We recently had the absolute pleasure of listening to Dr. Maia Love, one of our most talented and passionate members, at our monthly ‘Presentation Picnic’ event.
Dr. Maia Love is an internationally certified doctor and yoga instructor, with degrees in biology, physics, and athletics. Her passion for the outdoors, wilderness, and client wellness is enriched by elements of physiology, the psyche, neuroscience, mindfulness and emerging evidence. Currently coaching professional clientele in Vancouver, her practice offers enhanced vitality through multi-layered assessment, wellness & prevention, psychotherapy, and executive health. Dr. Love founded and directed the medically accredited talk series BrainTalks at UBC and has received awards for her contributions to the medical community.
Dr. Love focused on her new technique ‘Illumine Future Self’ and how members can utilize it to improve their mental performance.
Professional athletes and gold medalists have known for years that visualization profoundly impacts performance. Improving performance interests everyone – how to have better mental focus, greater physical skill, more creative ideas, financial success, more love or connectedness, and the list of desires goes on. So, how we do this and what is the science behind it?
Studies have shown that a basketball player imagining making a hoop shot over and over again, has the same success as someone actually physically practicing a hoop shot over and over again. Research has revealed that practicing in your mind’s eye first, allows the physical reality of the action to happen with less effort, more ease, and better performance (1). Sometimes, the physical actions become automatic, without thought, and you enter flow state. Visualizing movement actually changes how your brain networks organize, creating more connections between different regions than existed before.
When we imagine events in the future, emotions become heightened, which increases memory mechanisms. Researchers at Harvard have shown that we often create our futures subconsciously based on the experiences of the past (2). However, we don’t have to become trapped by our past. By imagining future events, we can create a “memory” of the future event on which to build our cognitive processes by which we make decisions and perceive opportunity. When we align future daydreams with positive emotion, we shift our perception to see to possibilities and opportunities that we may not have seen before.
We can use the athletic visualization process in other areas of our lives. There are a few key techniques to bring the nervous system “into the zone” to imagine a change in the future, that brings you closer to your dreams. The technique Dr. Maia Love uses, called Illumine Future Self, is a combination of the science of mindfulness, the visualization strategies used by athletes, and the practice of Yoga Nidra which induces a deeper level of consciousness where habit change, behaviour change, and potentially belief change can occur. By re-wiring the brain on this deep level, change in the future becomes more effortless, because there is a new foundation from which the ideas of the brain are operating. Similar to installing a new operating system for your brain, this method offers your brain the chance to respond with agility to a new state of self-belief.
(1) 2017 Blankert and Hamstra. Imagining success: multiple achievement goals and the effectiveness of imagery. In: Basic Appl Soc Psych. Jan 2; 39(1): 60–67.
(2) 2012. Schacter et al. The Future of memory: remembering, imagining, and the brain. In: Neuron. Nov 21 76(4)
Curious about how these techniques could help you?
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