Have you ever considered at what time are you the most creative or when is your mind highly productive? For some people it is when they just wake up in the morning or when they are about to go to sleep. Others find that they are most creative in the shower or when relaxing in the bath. I have also found that people are creative when they are driving along the highway or going for a relaxing walk. Interestingly, not many people actually state that they are most creative when at work, which could be the reason why our abilities to solve problems and create new opportunities are usually stifled by our work environments.
The key to achieving a highly creative and productive mind is to move into a relaxed state of being, that is, when your mind enters the alpha state. The alpha state occurs when your brainwaves run at about 8 to 12 cycles or hertz. It is defined as the borderline between conscious and subconscious activity – the period when we are just about to fall asleep or when we slowly and naturally wake up.
The normal conscious state of 13 to 25 hertz is called the beta state. The beta state is when we are awake as we go about our daily lives. Just below the alpha level, is the theta state which is even slower than alpha at 3.5 to 7 hertz, and an even deeper sense of relaxation. Slower still is the state of sleep which is called the delta state at 0.5 to 3.5 hertz.
By inducing the alpha state and maintaining this state for long periods without falling asleep, we can become highly creative and productive. During this heightened state of awareness the mind is clear, receptive to information, and therefore able to rapidly make connections that result in new ideas and thoughts. The mind also becomes focussed and able to solve problems almost effortlessly.
A number of methods exist that allow you to enter and remain in the alpha state of mind. Following are two of the most common methods that I have used to induce the alpha state that allows you to begin to generate new ideas, solve problems and make new connections. The best time to induce the alpha state is either early in the morning after waking up or just before you go to sleep in the evening. However, you can induce the alpha state at anytime if you can find a quiet environment without any interruptions.
Relaxation Through Breathing (Dr Benson’s Relaxation Response)
- Sit in a comfortable chair with feet on the floor, close your eyes and relax your body
- Take a deep breath and mentally focus on a single item or stimulus
- Continue for 5-10 minutes breathing deeply
- Move into a meditative state letting go of your thoughts and clearing your mind
- New ideas, solutions and connections will emerge (record your thoughts immediately)
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Relax each part of your body from the top of your head to your toes, progressively relaxing each of your muscles
- With your eyes closed, count backwards from 21 to 1 breathing slowly
- Clear your mind and relax
- New thoughts will begin to emerge (record your thoughts immediately)
Try the two techniques above and see what emerges. By frequently practicing the lost art of inducing the alpha state we will strengthen our ability to use our heightened state of mind and begin to generate new ideas and productive thoughts.
Dr John Kapeleris