What would life be like if you had reliable consistent ways to reduce anxiety and stress with light? Pretty chilled out right!? Well, read on and find out how…
Can using light & sound brainwave entrainment reduce stress and anxiety
You CAN reduce anxiety and stress with light. And with the addition of stroboscopic light based brainwave entrainment, much more is achievable. What follows are ways to use light, brainwave entrainment, and audio visual entrainment techniques for stress and anxiety relief. First, there is a simple understanding to make clear about reducing stress and anxiety.
Anxiety and stress are not feelings to be avoided at all cost. Stress and anxiety that is under control and not chronic is needed for day to day activity and focus. Short bursts of anxiety and stress can have many benefits. And this incudes better brain function, focus and attention, and of course excitement. In fact small amounts of stress helps with building mental resilience leading to better general mental health. And mental resilience comes from mental flexibility. Something that can be trained. Habitual anxiety and stress removes this flexibility. And the problem becomes chronic and ongoing. This can lead to further issues including physical manifestations like headaches. For a comprehensive guide on reducing and eliminating stress and anxiety read the anxiety relief series. This article here focuses primarily on light to reduce anxiety and stress.
Sometimes for your own peace of mind and balance.., it’s useful to just switch off from it all. Challenges will still be there when you get back, but for now.., you just need some stillness.
Is silence and contemplative thought a cure for anxiety and stress
French philosopher Blaise Pascal famously wrote, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
I have yet to find someone who considers themselves fulfilled and/or making progress that does not have purposeful ways to relax. And it doesn’t have to be for hours on end. Sometimes something as simple as listening to music, exercising or walking in nature can produce this stillness and quietness.
Neurologically, when we are stressed there is an inter-hemispheric imbalance in the brain and an excess of high Beta (> 22Hz approximately) brain activity. More on this later.
Both of these neurobiological issues can be addressed with various practices like meditation. Often however, the time it takes to get effective results is long enough and frustrating enough to have people give up.
Why habitual relaxing changes the quality of problems
Technology like that offered by roXiva can be your personal stress relief guide, doing most of the work for you. Problems never really go away. But with practice, the quality of problem becomes much more manageable and short lived. Solutions appear as if out of nowhere and creativity increases exponentially. And when you arrive at a point where you can function with purpose and progress in an environment of controlled chaos, then your life changes dramatically.
In my experience two of the biggest antidotes to anxiety and stress (and depression) are purpose and progress. And having a goal that excites you, combined with consistent progress., leaves no time for anxiety and stress. Because stress becomes more like busy excitement. The only efficient way to be in that mindset is to let go of persistent thought. And focus with clarity and calmness on the present, with only short periods of thought about the past or future.
What is the effect of light on emotional and mental health
We almost all feel better in a bright sunny environment. It’s one of the reasons we go on holidays to sunny warm environments. And the subject of lifestyle and lifespan, or lifestyle and health., are closely linked. In fact, longevity (lifespan) and mental health are a hot topic in today’s science and medical literature. A lack of light interferes with our biological rhythms. And particularly our circadian rhythm (body clock) which controls when we are alert or sleepy. A shift in this circadian rhythm can lead to challenges like depression. It’s well known that exposure to bright light in the morning can positively affect mood. And SAD (seasonal affective disorder) lamps are a common use of this knowledge. This is the practice of using a source of bright light to offset feelings of depression caused by low light in winter months. And studies show that it is effective for some people.
Can you reduce stress and anxiety with light in the morning
Research also shows that morning light can reduce stress and anxiety responses by improving brain communication. And this was done by measuring reactions to fearful and angry faces before and after three weeks of morning light exposure. I can’t help but make the connection that people who stay indoors a lot can develop social anxiety. And I am constantly surprised at how beneficial it is to mental and physical health to get light exposure. Light and coloured light have a deep history of healing and respect from ancient cultures to modern medicine. Sleep, immunity, physical healing, and eye health are also positively affected by light (especially sunlight). Holistic light therapy is a growing field worth being aware of. The lesson learnt from studies on mood, is that light is an important factor in regulating our mental state.
