Moments Can Be Momentous

To Enhance Your Life Invest Seconds, First

by Steve Snyder


A problem arises that needs to be solved.  An important decision demands to be made.  Someone does something that must be addressed.  The unexpected occurs forcing a major change of plans.  Leaders face these and similar situations all the time, and most have learned that procrastination generally makes things even worse.  However there is something that you can do to become much more successful, and it only takes a few moments to employ.

Stop, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and for a just few moments, imagine yourself in a quiet peaceful place.  Pretend that you can see the place, or hear the sounds, or simply feel as if you are there.  A few moments (ten or twenty seconds) in this real or imaginary peaceful place, you’ll find will have a profound influence on your ability to effectively handle stressful situations.

Stress brings you into a divided attention mode that is known as the Beta Brainwave State.  Creative options decrease in this state, and you move into a dualistic fight or flight, right or wrong, either / or mentality.  Relaxing the mind for a just a few moments in this peaceful place, brings you into the Alpha Brainwave State, and opens you up to the whole rainbow of creative possibilities that lie between the black and white.  It releases your mind from the either / or mentality and makes room for the creative possibilities of neither or both.

The lowest range of brainwave activity is called the Delta Brainwave State.  It goes from comatose states up through ordinary sleep.  The Theta State begins with dream sleep, and takes us up through the half awake state of deep trance.  Alpha is the state that begins when we are barely awake and goes up through focused peak performance states.  Beta is the state that begins with simple divided attention and goes all the way up through panic, anxiety, confusion, and terror.

In the Alpha State, the conscious mind or Brain Mind, (the mind of logic and reasoning), and the subconscious mind or Heart Mind (the mind of emotion and imagination) work together in harmony.  As we focus our concentration in the Alpha Brainwave State, certain neurological pathways in the brain become stimulated, allowing greater electro-chemical connections between our conscious and our subconscious minds.  With the filter (the reticular activating system) open, we have access to far more of our creative intelligence.

In today’s complex world, we spend a lot of time in the Beta Brainwave State, where our attention is divided when we are thinking about several ideas at the same time.  The busier our lives get, the more time we tend to spend in Beta.  Sometimes it is appropriate for us to be in the Beta State.  There are many occasions in our daily lives, such as driving, caring for several children, or meeting important deadlines, that involve multi-tasking, and demand divided or split attention.  There are; however, many more occasions that benefit from the focused concentration and undivided intensity of the Alpha Brainwave State.  It is the athlete’s peak performance state and the inventor’s creativity.  It is the surgeon’s focus and the stamp collector’s concentration.  It is every child’s state of fascination, wonder and awe.  Alpha is the state for greatness at any endeavor because only in Alpha can we focus concentration, and thus accomplish whatever we most desire.  Beta is a stressful state.  The more time we spend feeling anxious, nervous, frightened, or confused, the harder it is on our minds and our bodies. 

When we get very stressed, or endangered, we utilize the primitive portion of our brain and fight or flight for survival.  We gain access to strength and speed.  At the same time; however, we tend to lose access to the more evolved part of our brain; the neo-cortex, and to our intelligence, creativity, and recall.  In the Beta State, we can get fast and strong, but also stupid and forgetful.  We are much smarter in Alpha.  We can amplify interest in any subject, and focus both our Brain and Heart Minds for enhanced logic and reasoning skills, as well as access to our imagination, intuition, inspiration, and ingenuity.  The ability to control our own brainwave activity is the key.


Brainwave activity is divided into four levels as measured on an electroencephalograph.

Level Cycles Per Second Description
Beta 14 - 28 Divided Attention - Panic
Alpha 7 - 14 Daydreaming - Focused
Theta 4 - 7 Dreaming - Trance
Delta +0 - 4 Comatose - Deep Sleep

Beta: This is the brainwave state that we associate with being awake.  It can be categorized by divided attention.  Conversation usually takes place in the lower beta range.   Confusion, anxiety, and terror occur in the higher beta range.

