Mindfulness training for stress reduction and performance enhancement in military population
Uri Gottlieb, Uria Moran, Daniel S. Moran
Background: Military service involves high levels of psychological stress, which might result in dysfunction and disease of military personnel. Different methods were examined in order to decrease stress levels and enhance cognitive abilities. One of the methods used was Mindfulness Training, which is based on meditation and Introspection. The aim of this paper is to review the literature which evaluates the effectiveness of mindfulness training on different cognitive abilities among healthy, active-duty soldiers.
Method: The search was performed in PubMed and Google Scholar databases for articles published between January, 2000 and May, 2016. The keywords 'mindfulness' with 'military', 'army' or 'soldier' were used. Only articles describing research conducted on healthy, active-duty soldiers was included.
Results: Seven studies that met the inclusion criteria were included in this review. The studies dealt with resilience, psychological stress, memory, cognitive functions, and adaptation to military service.
Conclusion: Long-term mindfulness training which lasted 8 weeks and included group training and persistent self-practice were found to reduce stress and enhance cognitive function during stressful times, and to promote recovery from acute stressful events. An intervention of Mindfulness training of less than eight weeks was not effective in reducing acute stress.
Keywords: Mindfulness, stress, army, military, soldier