In this video, Patt describes the different areas of the brain and the 4 brain wave frequencies: beta, alpha, theta and delta.
In this video from Patt’s recent presentation at the Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City, Patt emphasizes the importance of attention by telling a powerful story.
In this video, Patt guides a group through the series of steps needed to relax the body in preparation for mind training. This video is from a group meditation that occurred on December 2nd, 2009 at the Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City, CA.
THE SLEEPING BRAIN
My curiosity about sleep and the brain was stimulated when I began meditating right before I went to bed. I found that after meditating I went to sleep easier, slept deeper and without interruption. When I awoke I felt good, rested and energized. Observing the change in my sleep after meditating each night I asked myself, “What goes on in the brain and body when I sleep? And why does meditation make a difference?” To knowing now how the brain works when I sleep has validated the importance of sleep for our health as well as not missing a night of meditation. Here is what I discovered.
I thought the brain slept when I slept. Sleep research says that this is not so. The brain is busy most all night long but is in a slower brain wave. (Remember we have four brain waves that impact our brain-mind-body in different ways – beta, alpha, theta and delta.) It is imperative that we prepare our brains just like we prepare ourselves to go to sleep. During the day we are making decisions, plans, socializing and organizing our life situation. Generally we are in the fast beta brainwaves to accomplish this activity. But when we sleep we need to do the opposite and move into the slowest brain wave called delta. This means we need to slow down our activities as well as our minds before bedtime.
Many people read before they go to bed. If you do be aware of what you are reading as it may stimulate a faster brain wave. This is also true of watching a stimulating TV show or movie or even doing a computer search right before you go to bed. When you use a cell phone before sleep beta brain wave activity increases. One fascinating piece of research is about cell phones. It has been observed that there is a concentration of beta waves that build up in the brain caused by the interference of microwaves from the cell phone. With all these stimulations and particularly with cell phones it takes a longer time to fall a sleep as the brain needs time to quiet down after the agitation from the cell phone electrical field. Thus, using cell phones before going to sleep alters brainwaves and may cause insomnia. Given the build up of beta brain waves before we go to bed makes it becomes increasingly important to use meditation as good way to slow down our brainwaves. Meditation slows down the beta waves and lets us move more quickly into a deeper brain wave pattern.
Stages of Sleep
So what is our brain doing while we sleep? There are five different stages of sleep:
- Stage 1 is light sleep where you drift in and out of sleep and can be awakened easily. In this stage, the eyes move slowly and muscle activity slows. During this stage, many people experience sudden muscle contractions preceded by a sensation of falling.
- In stage 2, eye movement stops and brain waves become slower with only an occasional burst of rapid brain waves.
- When a person enters stage 3, extremely slow brain waves called delta waves are interspersed with smaller, faster waves.
- In stage 4, the brain produces delta waves almost exclusively. Stages 3 and 4 are referred to as deep sleep, and it is very difficult to wake someone from them. In deep sleep, there is no eye movement or muscle activity. It is in this deep sleep when bedwetting, sleepwalking, and night terrors can occur. These events happen when the chemical neuro-modulator GABA, is low in our body system. When it is low we are unable to put the brakes on our emotions and control our motor nerves. It has been observed that sleepwalkers can literally drive a car and not know they are doing it. Often this will happen when the body is physically over stressed. Balanced GABA keeps us from making unconscious movements and tossing and turning restlessly because GABA slows down our motor nerve activity so that we have relaxed muscles. When GABA is deficient strong emotions can arise and the motor neurons can take command over the body. It is this emotional arousal and motor neuron control that causes walking in your sleep. However, it is also in this deep sleep stage that one can feel deeply rested and refreshed if you have a higher level of GABA. My experience indicates that doing the theta meditation with the companion CD to my book can naturally help activate the neuro-modulator GABA before you sleep. GABA is one of the important neurotransmitters to evaluate when you are having difficulty sleeping. My book has an assessment in it that can give you an indicator of whether your various neurotransmitters are weak or strong.
- In stage 5 it is hard to be awakened and your brain is busy and is especially active in the forehead area. The brain at this point in your sleep is almost as active as it is during the day. This is the stage where you dream and your muscles are suppressed and your limbs temporarily paralyzed. But your breathing, blood pressure and heart rate accelerates and your eyes jerk rapidly. This stage is called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. You are in this stage 20% of night time sleep and the last time you experience REM is right before you wake up. This last REM experience permits us to remember our dreams. Most people experience three to five intervals of REM sleep each night. Older adults spend progressively less time in REM sleep.
