Integrative Health Blog

Mindfulness for Astronauts; Why Not for Landlubbers Too?

Posted by Dr. Charles Gant on Mon, Mar 01, 2021

astronauts use mindfulness

I recently read that NASA is providing Mindfulness Meditation.

Well, if NASA provides this for astronauts, why not for everyone? After all, we are all occasionally exposed to events and unconscious people who “push our buttons,” so why should we not also be prepared for all manner of threats and emergencies just like our astronauts. That is precisely what mindfulness training does. Besides lowering sympathetic fight/flight stress, mindfulness training prepares us for life’s unexpected challenges which might normally push the buttons of unprepared minds and cause us to react unconsciously.

Coping Skills for Space Flight or ANY Life Stressors

The NASA website will provide you with the relevant introductory data. Of course, humans who are in tight quarters for long periods of time in spacecraft will absolutely require mindfulness training. The discovery that one’s reptilian reactivity[1], experienced as thoughts, feelings, and behavioral compulsions, has nothing whatsoever to do with one’s moment to moment experiences or environmental exposures, is essential for “coping” with a spacecraft experience. After all, astronauts are isolated with other testosterone-driven crewmates and reptilian reactivities should be expected. They must be trained to observe those mental aberrations, their thoughts, feelings, and behavioral compulsions, as having nothing whatsoever to do with the here and now experiences encountered in flight. They must instead be trained to observe that such delusional reactions are in fact invented reactions created within, and that mindfulness, a faculty which only homo sapiens are capable of, can differentiate these reactions as fleeting, internal reactivities as having nothing to do with here and now experiences.

Training the Mind to Be Present

Having assessed amassed studies, that is exactly what NASA has figured out. Astronauts may be intellectually superior, but their knowledge has nothing to do with wisdom, an entirely distinct faculty. Astronauts must also develop that faculty of mindfulness, which provides the skill of observing one’s reptilian, primitive reactivities, so that one’s judgement is not clouded. To appreciate the distinction between the reality of the here and now, as opposed to illusory thoughts, feelings, and behavioral compulsions (of the non-existent past and future), is an essential skill that will take us to the stars. We can all contribute to our pioneering spirit and bring mindfulness to our own lives, however mundane. That is what astronauts must do as well, transmute their mental distractions of the past and future into here and now ordinary and potentially mundane experiences, such as long boring spaceflights. Their survival and adaptation to the stressors of life is no different from ours. The benefits of experiencing our lives by living in the present moment has nothing to do with intellectual superiority, race, ethnicity, sexuality, or socioeconomic status. Regardless of social status, whether you are a highly trained astronaut or a landlubber, we can all benefit from mindfulness training.

Find Calm with Mindfulness Meditation

Those who have participated in my Sunday night Mindfulness and Healing Groups have reported that they are relatively less reactive to life’s challenges. In fact, that modulated reactivity is causing participants to react in a kinder and more compassionate way to others. The here and now recognition that problematic people are themselves reacting unconsciously out of their reptilian brain, generates a sense of kindness and compassion for their plight. The tendency to judge others is modulated and the capacity to listen is enhanced. The recognition that I am fallible, that I too have been subject to my brain’s unconscious reptilian reactivities, arouses a sense of kinship with even the most difficult people.

The willingness to live life mindfully is a personal decision that can alleviate anyone’s distracting mental noise which can interfere with the clear perception of happiness. Mindfulness is free and available to everyone, whether you are going to the stars or not.

"Mindfulness and Healing" Guided Group on Sunday Evenings                                  

Date:  Every SUNDAY NIGHT 

Time: 7:00 pm- 8:00  pm   EST

Presenter: Dr. Charles Gant

Join:  At 7 pm, Call 712-770-4340  and enter the access code 566853# (pound) to participate


Dr. Gant functional medicine doctor Wash DCCharles Gant MD, PhD,  is a physician, author and teacher and has practiced Integrative and Functional Medicine for over three decades. He specializes in getting to the root cause of health issues to support healing at the molecular level.  Areas of interest include ADHD, substance use disorders, chronic diseases, metabolic, hormonal and immune disorders, infectious disease, Lyme and co-infections, genetic testing and more. He is an expert in interpretation of functional medicine testing to diagnose precisely what is deficient in each patient, and then replenish those missing, essential items.


[1] Gant C (2020) Awaken Your Godly Brain, Liberty Hill Publishers.

Topics: mindfulness, functional medicine, mind-body