How to use home lighting for improved mental health
There are a few considerations to be aware of when using lighting for proved mental health at home. Reducing stress and anxiety with light starts with these understandings…
What home lighting brightness is best for calm
This is usually measured in Lux or Lumens. Lux refers to the brightness of a lit object and can be measured by a lux metre. And Lumens is a measure of the intensity a light puts out. And most bulbs available will show this on the packaging. High lumens mean high brightness. And high brightness tends to create high alertness and clearer reading or activity. Rooms in the house where this may be useful is in an office, workshop or art studio, exercise room, garage, over the countertop in the kitchen, and a bedside lamp for reading. Although if you read the better sleep series , you will see that reading in bed is not necessarily a good idea. All other rooms are better with dimmer light bulbs except during activity. So you could have two lights in rooms that are multi-purpose. One for active use., and one for relaxing and rest.
What home lighting colour temperature should I choose
The colour temperature of home lighting is measured in Kelvin (K). And again this will usually be on bulb packaging in one of two ways. Either as a value, or as a label of warm and cool. Warm white is approximately 2000 – 3500K. Cool white is approximately 4500 – 6500K. And in between is usually included in one or the other. Warm white is close to what sunrise and sunset look like and had a yellow orange look. This is because it has less blue light in it. And blue light has been shown to be the biggest contributor to unwanted alertness at night in homes. Including the use of phones and televisions that have high amounts of blue light. Although most devices and TV’s now have adjustments to filter out this blue light. Therefore, warm white bulbs are good for relaxing rooms in your house like the bedroom and lounge. Cool white has more of this blue light in it and is closer to midday sunlight. And is good for creating more alertness and focus in rooms like offices and creative spaces.
Does the timing of home lighting matter
The next thing to consider when reducing stress and anxiety with light, is when you use it. The timing of when you use lighting at home does matter. Modern lifestyles and home lighting have taken away our natural ability to adjust to changing seasons and the effect of sunrise and sunset. Using bright and/or cool white light late at night will negatively affect your circadian rhythm (Body clock). And this will interfere with sleep timing and quality, and also make your mood harder to control. Limit the amount of light you use in the evenings before bed and use dim warm white bulbs where possible. And also limit screen time on devices. Consider purchasing some blue blocker glasses if sleep is an issue for you. Because they filter out the blue end of the light spectrum. More information on sleep can be found in the better sleep series of articles.
How to Reduce stress and anxiety with light in the home
Experiment with reducing anxiety and stress with light. Consider using accent lighting to highlight area’s of a room rather than lighting the whole room with bright white light. Or maybe even use coloured light. Subtle colours in the form of night lights, smart bulbs, and strings of fairy lights can be a calming use of light in bedrooms. Soft blue light in particular can have a calming effect. This is different from the blue light part of white light bulbs. And with the above information, choose the right bulbs for the right area’s. Make bedrooms and casual living spaces warm and inviting. Use a candle or dim lighting close to bedtime to ensure you get a restful sleep. Waking up refreshed will make a big difference to reducing anxiety and stress. If you can make changes to the structure of your house, try to introduce more natural light from outside. Installing skylights and trimming trees that block light coming in can be useful. And you can position chairs in rooms so that natural light can be enjoyed as you relax in them.
Can you reduce stress and anxiety with sound
A brief mention of sound before we get to combining light and sound for stress and anxiety relief. Music has long been associated with changing states of mind. For many people, music is a type of sound healing by itself. Relaxing ambient music like the sound of water or birds is commonly used to create stress free environments. And classical music has also been used for this purpose. Rhythmic music is it’s own type of entrainment that can effect brain rhythms. And then there is white noise. This is like the static found between radio stations where the sound is a constant hiss like effect. This can help reduce anxiety or even help put you to sleep.
How to use audio tones for anxiety and stress relief
Further to that, is the use of specific frequency tones embedded in music to make changes in brainwave activity. These tend to most commonly be isochronic tones or binaural beats embedded in music. Isochronic tones are frequency controlled beeps or pulses at the rate of intended brain entrainment. Binaural beats are similar, but rely on one ear hearing a tone offset from the other ear. And then the brain entraining to the difference of that offset. For mixed use, synchronisation is easier between stroboscopic light and isochronic tones. And that leads nicely into one of the best methods around to get anxiety and stress relief with light and sound…
Can you get stress and anxiety relief with Audio visual brainwave entrainment
I still find it surprising that more people don’t talk about how brainwave entrainment and audio visual entrainment has helped let go of stress and anxiety. I think people sometimes take anything that reduces stress in their life for granted. Therefore they don’t leverage those things enough and forget that they have ways to get relief if they need it.
