Even U.S. Military is Using Positive Psychology, the Science of Optimal Human Functioning

Combat psychology

‘An Army pilot project is teaching soldiers techniques drawn from sports psychology such as visualization and bio-feedback to help deal with stress and other mental consequences of combat.

“People that study human performance the most carefully recognize the connection between the physical and mental elements of success … especially at moments of truth,” said Lt. Col. Greg Burbelo.

Col. Burbelo is director of the Army Center for Enhanced Performance (ACEP), a project developed for Olympic athletes – and previously used by trainers with elite West Point cadets and special forces – and applying them to basic training for Army recruits and on-the-job “professional development” for active-duty soldiers.

“We’ve figured out how to do this for our 4,000 cadets,” said Lt. Col. Carl Ohlson of the U.S. Military Academy. “Now we have to figure out the best way to scale and refine that for the whole Army.”

The center is also piloting the techniques with injured and maimed soldiers as part of the Army’s Warriors in Transition program.

“Even with the best possible physical training, you can’t ignore the psychological piece,” said Col. Burbelo, “We teach soldiers the relationship between thoughts, feelings and perceptions” on the one hand “and performance” on the other. “There is a mind-body connection. … They are interrelated. You can leverage your body to perform better.” ‘

Interestingly, these are the same skills I teach to executives, elite athletes, and high school students – visualization, biofeedback (relaxation response), mental imagery, emotional regulation, mindfulness, attentional control and more.

It’s true, ‘the moment of truth,’ is what it comes down to for all of us, whether it’s in an athletic competition, a business meeting, a romantic relationship, a friendship or combat. To me, the moment of truth is that point at which your emotion mind begins to take over control of your mind and body, and you simply start to react without room for thought, planning or foresight. These kneejerk emotional responses can be useful at times to keep us safe when in danger. More frequently, however, angry outbursts and snippy comments will burn bridges and ruin relationships (in combat, losing your cool can even cost lives).  Great to see the military is starting to train more and more of our troops in these methods (previously they were only training special forces in these methods).

The entire article is here http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jul/23/combat-psychology/print/.

Have a blissful weekend!

Dr. John Schinnerer

Guide To Self, Inc.

Positive Psychology Coach

Danville, CA 94526

Positive Psychology & Resiliency for Job Seekers – Dr. John Schinnerer presents – Video – Leadership Summit Danville CA

Dr. John Schinnerer

Psychologist, Author, Radio Show Host, Entrepreneur

Danville, CA

Why should you care about positive emotions in business?

How do positive emotions help you to be more creative? More productive? More profitable?

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Dr. John Schinnerer is President and Founder of Guide To Self, a company in Danville CA, that focuses on what makes people successful in life. Dr. Schinnerer coaches executives, individuals and groups to their potential using the latest in scientifically proven interventions. Most recently, Dr. John Schinnerer hosted over 200 episodes of Guide To Self Radio, a prime time radio show on positive psychology and emotional management, in the San Francisco Bay Area. He graduated summa cum laude from U.C. Berkeley with a Ph.D. in psychology. He wrote the award-winning book ‘Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide To Managing Emotion and Thought’.

The link to the quick time movie is http://www.jobconnections.org/speaker4.shtml.


John Schinnerer, Ph.D.