The Alpha State – Why Is It Essential to Psychic Development?

There are four types of brain wave that can occur while you’re thinking, sleeping, dreaming, concentrating and doing what you do – those brain waves are called beta, alpha, theta, and delta.

Let’s take a look at the brain wave states that occur with different activities and states of consciousness:

brain wave chart

Beta is the brain wave that’s present for your normal waking state and all the busy-ness that happens during this state. Most of us are in beta (fully conscious/awake/concentrating) throughout the day. But note that you cannot usually receive psychic insights or intuitive guidance in a beta state. That’s the state where your conscious mind is fully engaged and operative and everything is busy, busy, busy.

You need to be in an alpha state (at the least) to receive psychic information.

Before I begin a reading, I always take myself down to an alpha state through meditation and visualization. I don’t call it ‘putting myself in an alpha state’, but if I remain in beta (with my conscious mind engaged), I can’t read for someone – quite simply – I can’t connect with someone’s Spirit Guides in that state. If I tried, I wouldn’t get any information.

It would be like being tuned into the wrong radio station. I’m trying to connect to the frequency your guides are at (alpha) – the equivalent of some far away, long-wave radio station, set on an island somewhere. But all I can hear is my mind chattering about anything and everything (in beta) – the equivalent of some rubbish local breakfast show with lots of adverts and small talk: “What shall I have for dinner tonight? Oh, it’s raining, someone needs to bring the washing in!”, “Hmm, my eczema’s really itchy today” etc, etc.

Likewise, if you’re trying to hear your own guides, you may just hear thoughts. You’re just listening to yourself. It’s because you’re in beta.

How to Take Yourself Down to the Alpha State

If you’re not used to doing this at will, you will probably need to practise. I’ve done thousands of readings now and I have to sit down and put myself in this state – every time.

Here are some ways to put yourself in the alpha state:

1. Meditation

Here’s how:

Choose a quiet place to meditate and sit in a comfortable position. You can sit in a traditional cross-legged posture or you can sit in a chair. Make sure your back is straight – this helps to prevent your mind from becoming sleepy. I don’t recommend that you lie down to meditate as you can fall asleep while you’re doing it.

Sit with your eyes closed and turn your attention to your breathing. Breathe through the nostrils, without trying to control your breath, just notice the sensation of the air going in and out of your nostrils. Focus on this sensation. As you’re doing this, your thoughts will continue to arise, but bring your attention back to your breath.

A lot of intuitives make meditation a part of their spiritual practice – mostly because it trains the mind to relax at will and enter the alpha state. It’s a hard skill to develop, but it’s worth it.

What if you find meditation really hard?

If you don’t like regular meditation, try guided visualization to put you in the alpha state.

Visualize what you want to happen tomorrow. Visualize meeting your spirit guides.

I like to visualize going down a staircase to visit my guides in a garden. Sometimes I imagine meeting them on a mountain top or a beach.

Even if you’re the one doing the visualizing and it’s not really your spirit guides, it doesn’t matter. Allow yourself to daydream – it’s good for your psychic development!

When you daydream and visualize and imagine, you’re in the alpha state. The more often you can put yourself in that state, the easier it is to do it next time you want to connect with your spirit guides at will. And the next time, they might actually show up because you can access them at the frequency of alpha.

2. Binaural Beats

Another recent discovery of mine that helps me to be in the alpha state is binaural beats. I first discovered this via a friend who put me together a hypnosis mp3 to help me sleep. Firstly, she sent a hypnosis mp3 with her talking. I listened to it a few times but it was hard to get my mind to shut up and pay attention. I wasn’t sure I was being hypnotized.

Then a few days later, she sent me an updated version of the hypnosis, with binaural beats in the background. When I listened to this mp3, straight away it was like it was speaking to a whole different part of me – that was present, and listening. I was hypnotized.

Once I saw what binaural beats could do, I decided to order an Extra-Sensory Perception Binaural Beats mp3 with the aim of training myself to reach the alpha state more easily and quickly. So far, I have found it a really helpful tool for training myself to bypass my very busy and chatty mind and put me in a state where I can quickly access spiritual guidance. So much so that I plan on using it to replace my meditation that I do in the morning before readings.