Most studies on brainwave entrainment have anxiety and stress relief as a side effect. Fewer studies seem to have that as the goal. Included below are a couple of peer reviewed studies showing the effectiveness of brainwave entrainment BWE or audio visual entrainment AVE on reducing anxiety, worry and stress. Research only goes so far to tell the story. Personal experience is far more valuable and valid as it takes our individuality and differences into consideration. The reality is that like anything.., experiencing it yourself will tell you far more than any research study.
What are the brainwaves of stress and anxiety
One useful way to look at an anxious or stressful state of mind is to look at brainwave frequencies. When people who suffer from excessive anxiety and stress are measured using EEG., there are some common findings. Typically, anxious and stressful people have a reduction in Alpha brainwave (8-12Hz) activity and an increase in Beta brainwave (12-32Hz) activity. And often the lower Theta (4-8Hz) and Delta (0.5-4Hz) waves are also affected negatively. We need all of these brainwaves like a symphony needs all it’s instruments. Brainwaves aren’t a one man band. Beta brainwaves are associated with an active aroused mind. And this is useful for being focused and getting things done when mixed with periods of lower Alpha. However, this can tip out of balance and become excess high Beta (>22Hz). And the ability to let go and relax suffers. Therefore the result of this excess of Beta brainwaves results in chronic stress and anxiety. And this then filters into reduced quality sleep., and the cycle continues.
What are the brainwaves of a healthy mind
A healthy body and brain is a balanced body and brain. And this applies to brainwaves also. Balance simply means that the right brain activity is present at the right time. The mix of brainwaves is complete with inclusion of the highest brainwaves Gamma (>32Hz) and the lowest super slow waves (<0.5Hz). These are subtle but important brainwaves that work in unison with other brainwaves. And are vital for functions such as memory, concentration, cognitive health, and communication between brain regions. Due to this subtlety, they can overwhelmed by an excess of strong Beta.
Alpha is known as a calm but aware state, and Theta is a relaxed meditative state. Delta is primarily associated with sleep and rejuvenation. And healthy sleep cycles will be a mix of Theta and Delta. Healthy daytime brainwaves will jump between Beta and Alpha. And will actually tend toward Alpha when people get into a flow state of mental or physical activity. Low Beta known as sensory motor rhythms (SMR 12-15Hz) will be more common than higher Beta.
How reducing anxiety and stress with light and sound Brainwave entrainment works
Some of the reasons for successfully reducing anxiety and stress with brainwave entrainment are specific to the method and some aren’t. And taking time out of your day to withdraw from the outside world and enter a dream state is enough of a reason to get relief from anxiety and stress. It’s what lead me to brainwave entrainment in the first place. I never really found meditation to be either attractive or successful. So when I came across a device that promised to do it for me, I was sold. And there is more to it than that. Improved Heart rate variability (HRV), serotonin release, increased cerebral (brain) blood flow, trance states of dissociation, and specific frequencies associated with relaxation are some of the more quantifiable results.
RoXiva brainwave entrainment for anxiety and stress works by stimulating the brain in a way that brings back balance. Using stroboscopic light and pulsed sound users are taken into beneficial altered states. And this results in mental and physical release and rejuvenation. Missing or out of balance brainwave frequencies can be re-introduced to produce calm awareness.
Why brainwave synchronisation makes it hard to be anxious
Due to the nature of this type of entrainment, synchronisation occurs across the whole brain. And a synchronised brain finds it very hard to be anxious. This is because anxiety tends to favour left brain thinking. And the right side of the brain tends to reduce in activity or shut down.
Dissociation from the outside world is common with brainwave entrainment also. And this escape from repetitive thoughts can bring huge relief to those who suffer from anxiety and stress. And with stroboscopic light brainwave entrainment, roXiva light and sound meditation takes entrainment a step further. Rhythmic patterns of colour, shape and movement cause profound altered states of consciousness that are a type of drug free psychedelic light trip.
