ou have undoubtedly read several articles that talk about how to start your day. More so, what not to do first thing after you wake up in the morning. There are the proverbial “don’t check messages or social media on your phone” ones and also the quirky “Don’t watch TV or make a phone call after you wake up” ones.
But does it really matter what you do or not do first thing in the morning? What’s wrong with catching up with the social world as soon as you wake up? Or checking work emails to see what’s lined up for the day?
Before we answer any of those questions, let’s see what your brain has been up to all the while you were asleep.
Have you ever been thinking hard about something when suddenly a great idea strikes you and you say “Ah, I just got a brain wave.”?
Well, you just touched upon a vital aspect of the brain’s function – Neural Oscillations, or simply, the Brain Waves.
Scientists have studied brain waves extensively. The Human brain uses electrical waves as a way of communicating between the neurons within its different regions. Let’s just say all of our thoughts, emotions and behaviors are a direct result of the communication between these neurons.
Neural Oscillations or Brain Waves, are produced by synchronized electrical pulses from the neurons communicating with each other. There are four types of brains waves that scientists have studied.
|Brain Wave||Frequency||What activity produces the brain wave|
|Delta Waves||1 to 4 Hz||Sleep time, especially, during Non Rapid Eye Movement Sleep|
|Alpha waves||8 to 12 Hz||Relaxed wakefulness, meditations, some forms of yoga and exercise|
|Beta waves||12 to 30 Hz||Active concentration, Anxious thinking, Focused, and engaged in problem solving or decision making. Some forms of depression and anxiety.|
|Gamma waves||25 to 100 Hz||High cognitive and conscious perception|
The above table is as self-explanatory as it can get.
When the brain produces Alpha Waves, it is most associated with being in a state of calmness and relaxation providing a conducive environment for the neurochemicals of happiness such as endorphins and serotonin, that make you feel good and rejuvenated.
Your brain produces Delta waves when you are asleep. And gradually progresses towards Alpha Waves when you drag yourself out of your bed early in the morning.
When you lunge for your phone and start scrolling feverishly through your social media feeds or check work emails, you are switching gears in your brain to jump into the Beta Waves. You have already lost any and all the benefits of the Alpha Waves. Even if your emails say you got a big promotion, your brain still treats it as a Beta Wave.
So your objective is to stay and prolong your brain’s Alpha waves for as long as you can in the morning. You will invariably move into the Beta Waves as your day progresses, but what can you do to prolong your Alpha wave for as long as possible, so you get all of its neurological benefits?
Here are some very simple, effective tips that can not only help you be an Early Morning Alpha Wave person, but, as an added benefit, also reap many health benefits.
1. WAKE UP FROM YOUR BED WITH GENTLE YOGA POSES
Resist the urge to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep. At the same time, don’t jump out of your bed lunging for your phone or to turn on the lights. But instead, slowly move your body into a child pose as given below. Then slowly transition between Cat and Cow pose for a few times to gently stretch the muscles and gradually ease yourself off the bed.
Bālāsana or Child’s Pose is a Yoga Asana where the body faces the floor in a fetal position, the knees bent and shins on the floor.
Marjariasana or Cat Pose is a Yoga Asana where your body and knees are in a table top position and your eyes looking down.
Bitilasana or Cow Pose is an easy, gentle way to warm up the spine.
By doing this, you’ve already spent several of your waking up minutes in a Alpha Brain Wave state.
2. OIL PULLING
Oil Pulling is an ancient technique of swishing a tablespoon of oil inside your mouth on an empty stomach for several minutes.
WebMD states that recent studies have shown oil pulling helps against gingivitis, plaque, and microorganisms that cause bad breath. And it is said to work best with Coconut oil.
So grab that tablespoon full of coconut oil and start swishing it around for as long as you want, up to 20 minutes. Keep the lights dim, relax on your sofa while you do this, and concentrate on the swishing in your mouth.
3. DRINK WARM WATER WITH A SQUEEZE OF LEMON AND HIMALAYAN PINK SALT
Drinking lemon juice mixed with warm water and Himalayan Pink Salt every morning helps in maintaining the pH balance of the body. The less acidic the body, the more healthy is your metabolism. After a round of oil pulling, brush your teeth and then drink warm water with a squeeze of lemon and Himalayan Pink Salt. The Vitamic C in the lemon juice help spruce up your immune system.
All the while, you are still prolonging your state of relaxation and the your brain is still producing Alpha waves.
4. LISTEN TO MUSIC
Let’s face it. It’s not going to be long before you do have to lunge for your phone to catch-up on everything you ought to. Turn on your favorite music and listen to it as you are making your warm water with lemon and gradually sip through it. Listen to a song or two from your favorite soulful music lists as you drink the water. This all but eases the transition of your brain from Delta waves and gradually gets it ready for the bustling activities of the upcoming day.
If you have a smart speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home, it makes it all the more easier to just ask your smart speaking AI friend to turn up your favorite playlist. That way, you still stay away from your phone even if it was only to turn on your music.
5. WATER YOUR PLANTS
If you grow plants in your home, now is a good time to water them and admire their growth since the day you planted them as a seed or a sapling.
Waking up with a relaxing Yoga pose, fresh from an oil pull, warm lemon juice, favorite music and watering plants – you’ve already tried a great few simple steps to stay in the relaxing Alpha Wave.
Tomorrow when you wake, try these steps. Don’t pick up your phone or do any of the Beta wave activities until you are ritualistically done through the above steps.
A sound mind always ensures a sound body – some clichés always remain true in any era.
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