embody logo

Archimedes’ Wife has a Brain Wave

Famous for his “EUREKA!” moment, Archimedes shouldn’t really take the credit. His wife, fed up with him hanging around all day, thinking, told him to take a break and have a bath. That was the moment of genius.
09 April 2008
Positive Psychology

Bookmark post
facebook   linked in   twitter

beta brain waves

Beta Brain Waves.

During our normal waking hours our brains are generating beta brain waves. They are most strongly seen when our minds are fully engaged thinking. If for instance, you were having a telephone conversation with a plumber about fitting a new bath then you would be using beta brain waves. However, beta brain waves wouldn’t necessarily be that useful if you were trying to invent a new law of hydrostatic watsit.

theta brain waves

Theta Brain Waves.

Plumber – “You want theta brain waves for that mate. Now I could get you some next Thursday but it’ll cost you.” Theta brain waves, slower and lower, are most commonly associated with daydreaming, zoning out during repetitive activity, dropping off to sleep or just waking up. They are also most strongly associated with insight, ideas, “ah-ha” moments and invention. The problem is that, if we hear ideas from our theta range at all then we are very likely to forget them immediately.

alpha brain waves

Alpha Brain Waves.

What you really need are alpha brain waves. These are the bridge between the inspiration of theta and the awareness and logic of beta. They begin to happen when you’re engaged in automatic activities and particularly when you close your eyes. You don’t have to read far in the writings of great creatives from science through to art to find illustrations along the lines of, “I was strolling in the grounds, musing and it struck me thus ...”.

Thomas Edison, wise to this phenomenon, used to sit with a steel ball between his knees and a tray at his feet and let himself drop off to sleep. As the ball hitting the tray woke him he would scribble down whatever idea was in his mind.

Try it yourself. When you next have a problem to solve or an idea to get – and you get stuck – don’t face it head on. Go and do something else, fun, simple, repetitive. You can also relax with your eyes closed and imagine vividly a natural scene. Go on a mediative journey through a natural setting to a room containing a message ... or you could even have a bath.

See related posts down arrow

31 January 2007

down right

Ten Questions To Boost Your Creativity

You are capable of generating such brilliant creativity that you could solve most problems that you might otherwise ask an ‘expert’ to advise you about. You could invent something totally new – you could walk around your own house and see it as if for the first time and shine inspiring creativity into every corner, after all, this isn’t just about problem solving.

17 February 2007

down right

Five Rules For Surviving Outside Your Comfort Zone

I’m starting this post with a confession/apology to any client who I’ve glibly encouraged to step outside of their comfort zone. Three weeks ago I sat part way down a vertical sheet of ice thwacking it with my ski pole. I then broke down in frustration and tears vowing to end my 2 day old experiment with the ‘fun’ of skiing. I was way outside my comfort zone – which is, incidentally, the only place that change takes place.

17 November 2006

down right

Facilitating Creative Meetings

“Every new idea is born drowning” said Bob Woodruff. Have you ever been in a group when some creativity was called for and everyone was too scared to suggest an idea in case someone else squashed it?


I’m wondering if it would be alright for me to use the above description/tub pics for a little brain wave info on my website?  It’s very user friendly (people start ot glaze over when I talk of brain waves!) let me know if this would be ok. 
Thank you,
Be Well,

#1. By Celeste on February 09, 2011


#2. By S on March 25, 2011