5 Ways Binaural beats can improve your mental health

Everyone has to deal with stress. Whether it’s work, our personal lives, or just the malaise of living through a LITERAL global pandemic, the world is as stressed and anxious as ever. In such hard times, it’s more important than ever before to take care of ourselves, especially our mental health. Applications like Headspace and Calm have surged in popularity this year, as scores of folks turn to non-clinical methods to help their mental wellbeing. These services utilize a method known as Mindfulness therapy, which has proven to be as effective at treating symptoms such as anxiety and depression as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Now, a new, more accessible form of personal care is emerging, known as Binaural beat therapy.

The best way to explain Binaural beats is as a sonic illusion. Without going too deep into the science of it, here is a simple illustration. One note is played in your left ear and another, barely different note in your right ear. The notes are so similar that they  almost cancel each other out, and so the brain hears an entirely new note in between them. According to Healthline.com, this sound illusion induces a meditative state much quicker than traditional meditation, and some studies have shown that it has great benefits for mental health and even physical well-being.

My first experience with Binaural beat therapy was a few years back. I was struggling with severe headaches, and no painkillers or home remedies would help. At first I was skeptical. The drone is unusual at first, but over time, it can bring about a sense of ease. Binaural beats are created by forming very particular sound waves that scientifically are proven to benefit the frequency of your brain waves. The meditative effect the sound has on the brain can lower stress, help with concentration, and even help boost your confidence.

Specific types of Binaural illusions interact with the brain waves in different ways Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta and Gamma waves are the most common frequency patterns used in Binaural therapy, and in the following section, I will explore 5 ways that listening to binaural beats at these frequency ranges can benefit your mental health.

  1. Lowers stress and anxiety

According to Medical News Today, it is not recommended that it be used in place of traditional medicines; however, professionals have recommended this therapy to treat anxiety and stress. Although it is considered by doctors to be a semi-experimental treatment, there has been a substantial amount of research in support of its successful use. Formative research from 2001 shows how listening to binaural beats reduced anxiety as an adjunctive form of therapy that can be administered in the comfort of your own home. Listening to any of the five frequency ranges can lower stress and anxiety depending on your needs and desired outcome. 

  • Increased confidence – Alpha pattern: 7-13Hz

Confidence can be improved through many avenues; however, listening to Binaural Beats may just be a new way for you to get your confidence back. Some people may repeat encouraging phrases in the mirror; others may find confidence through their successes and achievements. Research shows that listening to binaural beats in the alpha frequency range can help improve your confidence and promote positivity. Binaural Beats Meditation suggests that your self-confidence may improve with time by creating a consistent habit of listening to frequencies in the alpha range. It is recommended to feel less anxious about public engagements, confidence issues, or poor self-esteem. Your brain becomes accustomed to feeling a certain way in any given situation. In this case, you can train your brain to respond positively through the use of Binaural Beats. The subconscious plays an important role here alongside alpha range-binaural beat.

  • Enhanced Meditation – Alpha pattern: 7-13Hz

Mindvalley.com described Binaural Beats as Brainwave entrainment that puts you in a meditative state easily and quickly, allowing the listener to enter into meditative practice without having a very advanced practice. Binaural beats allow flexibility in meditation approach and practice. For enhanced meditation, binaural beats in the Alpha range are recommended. 

  • Better long-term memory – Beta pattern: 13-30Hz

Studies have shown that long-term memory can be improved when exposed to Beta range frequencies. A study performed by Kennerly in 1994 demonstrated that subjects exposed to Beta binaural beats during 15 min, before and during the study phase, performed significantly better in both the free recall task. Based on Kennerly’s study results, we can assume that listening to Beta- frequency binaural beats is a productive technique to enhance long-term memory, improving free recall and recognition. Beta binaural beats can aid learning passively without training or experience.

  • Overall mood enhancement – Theta pattern: 13-30Hz

According to a 2015 literature review, mood disruption and a reduction in tension, anxiety, confusion, and fatigue subscales after delta beat exposure. It is suggested that listening to beta-frequency binaural beats can decrease negativity and increase your overall mood. Mood states are often dependent on external factors; however,  listening to beta-frequency binaural beats is one way you can take control of your inner world through self-administered cost-effective sound therapy.

Giving binaural beats a shot leaves you with nothing to lose. All you need to get started is a pair of stereo headphones, an excellent binaural beats playlist and at least 15min of uninterrupted time. It is important to note that binaural beats may not replace traditional medicine or be as effective. It can be used alongside your daily routine and current prescriptions. Although this therapy has worked for me, I encourage you to explore and experiment with the different frequency ranges to find what works for you.

Binaural beats frequencies to explore:

  1. Alpha wave
  2. Beta wave
  3. Theta wave  
  4. Delta wave
  5. Gamma wave

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