The Peaceful Beauty of the Alpha State
During times when you’re feeling stressed, or you can’t seem to relax, or your mind won’t stop racing, do you ever wish you had the magical power to instantly feel peaceful?
Actually, you do have that power.
No matter how keyed up you may feel, peace and serenity are only a few breaths away. All you need to do is find a place where you can sit and close your eyes for a few moments. Take a long, slow, deep breath through your nose, and then release your breath slowly through your mouth. Repeat two more times, and you will feel measurably calmer.
What you’ve just done is touched into the Alpha state, a meditative level of brainwave activity in which you automatically release stress and negative feelings. It is in the Alpha state when the body, mind, and spirit are gently brought into balance.
We spend most of our waking moments at the Beta level, which is the opposite of Alpha. Whereas Alpha is a state of non-arousal, Beta is a state of hyper-arousal. It is in the Beta state when the brain solves problems, makes decisions, and keeps us engaged and attentive. We need that level of brain activity in order to be productive—but prolonged periods of time in the Beta state can be exhausting, physically and mentally. It can also lead to chronic stress and depression.
By learning how to slow those brainwaves down, we can immediately shift into the more balanced and healing Alpha state. Rather than being alert, easily distracted, and focused on what we need to do next, we’re relaxed and fully mindful of the present. We feel peaceful as our body, mind, and spirit begin to effectively integrate. We become aware of all that is sacred to us, and are able to let go of what no longer serves us.
You can switch from the more frenetic Beta state into the deep relaxation and receptivity of Alpha anytime you feel the need to do so. Simply practice the deep breathing exercises described earlier. You can also take it to the next level with mindful meditation. Sit straight with your feet flat on the floor, or sit in a cross-legged position. Gently rest your hands on your legs, palms up, and bring your thumb, index finger and middle fingers together. Close your eyes, and be mindful of your breathing.
It can be helpful to silently repeat a word or phrase that has special meaning to you. “God is love,” “Shalom,” or “Om” are popular choices to get you into a peaceful state. Starting at your toes, imagine all the tension and stress of the day slowly flowing out of your feet and into the earth. Relaxation continues to wash over your body, taking you deeper and deeper into a place of complete contentment.
As you bask in the peacefulness of Alpha, inspiration, creativity and sudden insights may float into your awareness. People often find solutions for issues they’ve been dealing with, or discover a completely new way to look at a situation.
When you feel you’ve spent enough time basking in the Alpha state, you can gently bring yourself back into consciousness. It’s helpful to silently say a positive affirmation, like, “Every day in every way I am getting healthier and healthier, happier and happier.” Count from one to five, bringing yourself back into a state of refreshed alertness. One, feel the chair beneath you; two, three, wiggle your fingers and toes; four, you’re back in the room, and five, open your eyes. Take a moment to stretch and mentally review your experience. Do any images, thoughts, or insights stand out? If so, write them down.
Once you’ve practiced mindful meditation a few times, and have seen for yourself the profound difference it can make in your state of mind, you’ll want to use your “magical power” over and over again. And the more you use that power, the more you’ll benefit from the Alpha state, and be able to return to it whenever you need calming.
Experience a healing Alpha state in all the mind-body-spirit classes offered at the Optimum Health Institute holistic health missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. Come help us celebrate 44 years of holistic healing. Our caring team will give you the tools, encouragement, and inspiration to detoxify your body, quiet your mind, and rejuvenate your spirit while you are surrounded in serene beauty.