The Creative Morning

Do you know what’s going on in your brain when you first wake up in the morning? Your brain is an electrochemical organ, functioning through electrical activity which we can observe in the form of brainwaves. There are four categories of brainwaves: beta, observable when the brain is actively engaged in a task; theta, a slower-frequency state which can lead to daydreaming; delta, the slowest frequency, seen in deep sleep; and alpha, which falls between beta and theta, and which is the state of your brain in the morning.

Image: Feasibility of fetal EEG recording – Scientific Figure on ResearchGate. Source:

The alpha state isn’t observable just in the morning – it’s also the state that your mind will go into when you take a break from an intense task, or when you deliberately take time out to reflect or to meditate. The brainwave frequency ranges from 9 – 14 cycles per second, and some people refer to the alpha state as a gateway into the subconscious.

Regardless, alpha brainwaves are incredibly beneficial. A 2015 study showed that enhancing alpha waves triggered a surge in creativity among the participants, and generally if you’re in an alpha state, you’re feeling calm and relaxed.

When you wake up in the morning, you’re already in an alpha state. This means that the first half-hour or so of your day is the ideal time to get your creative juices flowing.

You can capitalize on this to boost general creativity, and start your day off in a positive manner. Stay away from your phone during this period – and avoid the snooze button at all costs. Instead, use this time to write a few pages in a personal diary, or read a book, or look at art. Your brain is currently perfectly primed to appreciate and to create – take advantage of it.

The benefits throughout the rest of your workday are multifold. Your stress levels are reduced, and your creativity is enhanced – think of it as a muscle; the more you train it, the stronger it grows. You could find yourself coming up with new, innovative approaches to tasks, and feeling more relaxed and less on-edge – which also enhances productivity. Levels of anxiety and depression are also lowered.

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash

Setting aside this time in the morning to focus entirely on creative tasks has long-term benefits too, as well as the immediate short-term benefits throughout the day. Your general creativity and inventiveness will be boosted, stress and anxiety levels are reduced, and if you’re keeping a diary, the insights you reveal to yourself in alpha state can be largely beneficial to your mental health. 

So stay away from that snooze button, keep your phone in another room, and pull out that art book when you’re enjoying your morning coffee. The positive results could surprise you!