Meet Anna

Hi, I’m Anna Sayce! My purpose here on this website is to provide practical techniques and information to help empaths to understand, and fix the root of their energetic overwhelm & also to help sensitives to embrace and develop their intuitive gifts. I believe that developing our spiritual & intuitive side is very powerful and allows us to improve our own lives, and if we wish, even make the world a better place for others. Discover more >


  1. Ariff

    You mean when you go to Alpha, you’ll forget that your eczema is itching?

  2. Kate

    Hi Anna, I breathe. I also like tune into the air around me. i focus on the stillness. not consciously, just habit. i also do things like light incense or spray myself with oil sprays, like an aura spray. and i say a prayer. I suppose it sets the intention, But the breathing really helps centre me very fast.

  3. Angela

    You know how when you’re in Alpha, your physiology changes? You can also use the mind/body connection in the opposite direction, and use your physiology to put your mind in Alpha — instantly!

    Sit or lay comfortably and gently relax your eyelids and softly close them. Now roll your eyes up 20 degrees in your head — this happens naturally when you transition into your normal sleeping state, so you will immediately begin to relax. Breathe comfortably and slowly….. and enjoy going into Alpha easily and effortlessly, in only a few short seconds.

    This is a really nice way to relax tension, too, just in the normal course of your day. If you find you’ve got tension in your thoughts, or in your head, neck, or shoulders, just take a few moments to do this exercise, and you’ll be amazed at how instantly they just *poof* disappear.

  4. Anna

    Ariff – Yes – you stop feeling your body so much after being in alpha for so many minutes.

    Hi Kate – Yes! I agree, deep breathing or breathing exercises is an easy way to raise your vibration and go into alpha, I forgot about that one.

    Angela – Thanks for this suggestion! I tried it out last night to sleep and it worked nicely. I think it was easy for me because my brain waves were ‘entrained’ to alpha after 5 days of binaural beats 🙂

  5. MarkC

    Do you ever use music in your meditation or guided visualization? If you do what kind of music do you think it best?
    I’ve only ever meditated in silence, but I know that some people use music.

    • Anna

      Hi Mark, I don’t use music in my visualizations/meditations, I find it a bit distracting and prefer silence.

  6. Alex

    If you have an iPhone, there are a few binaural beats applications available. I like one called Attractor. Put the iPhone into Airplane mode before using it so you don’t get interrupted by a phone call. Anna, I’m going to take your idea and try using it for a set number of days in a row to see what happens.

    Also, for meditation, there’s an application called Peace Alarm. You can set the timer and it has some nice sounds for starting and ending meditation (chakra bowls, bells, etc.). You can also use it as an alarm clock to wake in the morning but don’t do that unless you have it plugged in or the battery will run out.

    • Anna

      Hi Alex, thanks for those tips. I’m sure someone will find them helpful. I don’t have an iphone but would like one. Good luck with your experiment.

  7. Paulo

    Well, I have some hypnosis tapes from different sources that I use for different purposes, and they are really good for me. I am beginning to try some simple breathing meditation, but obviously I need to work more at it. One does feel ever so much better afterwards.

  8. Maik

    Very informative. Thank you.

  9. Maressa

    I really enjoy your articles.. specifically the one about healthy boundaries. I came across it today while needed to remind myself of those truths while going through a period of time in my life where i’m having to re-claim my power from “helping” others and start making decisions for me and only me.
    I don’t know if you were just using it as an example, but if you really do have eczema i’d like to share a helpful remedy/tip.
    I’m taking a herbal medicine/plant spirit medicine apprenticeship currently, and two of the girls in the class have eczema and something that they say really CLEARED it up for them was drinking nourishing herbs everyday (specifically chickweed) which grows locally around here (New england)….but you can also get it in bulk dried online at an herb store and in a Qt mason jar fill it up with half dried herb half water (hot or cold) and let it sit over night. Drink it in the morning and do it everyday (the herb is very very nutritive and is a whole food with other added benefits)
    Hope that helps… and thanks again!