During these 5 stages the spinal cord neurons slow down and in some cases stop firing. Our breathing and heart rate move into a slower rhythm. The forehead area of the brain is the frontal cortex. In this area brain activity slows down like a car that is idling. When this happens basic nerve cell repair of your brain and body takes place and growth hormone is being released into the body. Also, dead cells are discarded through the blood and lymph systems and learning is being consolidated from the day. The brain is working in our behalf to repair and restore our body, but the question is: are we getting enough sleep to have all that done for us?
Experts say most of us are not getting enough sleep. For example, babies need 16 to 18 hours, toddlers need 15 hours, school age kids 11 hours, teens need 9 hours and adults need 8 hours and elders need to sleep a little more.
It is 3 am and you wake up anxious. Insomnia is why many people do not want to go to sleep because it is a time when you struggle to go back to sleep and you toss and turn and wonder if you will be able to stay awake the next day. It appears that 30% of the population have insomnia. I have found that many people find their way back to sleep by turning on my Delta meditation CD and before they know it they are back to sleep. The longer you are awake the less slow wave sleep you will have. This is why I encourage people to use the meditation CDs to put them quickly back to sleep.
People who are sleep deprived sometimes takes weeks to get back into the rhythm of sleep. This is especially true for those who travel a lot. But sleeplessness may also be caused by an overactive mind or emotional storms raging in the brain. For other people sleeplessness may be caused due to physical health issues from medications, interactions from caffeine, chocolate, restless leg syndrome, physical or mental stress and pain. Sleep experts say that insomniacs underestimate the amount of time they actually sleep and how much sleep they actually need. Although eight hours is what is indicated the sleep need for each of us is highly individual.
Sleep deprivation is the difference between the amounts of sleep you should be getting and the amount you actually get. Sleep deprivation grows every time we skim some extra minutes off of our night’s sleep. Studies show that short-term sleep deprivation leads to a foggy brain and increasingly poor vision. The good news is that sleep deprivation can be repaid by sleeping longer than our normal sleep periods, but it may take a couple of months to get back to a natural sleep rhythm.
If you wake up groggy you may have too much melatonin in your system and not enough cortisol to get you going in the morning. By doing a Beta meditation it can bring the cortisol and melatonin back into proper balance. A wee bit of meditation in the morning will make the world go around a little better for you!
Sleep is the gift to the brain-mind-body. Learning how to prepare our selves for sleep, having meditative tools to deal with sleep issues and understanding what we should do and not do to achieve maximum health through sleep is a critical and important challenge for each of us in these difficult times.
“Say good night, Gracie.” “Good night Gracie” . . . and sleep well.
(George Burns at the end of their radio program to Gracie Allen and Gracie’s response.)
Eating right, visiting the gym religiously, triumphing over the mid-afternoon sugar (or Venti fat+sugar+caffeine) attack, quitting smoking, saving money…wouldn’t it be nice to make 2010 the year when your resolutions actually stick? The fact that people make New Year’s Resolutions in the first place—whether they’re about fitness or kicking addictions or getting out of debt—shows that many, many of us are dissatisfied with our lives.
But before you sign up for a new gym membership, buy any new gadgets, or join a support group, you need to put the odds of success in your favor by focusing on the right problem. The key to changing your life is to consciously rewire your brain.
In other words, to achieve physical (or financial) fitness, you first need to develop mental fitness.
That applies to getting fit or quitting smoking or strengthening your marriage, or whatever. You can change your life in any way you want to change it. But first you have to understand what’s at the root of your problems: your mind and the way it directs your brain to function—basically, where you place your attention.
Why Resolutions Fail
The main reason why resolutions so often fail is that the lifestyle habits that brought you to your current level of pudginess, or caffeine have carved neural pathways in your brain that can’t be changed by sheer willpower; as they pointed out in “What the Bleep Do We Know“: what fires together wires together. Instead of looking at your body’s behavior as something bad that needs banishing, realize that it might actually be telling you something: that you’re depressed, bored with your job or relationship, or perhaps trapped in the past. It could be your fitness failings are actually symptoms, and you’ve made your poor squishy thighs the undeserving scapegoat for your general unhappiness.
Fortunately, new breakthroughs in science have shown the brain to be a highly flexible organ, and constantly in flux, responding to the events in our lives by continuously rewiring itself.
You can actually change the brain’s size, how it functions, and how the neurons in the different parts of the brain connect – dubbed “neuroplasticity” – by consciously training your mind.
Over the years I have come to realize what immense power mind training has. Our minds can essentially be trapped by the ways in which they function, which can put us into frantic and depressed conditions. Mind training helps us focus our attention, quiets a scattered mind, and brings flexibility and clarity that enable us to see other options.
