a useless task. For most choices, however, it is better to simplify them by taking out the decision-making process altogether. By this I mean, taking decisions and turning them into habits. For example, if you normally have to choose between coffee flavors, try sticking to one instead. If you don’t know where to get lunch, pick one good place and eat there regularly. Of course, for most people, this lack of variety can get old quickly. If you are one of these people, do not worry, there are ways to keep some organized variety. Instead of choosing one thing and sticking to it everyday, try making a schedule that alternates throughout the week. So instead of one coffee flavor everyday, you can keep both flavors but decide now to switch between them each morning. This allows you to keep some variety while benefiting from the schedule deciding for you.

Delegate

So you’ve identified all the small decisions you make each day. You’ve successfully simplified most of them and turned them into habits. You should already notice a difference in your daily stress and fatigue, but you can do more. It’s likely that there are still decisions you can eliminate. Decisions that you might think require you to be the only one making them. These decisions could include looking through emails, deciding what calls to take, even buying clothes. These are all decisions that you can delegate to someone else. That’s right, I’m telling you to hire an assistant. If you value your time and ability to make decisions then it’s something to seriously consider. If you don’t work in an office or just don’t want to pay for a person to work for you full-time, there are other options. You could try a virtual assistant service, these are assistants you can hire online that do everything a normal assistant would. This is a cheaper option and growing in popularity. You can find out more on choosing a good virtual assistant service here. There are also some more pricey but convenient options to cut out shopping by subscribing to clothing and food delivery services such as Trunk Club and Fresh Direct. If none of these sound good to you, there’s always the option to ask your friends and family to help (at your own risk).

Lets Review

Making decisions gets harder throughout the day, so you should make the most of them. By learning to identify, simplify, and delegate you can reduce Decision Fatigue. Hopefully this article will help you to understand how the mind works a bit more and maybe take you one step closer to being stress free.

 

Written by Austin Corn