    • Anna

      Hi Maressa, thanks for the tip. My eczema is clearing up, mainly since I changed my diet (no gluten, dairy, etc.) I am very interested in nutrition & herbs and will have a look into chickweed.

  10. Steffy

    Thank you! I thought I was going crazy! I never knew about the alpha state being linked to psychic abilities… Explains why, as I just drift off to sleep I heard different voices saying my name. Also explains why I cant hear them when I jump out of my skin afterwards lol. I just thought I was imagining it… or going crazy. I used to have abilities in my late teens and early 20’s but I didn’t hear things I would just randomly say things (very embarrassing) and it would come true with in a matter of hours. I lost the ability after an incident where i told my neighbor his dog would kill my kitten and i wanted her body back. Later that night she got out and she died due to the dog frightening her :0(. Still upsets me coz I should have know better and saved her… But I was disappointed I cut off my abilities.

  11. Pyraxus

    Hello Anna,

    My real name is Anthony. All my life I have been sensitive to various subtle energy forms. Recently however, it seems a new ability has been manifesting. About two years ago now I had a sort of out of body experience where information both symbolic in nature and actual was presented to me. Information about the very structure and fabric of existence itself.

    Since then I have become aware of a strange perception which manifests most like sound. It is subtle, ever-present and varies at times in both frequency and amplitude. It resembles the whirring and clicking of a computer hard drive or very fast geiger counter. I hear (more accurately sense) it best when I block all external noise.

    I thought perhaps it may be my own spiritual energy or thought patterns because I have heard/sensed an overlapping secondary pattern of differing frequency/amplitude while listenting to certain motivaional speakers.

    In the two years since the above event, after having focused on this revealed sensory perception I seem to be manifesting clairaudience abilities. Hearing people’s voices I recognize when they are far away or outside the building mostly, but also hearing disembodied voices and sounds which sound like an out of tune radio or EVP recording. Also some cases which seem to be some sort of “psychometric projections” (for lack of better terminology) coming from the environment itself as if I am hearing/sensing stored vibrational patterns in the solid matter around me. I have always possessed this type of ability in terms of emotional energies and I am usually fairly empathic.

    So what I am wondering is where I might find more information on this particular phenomena as I am having trouble finding such subject matter that relates more directly with what I am experiencing. Not that I am in any way troubled by any of this, it’s just that figuring this out on my own is very slow going and it is happening more frequently in both my light sleep and fully awake states, causing the lines between the “higher state of consciousness” and “reality” to blur at times. Any direction you can give me would be appreciated.

    Sincerely, Anthony

  12. Michele P. E.

    I just read your article “The Alpha State- Why is it essential for psychic development”. I was wondering about whether or not people feel tired when you are in the alpha state? I have had an experience that while I was taking a shower, an answer to one of my problems came to me so clear. Was I in an alpha state…the sound of the water running at a steady pace and feeling relaxed by the sound and warmth of the water? I think so

  13. Lorraine

    Thank you for this informative post Anna. Your direction and explanation is so useful I will pass it along. I use a form called Saesai meditation to go to my Alpha state. I sit for no longer than 15 minutes. I open in a prayer of protection, I state my intention and I sit in silence. I have been doing this 2x daily for 2 years now. It has helped me develop my claraudience. It took a dedicated practice of setting time apart to connect with my higher conscious.I used to think this was only for certain gifted people- now I realize this is available to ALL and I LOVE the communication with my guides who walk with me. I did try group meditation, guided meditation, youtube instructional videos, books, CDs—all seemed or felt like the wrong energy. For me Meditation is about NOT doing– it’s letting the energy come TO me, not me going after it….so in reply to your post… How do I get to Alpha state?–I learned how to stop DOING and learned the art of sitting and attuning myself to Spirit. Thanks again-Lorraine

  14. Kerry-Marie Callander

    Hi Anna,

    I enjoyed reading this and it makes a lot of sense. To go into the alpha state I find putting all my thoughts in a box and put the box in the corner of the room knowing I can pick it up later helps me relax, let go and be able to go into the alpha state. I used to want to hang onto my thoughts in case I forgot something I needed to do. However by doing this it gives me permission to let go an go into the alpha state knowing I will be able to pick up my busy life later…
    I like listening to Jefferee Clarkson’s music as it very celestial and I can move into it, however only very very quietly playing in the background, otherwise like you it can be very distracting.
    I enjoyed reading this Anna and thanks for reading.