Why Mind Training Will Give You Resolution Success
The words “brain” and “mind” are often used interchangeably, but in reality, the mind is the CEO of the brain, telling it what to do; the brain simply acts on orders. For example, if you’re reading a book, the mind tells the brain to turn the page, and the brain responds by sending messages through the nervous system to your arm and hand, enabling you to complete the action. While the mind has no specific location, the brain itself is a physical organ, akin to “a three-pound tofu-like” mass atop the spinal cord.
Each part of the brain is characterized by a specific brainwave, which, for many of us, is where the root of the problem lies: one wave dominates the others, causing dysfunctional attitudes and behaviors.
By learning to focus on each type of brainwave separately, you can eventually retrain them to work in harmony, integrating the brain-mind and producing a feeling of peace and awareness. This is called “synchrony”. Opening the brain to synchrony is when the “magic” happens because you can consciously begin to change the way you do things. Of course, the mind can (and does!) lead us astray, but it also has the ability to reform itself when it achieves synchrony.
A key part of mind training is meditation, which activates the brain’s circuitry and actually helps the brain to grow. (Studies back this up, showing that the more someone meditates, the thicker their brain matter becomes.) Meditating also makes it easier to control emotions and respond to stress and crises with greater ease – poise, even. Meditation is a scientifically proven method of training the mind, and thereby of changing aspects of your life. Meditation can train the mind to reduce health problems and stress, and it can also increase your potential and success in life by enabling you to attain synchrony. Essentially, it will allow you to reprogram and evolve your brain to a higher state of consciousness and function. My various classes, workshops and retreats are all designed to teach and practice brain/mind meditation.
There are four tools to train & awaken the mind and with practice help you accomplish your resolutions.
1. INTENTION Quite simply, the brain thrives on direction and purpose. When you give yourself intentional directions, you give each level of your brain a specific focus to explore how that particular “frequency” functions. For example, you might set your intention on having emotional awareness. Think of intention as being about “what.”
State your resolution as a result. Be very specific and clear what your goal is.
“I will lose 5 pounds and keep it off through regular exercise balanced eating within three months.” Intention is not about the process of taking the pounds off, rather it is a focus that keeps the mind focused on achieving a new pattern.
2. ATTENTION This is where you are focusing. When teamed with intention, it enables you to establish a field of awareness and sustain your mind in a single-focused manner. Since concentration can bring balance and stability, attention is essential to reducing stress. Attention is about “where.”
Concentrate on repeating and practicing your intention for 21 days. Research has found that it takes at least 21 days to begin to rewire the neuronal pathways which will produce a changed behavior. If you miss a day it is okay. Keep going until you at least have completed the 21 days and notice what you’ve accomplished, but more importantly how you feel about yourself.
3. RECEPTIVITY The mind is adept at blocking out what it does not wish to acknowledge…which is what got you in this mess that you are trying to resolve! Learning instead to embrace what is on your mind will sensitize you to what is happening in each moment; instead of reacting automatically, your responses will become more flexible. Receptivity is about “when.”
Accept who you are and what you do without self-judgment or criticism. Changing behavior with a resolution is often one step forward and two back. Noticing how you judge your self or rationalize or excuse yourself for not following through on your resolution will alter the mind/brain pattern. We reinforce the old patterns of the neuronal pathways through judgment and guilt. By affirming ourselves rather than negating we rewire the brain faster. Give yourself recognition and acknowledgement for your commitment to shift from negative to positive. Remember your resolution is just a way to practice how you can work with your mind/brain to create the kind of changes you want in your life.
4. AWARENESS Distinguishing between what you think is happening vs. what is actually happening is easier said than done. True awareness comes from being attentive and not getting lost in the randomness of your thoughts. Being truly aware means you are open to meaning, purpose, hope, and better able to penetrate that “me-me-me” veil that can fog your mind. Awareness is about “how.”
Who you are is bigger than any resolution that you want to make in your life.
When we are aware and watch the traffic of thoughts in our head and name them as they pass through – planning, anger, fear, judgment, etc. – we create a level of objectivity that reduces stress and lets us experience a different quality of our life. As you go through the 21 days of changing behavior and accomplishing your resolution notice how your mind will try to trick you and rationalize why your resolution is failing or you are not strong enough, or don’t have enough will power, etc. When those thoughts come up just name them and you will discover that they will have little power over you. As the practice of your awareness grows you wake up more and more to the world and round you and who you really are.
Practicing all four of these tools with a resolution gives you a practical means to learn how to rewire your brain/mind and make the kind of changes you want for your life.
The mind-brain is facile, flexible, and plastic. With training, it is possible to reprogram what blocks the mind’s Flow and move quite rapidly from a less evolved state of mind to a higher state of synchrony, one that better serves us and the life around us.