Alpha: This is the state of focused concentration and hyper-suggestibility experienced in daydreaming, watching television, and listening to music; as well as in states of light hypnosis and meditation.  Artists, athletes, musicians and others who achieve greatness also experience it.

Theta:  This state includes the sleep dreams and that state in between awake and asleep when we are dreaming and know that we are dreaming at the same time.  Deep hypnosis and trance meditation is part of the Theta State.

Delta:  This is the deep sleep state.  In this state of healing and regeneration, the metabolic rate slows and our bodies repair themselves.  Our conscious mind is turned off and there is no thinking or dreaming taking place.  The physical body is totally at rest.


Controlling your own brainwave activity and bringing yourself into Alpha allows you gain access and bring passion to both your logical deductive intelligence, and also the emotional creative intelligence that is found in the mind that dreams at night.  We are in each of the four brainwave states most every day.  Going toward sleep is what brings our brainwave activity down; waking up brings it back up.  It happens automatically, but it can be controlled intentionally.

There are literally hundreds of techniques for lowering brainwave activity.  These techniques are found in relaxation exercises, yoga, the martial arts, self-hypnosis, meditation, biofeedback, creative visualization, and practical daydreaming.  It is best however, to have one very familiar technique that allows you instant access to the Alpha Brainwave State. 

Here is a quick way to get into Alpha

1. Close your eyes.  Alpha can be easily reached with eyes open as in watching television or in daydreaming, or staring off into space.  However, closing your eyes helps cut out many of the more obvious distractions.  Over 80% of all sensory input comes in through the eyes.  Just closing your eyes, all by itself, is often enough to create the alpha state.

2. Take a slow deep breath.  Deep breathing is the most basic technique known to begin a process of relaxing the mind/body.  Inhaling very slowly, beyond the point where you would usually stop, in order to completely fill up the lungs, is the first step.  Holding the breath for a moment or two, then very slowly releasing the breath, beyond the point where you would usually stop, completes the process.  After one or two slow deep breaths, allow your breathing to become relaxed, gentle, and rhythmic.

3. Create or remember a very peaceful place.  You can pretend that you see it, or hear the sounds, as you imagine how it feels to be there.  You might choose a place you’ve been to before such as floating in an aqua blue ocean or walking in a beautiful bright green forest.  You could choose an exotic place that you have not yet visited, or imagine the quiet beauty of outer space.  It does not even have to be a place that actually exists; it could come totally from your imagination.  Allow whatever place comes to your mind to be the place you choose.  This is not a matter of logic, but rather of emotional preference.  Whatever peaceful place you choose, always go back to this same exact place every time you wish to return to the Alpha Brainwave State.

When utilizing the Alpha Brainwave State, there are four basic laws of suggestion you must obey.  They are based on the language system of the Subconscious or Heart Mind

1. Use only positive suggestions.
 The subconscious mind can only understand positive suggestions.  It needs to be told what to do, rather than what not to do.  “Don’t think of rainbows” is the same as “Think of rainbows.”  Negative suggestions not only don’t work, they waste a lot of time.

2. Use only present active tense suggestions.
The subconscious mind only understands “now.”  Suggestions that are given for “tomorrow” or some unspecified future date will not become active.  They will stay on hold until it is “tomorrow” or “later.”  The problem is that it is never “tomorrow”, it is always “today.”  It is never “later,” it is always “now.”  Suggestions for a specific future time can be given effectively if you imagine that it is that future time “now” as you give the suggestion.

3. Repetition increases the power.
As the subconscious mind does not understand time, imagining something for one minute or less can be the same as imagining it for twenty minutes.  It is much more powerful to imagine something twenty times for a minute each time, than once for twenty minutes.

4. The power is based on passion or emotion.
Emotion is the primary language of the subconscious mind.  The words and pictures are the steering wheel, they set the direction, but emotion is the gas pedal.  Emotion is the factor that determines how much power suggestions will have.  The ultimate power of suggestion is determined by X number of repetitions given at Y emotional amplitude.

You can program your mind to help you solve your problems.  You can program your mind to open up to a very powerful channel of creative energy.  You can program your mind to enhance your insight, intuition, and inspiration.  You can inspire your mind into feats of genius. 