As with any technique, spaced repetition is key to learning how to be more at ease in a fast paced world. And brainwave entrainment is one easy way of doing that while also staying motivated to keep doing it
Breaking the habit of conditioned experience
Stress is a conditioned habit that we get used to and relaxation can become a conditioned habit also.
Non drug related alternatives do not get much attention. Billions of dollars go into producing and testing a new drug you can take. And this is quite frankly the most efficient way to help the most amount of people. But if you, like me, are interested in alternatives that in many cases outperform the drugs., then you need to experience entrainment.
As you will see in some of the research where follow up testing was conducted, the positive results do last. And there are two sides to that in my opinion. As with meditation.., the results do last even if you stop your practice. But for how long?
Does anxiety and stress relief takes persistence
If you fall back into old habits and stop taking time out to be quiet and reflective., then slowly but surely your life will get back to being more stressful again. And I think when people do something for a while to get relaxed and then stop doing it but remain relaxed., they have adopted another strategy to get the same or similar result. So anxiety and stress relief does take a certain level of persistence. Although with practice, habits take over. And then your natural way of being becomes calm.
Listening to music, going for a walk, exercising, playing a game or joining a club or group are all different ways to ‘meditate’. The secret therefore., is to find something either easy or that you enjoy or both.
What are the best frequencies for reducing stress and anxiety with light
Light based brainwave entrainment is more powerful than sound. The two combined giving an even deeper experience. The same principals of frequency apply to both though. Using either Alpha or Theta band frequencies will give most people the best results when using brainwave entrainment for stress and anxiety relief. Aim for a target frequency somewhere close to the 6-10Hz range. Because this is low enough to relax you and give relief without sending you to sleep. Lower than that works for some people but is more likely to have you doze off. Not that that’s a bad thing, haha. If you are highly anxious, then you may need to start a bit higher and slowly work your way down. Because lower frequencies may be so far away from where you spend most of your time, that it’s hard for the brain to follow the stimulation. In these cases, you may better suited to SMR frequencies which are a subset of Beta. And they are in the range of 12-15Hz. In my experience, the frequency doesn’t matter so much though. As often your brain responds to the unique experience by letting go perhaps for the first time in a long while.
“I was introduced to roXiva and that changed my life – Sandrine”
Can heart rate variability training help with stress and anxiety
Heart rate variability (HRV) is a measure of the hearts ability to change its rhythm to suit the environment. So a good variability of heart rate is an indicator of mental and physical health. Because the heart can quickly and easily change from fast to slow or slow to fast to suit the situation. And this ties in with the value of mental flexibility for reducing anxiety and stress. A positive HRV score has been shown in research to be conducive to more oxygen in the body and lowered blood pressure. The opposite, a low HRV score has been associated with health challenges like heart disease, stroke, hypertension, anxiety, stress and depression.
More than any other organ in our body, our heart must by nature be ready for anything. In one moment it may need to slow down and allow you to fall asleep. And in another moment it may need to speed up to help you avoid danger. Your heart must be ready for constant change throughout the day. HRV is therefore an indication of mental and physical flexibility. And is something worth considering as part of an overall awareness of health. Improve your heart rate variability, and reduce your anxiety and stress.
How can brainwave entrainment improve heart rate variability
This HRV study showed the result of 10 sessions of audio visual entrainment.
The sessions started in Beta rhythms (12-30Hz approx) and then moved down through Alpha (8-12Hz), Theta (4-8Hz) and finally into Delta (0.5-4Hz). And they finished by returning to low Beta (12-14Hz) just before the end of the session to make integration to alertness easier.
Standard tests for anxiety, performance and HRV were given before during and after this course of sessions to both this group and a control group who got no AVE. And significant reductions in anxiety responses were found in the test group.
Thus it was shown in this study that Audio visual entrainment or stimulation increased heart rate variability, and reduced anxiety. Increased vagus nerve stimulation was concluded to be a major contributing factor in these positive results. The vagus nerve is associated with heart, lungs and digestive control.
Alpha brainwaves are the mental idle point
Alpha brainwave activity is known as the brains idling frequency. A point of relaxed and calm awareness. People who are ‘in the zone’ spend alot of time at this level. Alpha stimulation has also been shown to increase heart rate variability (HRV). And this is another way to get anxiety and stress relief with brainwave entrainment. Many of our users also combine brainwave entrainment with other practices like hypnotherapy. And certain patterns of breathwork can also boost HRV. Combining breathwork and brainwave entrainment can enhance both practices.
