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Impact of Positive Emotions Enhancement on Physiological Processes and Psychological Functioning in Military Pilots

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Conference paper

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Despite of militarys captivation with high technologies systems, human performance remains the keystone of successful military operations. Cognitive enhancing-drugs strategies has been developed to improve the normal span of human abilities for completing mission essential tasks. A combination of certain attitudes and behaviours constituting a more natural approach based on physical training, sleep rest strategies, or dietary and nutritional strategies has also been proposed. Research exploring the impact of emotions regulation on physiological processes and cognitive functioning are relatively scarce as studies has primarily focused on improving health and well-being by reducing negative emotions. The capacity to self-generate positive emotional states, however, can be developed and refined through the use of practical tools and techniques enhancing quickly shift to a physiologically quiet state by increasing parasympathetic flexibility, which is known to reflect an adaptive response to environment. The French Army has developed a practical tool using different techniques in order to improve regulation of emotions before, during and after actions. This psychological training is called Technique dOptimisation des Performances TOP. The Institute of HeartMath has also developed techniques for enhancing heartbrain synchronization Heart Coherence Cardiac Coherence CC, leading to a state of autonomic nervous system balance function that is correlated with improved cognitive function and health-related outcomes. The aim of this study is to evaluate the benefits of the use of these two practical tools for military pilots on conducting operational activities. Methods Three groups of 10 middle-aged pilots were recruited from three different escadrilles to participate in the study. They were assigned by the head-quarters for a 2-month mission in Afghanistan in the following months.

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  • Psychology
  • Anatomy and Physiology

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