Mindfulness and relaxation training for long duration spaceflight: Evidences from analog environments and military settings

Francesco Pagnini, Deborah Phillips, Katherine Bercovitz, Ellen Langer

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

Abstract

As space missions move from low-earth orbit operations to long duration exploration, the mission's crews will face a different set of experiences and stressors. In order to help prevent the development of cognitive or behavioral symptoms during these missions it is important to define preventative countermeasures. Recent evidence points to mindfulness and relaxation techniques as promising countermeasures for promoting cognitive and behavioral health. We conducted a narrative review of the scientific literature to identify key factors relevant to the role of mindfulness and relaxation techniques in the military and other analog settings, which share some important similarities with the space exploration context. Our results indicate that cognitive (non-meditative) mindfulness is an important psychological construct that can help to promote resilience and to reduce stress in analog environments and particularly in the military. While the literature suggests that mindfulness can be promoted through focused interventions, most of the studied interventions to date are based on meditation. While efficacious, meditation-based interventions generally require a significant amount of time for training. Alternative mindfulness approaches have not yet been explored in these settings but have yielded potentially relevant results for space. Relaxation training is a helpful tool to manage stress and to reduce anxiety. In the military, relaxation techniques are sometimes integrated into psychological training before deployment, leading to improved performance and reduced negative emotions. Even with a lack of specific literature about the application of these concepts in space, literature that describes the experiences from analog environments and military contexts as well as other studies on challenging conditions, suggest further exploration of interventions in these areas. © 2019 IAA
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-8
Numero di pagine8
RivistaActa Astronautica
Volume165
DOI
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2019

Keywords

  • space psychology

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