  15. Kerry-Marie Callander

    Hi Anna,
    I really enjoyed reading this article. Along with the breathing and incense etc like Kate mentioned I find putting all my thoughts and things I have to attend to in a purple box that I place in the corner of the room knowing that let go for now and pick up the box later with it’s thoughts and things I need to attend to. This helps me to empty my mind and let go so I can go into the Alpha state without being distracted or with a busy mind. Breathing of course is very important I and try to breath in peace and out with love. I think Kate’s idea about saying a prayer is very good as well.
    Blessings Kerry-Marie

  16. stevie

    I do this since I was a child,all I need to do is to put together any three fingers of my hands and I go into alpha state even with my eyes open,also I can do it at will at anytime, it works! your life change and you can fulfill very much what you really want, but like I said Im doing this since I was probably 7 years old,of course at that time I did not know I did not know what I was doing, until I started researching why my wierd experiences.

  17. Han

    Hi, I would really like steps to do the reverse! I feel like I am stuck in alpha state. It’s not a bad thing, but I think it’s holding me back from being more vivacious. Part of me is afraid of what life will be like without perceiving it this way. Will I become socially awkward? Will I fail to help someone? Or will I be happier and have more fun and humour in my world? Hard to let go… which is what a lot of people say about how they feel trying to quieten their mind to meditate. I think I would feel somehow guilty if I wasn’t in this state constantly- like what if someone was to need me and I wasn’t there? I know how this sounds, I am just being honest. I have been living from this level for a long time. I want to get back into my body more and feel less responsible for everything and everyone around me for a change. I think it’s time to get more balance. I think I am also afraid that if I get into beta, I may get stuck there and lose these insights. Maybe I have a grass is greener mentality about it, or maybe common fears. Any tips?

  18. Priscilla

    Hello. I found your page when I googled on “alpha state.” I recently completed a 24-session course of neurofeedback training intended to help me with my PTSD symptoms. The aim was for me to lower the occurrence of my high beta waves (which go hand in hand with the anxious, hypervigilant, antagonistic attitude and behavior deriving from my PTSD) and to raise the occurrence of my alpha brain waves. After some weeks of training, I was able to consistently drop my high beta and raise my alpha above it. After being able to do it in training for a while, I began being able to do it on my own. So far, giving myself brief times in alpha state has calmed me down a lot, improved my work relationships, and lowered my blood pressure.

    My question comes from the fact that I experience the alpha state as physical sensation. It’s as if my throat and entire upper respiratory tract were lined with sensitive cells that react to the passing of my breath with warm delight and an almost sexual pleasure. It’s a wonderful sensation, but I’m having trouble dealing with the fact that I experience it so physically.

    My therapist consulted with a neurofeedback expert who says that some people do experience alpha state physically, but I’m looking for more information. Do you experience alpha state as physical? Do you know anyone else who does? Do you have any wisdom to share?

    Thank you for any information you can give me to help me with this piece of my self understanding.

    • Anna

      No Priscilla, I have not heard of this before. Although if someone else reading this has I am sure they will comment.

  19. bing

    Hi! I think I can only share based on my experience.I’ve done this since I was still a kid.I lie on my bed alone daydreaming or visualizing what I want to happen in my future. It happens all the time and everything I had visualized all came true. I keep wondering why that happens every time. I thought maybe I have guardian fairies who made my dreams come true. By the way I think I saw some fairies when I was a kid. Until one day someone told me I have psychic ability and that’s the reason why I am searching for an answers and I came up with this website.

    I can also see and hear souls sometimes and control things using my mind. I m also able to know people, how they feel and what they want in life.

    Since I used not to believe in ESP because my friends keep telling me I’m weird and crazy, I just used it like a hobby or a game but not something real.When people asked, I just told them that I have guardian fairies jokingly. =)


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