How sports performance was improved by relieving anxiety with entrainment
65 track and field athletes took part in a study to see if AVE/AVS (audio visual entrainment/stimulation) could improve the adaptive components of their performance and recovery to physical and emotional stress.
And 20-22 sessions of 25 minutes each spaced at 24hr intervals were used. The protocol was 13Hz down to 4Hz and back again. The results showed a significant reduction in internal tension and frustration. And also an increased resistance to stress compared to the control group.
At the same time motivation to succeed increased in this group. As well as more efficient heart activity while at rest. And as a side observation., memory and attention also showed improvement.
Overall the AVS sessions resulted in an increase in emotional stability and feelings of quietness and balance.
Also of interest was that the control group who did not receive any AVS sessions had an increase of exhaustion and decrease in motivation as the study progressed. And this is to be expected as training gets harder and recovery less efficient. The AVS group did not have this challenge. Stress and anxiety relief is just one aspect of using brainwave entrainment for peak performance.
Can pathologiocal worry be eased with Audio Visual Entrainment
This study tested the effectiveness of AVE on pathological worry, anxiety and stress in 113 college students.
Four protocols were used:
- A control group with no intervention
- One group who used expressive writing/journaling
- Plus one group who used incremental worry exposure
- And another group who used audio visual stimulation/entrainment
After one supervised session with a technician, the participants were instructed to do 12 sessions over a month long period. IE: 3 sessions a week. Standardised tests for worry, anxiety and stress were given before and after the treatment.
The results showed significant improvements for both the worry exposure and audio visual entrainment groups. Interestingly, when the participants were measured 3 months later., the improvements had continued to show a lasting effect. And this is despite the AVE protocol not being used for that post study period unlike the other methods. The AVE group also had the highest compliance of all the groups for following the protocol. And this suggests that the relative ease and enjoyment of AVE contributed to the good results.
“I’ve no doubt that without roXiva I would have struggled – Ned”
It must be said, that no claim of medical or therapeutic benefit is made or guaranteed with brainwave entrainment or audio visual entrainment. But rarely is anyone ever prescribed or encouraged by a doctor to consider meditation either. And this is despite the growing evidence that it can be more effective than a drug at relieving anxiety and stress. I would suggest the same applies to reducing anxiety and stress with light or brainwave entrainment. This is about taking control back into your own hands and searching (as you obviously are to find this website) other ways to enhance your enjoyment and wellbeing.
Naturally there are other tools you can add to BWE and AVE to help with stress relief too. And some of these can be found in other articles on this website such as improving the quality of your sleep.
How to use roXiva as a relaxation lamp to reduce anxiety and stress
So how do you use all this information and technology like the roXiva RX1 audio visual brainwave entrainment device help you?
RoXiva uses a natural function of our brain called the frequency following response. This is where the rhythms of brain activity can be influenced by an external source of stimulation. And this is done by both stroboscopic light and pulsing sounds synchronised with relaxing music. The result quite literally has to be experienced to be fully understood. Anxiety and stress reduction with brainwave entrainment, light and sound can and will improve your mental health if used correctly.
Scientific research on both stressful people and experienced meditators., shows that there are some consistent and significant differences in the patterns of brain activity.
Using this and considerable experience, conclusions can be made and protocols put in place. Sessions can be created that mimic and ‘entrain’ the dominant activity of your brain to be more like that of the calm long term meditators. And over time, this leads to neuroplasticity (adaptability of neural pathways) responses and changes to habitual states of mind. Thus making it easier and easier to be in a relaxed state.
Explore a library of light and sound journeys
The library of relaxation and trance state sessions for roXiva owners and clients will keep you exploring for many months and years.
In essence you have your own meditation coach that takes you consistently and reliably into beneficial states of relaxation both physically and mentally.
Remember though that even with a virtual or literal coach., you can still ignore them.
So the first step in any successful change, is taking the step.
Kind of obvious really.., but easy to forget.
Remember that reducing anxiety and stress with light, entrainment, or any other method., takes persistence!
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