When you achieve your New Year’s Resolutions through rewiring your brain, you are also doing a good deed for your fellow man by contributing to the collective evolution of the human species.
You’re helping manifest in your behavior a state of kindness, love and caring for our planet. Not a bad return for a small investment of your time and energy!
And to think, you just wanted to look better in your favorite jeans!
In this interview with Lew Sitzer of NCTV, Patt answers the following questions:
Why did Patt write her first book, When Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up?
- Was it about her own personal journey?
- How can illness be a gift?
- What did Patt discover after interviewing 40 professional women?
- How did come into being?
- What was Patt’s chapter in Audacious Aging about?
- What inspired Patt to write Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain?
- What did Patt discover in 6 months of silent retreat?
- How does the book integrate scientific research with practical tools?
- What does EEG stand for?
- How does Patt use an EEG to help people achieve balance?
- What is the difference between the mind and the brain?
- How does multi-tasking affect the brain?
- How do we deal with negative thoughts?
- What tools are most helpful for healing the mind?
- How do we learn how to focus our thoughts in a positive direction?
- What happens to our brain waves when we think positively?
- How can these tools be helpful to children and families?
- Could this be a replacement treatment for drug therapies?
- How does this work relate to happiness?
Now you can easily download all of Patt’s audio and video interviews onto your mobile device or into your iTunes library by subscribing to Patt’s Interviews Podcasts.
Here is the current list of podcasts available:
- New audio: Interview on KVMR’s Women’s Show 12:35 – In this relaxing interview with Catherine Allen on 89.5 FM KVMR Nevada City, CA, Patt shares: how she got started with meditation and became interested in the relationship between the brain and the mind, how she uses an EEG machine to measure b…
- New audio interview: Patt on Nancy’s Bookshelf (NPR – Chico, CA) 28:22 – In this interview with Nancy Wiegman on “Nancy’s Bookshelf” on National Public Radio – Chico, Patt goes into more detail about: the different brainwave states and how to recognize them, case studies of Patt’s clients who achieved success with P…
- New video: Patt on Sacramento and Company – Patt is a guest on Sacramento and Company and discusses “Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain” with Melissa Crowley and Guy Farris.
- Audio Interview: Insight on Capital Public Radio 9:31 – In this interview on the Insight Program with Jeffrey Callison on Capital Public Radio, Patt talks about how meditation can help us change our neural pathways to create more positive thoughts and reduce anger, the research behind her concl…
- Audio Interview: Conversations with Michael Stone 49:43 – In this interview with Michael Stone from November 10th, Patt talks about her journey to where she is now and how she became a meditator, the difference between spiritual and ordinary consciousness, how the mind uses attention and intention…
- Audio Interview: Central Valley Business Times 12:13 – In this interview, Patt talks about neuroplasticity, how we can form new patterns of thought, memory or emotion to improve our lives through meditation and other techniques, and her personal story of how she discovered the benefits of meditation.
- Audio interview: Patt on Conscious Media Radio 1:07:36 – Recently, Patt was interviewed on “Emerging Breakthroughs” (part of Conscious Media Radio) by Dr. David Kamnitzer. Dr. Kamnitzer is a chiropractor, nutritionist, and stress management specialist who received his B.A…
Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
BLOG #1: YAWNING
Well, this is my first blog and it combines mental tools and tips and brain-mind research. My intention is to get a blog to you each week and provide insights, inspiration, practical tools, tips and research on the brain-mind. I am absolutely fascinated by the brain-mind research and my understanding continues to grow since writing my book, Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain. Besides the brain-mind information, I will also let you know about tele seminars, workshops in your area and/or appearances at conferences and public presentations that I will be doing.
Patt will be sharing practical mind-brain research on her blog. Subscribe here to receive this information by email:
Subscribe to Patt’s blog
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of Patt’s binaural sound “Beta Relaxation”
(one of the six companion mental tools for her book)
your email will be kept confidential and you may unsubscribe at any time
Patt will be sharing mental tools and tips on her blog. To receive them in your email inbox, subscribe here:
Subscribe to Patt’s blog
and receive a
of Patt’s binaural sound “Beta Relaxation”
(one of the six companion mental tools for her book)
your email will be kept confidential and you may unsubscribe at any time
Books & Audio
- Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying & Awakening
- Heal Your Mind, Rewire your Brain by Patt Lind-Kyle
- Audacious Aging’s “Building Community from the Inside Out” by Patt Lind-Kyle
- When Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up by Patt Lind-Kyle
- Guided meditations by Patt Lind-Kyle on CD or MP3