Following are some examples of Alpha Exercises for creativity and problem solving.  Remember, whatever you imagine in Alpha, must be infused with great passion.



Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and go to your peaceful place.  Make this quiet peaceful place you’ve chosen seem as real as you can.  Imagine that the problem that you have belongs instead to someone else.  Pretend that you are working with this person in order to help them solve it.  Observe yourself as you help them to solve their problem.  Be aware of the creativity and confidence to which you have access.  Make note of the advice that you give them and how your confidence shows through in the process.  Imagine the step-by-step method that you employ in their behalf.  Feel the gratitude and appreciation that they give to you for all your help.  Get in touch with how easy it was to help someone else with his or her problem.  Tune into the feeling of being a great problem solver as you return to the present. 


Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and go to your peaceful place.  Make this quiet peaceful place you’ve chosen seem as real as you can.  Imagine that the problem that you have has already been solved sometime in the recent past.  Get in touch with how it feels now that it’s over.  Imagine the exact moment when you realized that you had done it.  Remember back to how the solution came to mind.  Remember where you were and exactly what you were doing at the time.  Let your mind carefully review all of the steps that you took to come to this wonderful solution.  Continue to recall all the available details and bask in the glow of a job well done.  Know that you can use some of these same steps when you come up against a similar problem.  Continue to feel this feeling as you return to the present.


Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and go to your peaceful place.  Make this quiet peaceful place you’ve chosen seem as real as you can.  Imagine the problem that you are facing in great detail.  Now imagine that instead of the problem that you’ve had, you now have in its place, a problem that is the reverse of your original problem.  See this problem in great detail.  Make up ways to solve this opposite problem.  Imagine step by step exactly what you need to do to solve this reverse problem.  After you do this, reverse your solution and see what insights you get that will assist you in solving the real problem.  Imagine that you are putting those insights successfully to use.  Feel confident that with these insights you have the missing pieces that will help you solve your true problem.  Imagine the solution is clear as you return to the present. 


Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and go to your peaceful place.  Make this quiet peaceful place you have chosen seem as real as you can.  Imagine that sitting next to you is your problem solving pal.  It can be a male or a female, adult or child, human or alien being.  Imagine what this problem-solving pal looks like.  A special make-believe friend who knows you well and yet can take an objective viewpoint when you are discussing your problems.  Imagine explaining your problem to your problem solving pal in great detail.  Notice how attentive your pal is while listening to you explains the circumstances.  Pretend that your pal begins to offer some ideas that lead you to potential solutions, as you return to the present. 


Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and go to your peaceful place.  Make this quiet peaceful place you have chosen seem as real as you can.  Imagine that you are sitting in the seat of the guest of honor at a long beautiful banquet table covered in wonderful food and beautiful flowers.  Your name is announced as the best problem solver of the year.  Remember back over the past year to some of the many problems that you faced and successfully solved.  Imagine that you stand up to an overwhelming round of applause as you are given the award.  Imagine taking your bows as the applause gets louder and louder.  As you prepare to give your acceptance speech you remember some of the secrets of your success.  Share these successful problem-solving tips with all the people present.  Feel proud of yourself as you return to the present. 


Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and go to your peaceful place.  Make this quiet peaceful place you have chosen seem as real as you can.  Imagine that you have in your possession a very important book.  This is the only existing copy of this most amazing book in the world.  You are holding in your hands the one and only copy of the most amazing book in the world, The Book of Solutions.  Imagine what this book looks like and how it feels in your hands.  When you open this book any solution to any problem can be found.  Imagine looking up solutions to your problems, the problems of your friends and loved ones, and the problems of the whole planet.  Be thankful that this wonderful book has been put into your hands for safekeeping.  Feel the power for good that this book allows you to possess.  Reflect on the good you will do as you return to the present. 

As we leave the Industrial Age and move into the Information Age there is a need to develop different skills.  Two of the most important career skills become creativity and problem solving.  Making things up, and figuring things out.  Alpha can dramatically enhance your ability to do both.