You've seen the ads.
"Transform yourself!" "Get motivated while you sleep!" "Revolutionary sound techniques will power up your mind!"
But under the profit-motivated copy is a whole lot of fascinating science. Can you change your subconscious thoughts by changing what you're listening to?
It turns out that you CAN.
Specifically, you CAN make your brain more receptive to any new story you create and intentionally repeat. It's a matter of telling yourself your best story when your brain is most likely to pay attention.
So how do you get your brain to pay attention? You alter your brain waves.
Changing our brain waves through sound is referred to as entrainment. Entrainment is really just the process of one system influencing another. The first person to talk about entrainment was a German meteorologist named H.W. Dove. He discovered that larger weather systems affect local conditions. A greater one influences a weaker one. A hurricane comes in and blows your house down. A virus comes in and you end up sick in bed. You hear sounds, and your body responds in a certain way.
Since all neural activity in the brain is electrochemical, we can change our brain waves by using drugs (chemical) or by altering the electromagnetic environment of the brain through entrainment.
In 1973, Dr. Gerald Oster discovered something really interesting. If we hear different frequencies in each ear, the brain resonates at a frequency that is the difference between the two tones. A perceptual integration of the two signals takes place, producing a third "beat" frequency. This third beat, perceived as a fluctuating rhythm, is called a binaural beat.
Okay, here's the cool part. The fluctuating rhythm of the frequencies as they oscillate in our ears and brains actually alters our brains waves. Depending on the frequency of the binaural beat, the effect may be relaxing or stimulating. By aiming for the delta or theta waves associated with whole-brain integration, we can actually create optimum conditions for our best thinking and highest creativity.
Since Dr. Oster's discovery, many researchers and entrepreneurs have developed tapes and CDs to capitalize on the binaural beat concept to create motivation or relaxation programs.
We listen to these CDs, and as we do so, our brain waves are gradually locking in resonance with what we're hearing. And the best part is that our brains do this automatically. It takes no effort at all.
You can buy any number of CDs for this purpose, but you don't need to spend more than about $30 for one. It's really quite simple to duplicate these sounds in a recording studio. The science doesn't cost much. (It's the marketing and client support that increases the price!)
So, you can plug in your CD, put on the headphones, and tell yourself your story while listening to the tones imbedded in the music. Your brain waves will gradually level off in the targeted delta or theta range while you are repeating your wonderful bedtime story. Perfect combo.
Not into CDs? No problem. You can still use the concept of entrainment. There are other sounds that stimulate our brains in the same way. Centuries of sacred sounds from cultures around the world have incorporated binaural beats. Certain kinds of drumming, singing, and dance rhythms have been shown to change brain waves. A roomful of monks chanting offers subtle differences in frequency as the sounds swirl around you, resulting in the desired delta or theta waves.
Don't have a friendly local monastery near you? That's okay. Many of the sounds that offer ideal conditions for binaural beats are found in nature.
The ocean. A waterfall. Rain. Rustling leaves. You always knew these sounds made you feel better, right? Well, now you know why--they actually change your heartbeat, respiration and brain waves through the process of entrainment.
Tell yourself your story while listening to the waves, the rain, or the wind in the trees. Repeat it when you sit in a courtyard next to a fountain. Remember it when you wake up listening to birds.
Or go ahead and buy a CD.
No matter how you help yourself become receptive, the important point is this: to change your story, you've got to tell yourself a new one. How many times have you thought negative thoughts while listening to the rain? Dang it! Now you have to do the same thing with your new, improved story.
Go to the beach. Hike in the woods. Sit by a stream. And think good thoughts.
You'll be doing exactly what great philosophers have done for thousands of years.
AND--you've got science on your side.
Maya Talisman Frost is a mind masseuse. Her work has inspired thinkers in over 80 countries. She serves up a satisfying blend of clarity, comfort and comic relief in her free weekly ezine, the Friday Mind Massage. To subscribe, visit http://www.massageyourmind.com.