Lessons on Emotional Resilience from the Dartmouth PATH Program
Are you looking for something to do in self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic? How about completing the same training in emotional resilience used by astronauts?
The PATH Program is an online course developed at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, USA. During the pandemic, while a lot of us are locked down, it has been made available free of charge to the general public.
It’s not easy for most astronauts to adapt to living for prolonged periods in space, in a confined space, with limited social contact, surrounded by danger. The authors of the PATH program figured that individuals struggling to cope with the stress of self-isolation during the pandemic might benefit from the same kind of psychological techniques used by NASA to prepare astronauts for a mission. It’s already been tested on researchers stationed in Antarctic, another group facing the stress of isolation in a daunting environment.
Jay Buckley, a professor of medicine at Dartmouth, is one of the creators of the program. As a former NASA astronaut himself, who spent sixteen days in space on the shuttle Columbia, Buckley has first-hand knowledge of these stressors. He recently told The Guardian newspaper:
It’s challenging to be isolated with a small group of people and to not be able to get away. Outer space and your own living room might be drastically different physically, but emotionally the stressors can be the same.