I could use a morale booster today. I just found out I’ll be writing a tax check to the IRS for the sum of all my savings. As bad as that sounds (and feels), I still know that it’s nothing compared to the stress and depression that a survival scenario can dish out.

Merriam-Webster defines morale as, “the mental and emotional condition of an individual or group with regard to the function or tasks at hand.“ It’s easy for morale to be high when you’re on a wilderness trip with your buddies and everything is going great (or when you’re getting a tax refund!). It’s not so easy to keep spirits up when everything starts going wrong. The emotional and psychological stress of an emergency situation can crush morale and leave people hopeless, desperate and downright miserable. Plan ahead for this disheartened condition by including several of these morale boosters in your survival kit.

1. Pictures of family
Small, lightweight, and very valuable (to you), a few snapshots of family, friends, and loved ones remind you of the people you’re trying to reach. Consider making prints on waterproof paper.

2. Candy
Who doesn’t like candy? A handful of hard candy doesn’t take up much room in your survival kit, but it offers some emergency calories and an instant mood boost. Make sure you keep the candy in a waterproof pouch or container so it doesn’t become a soggy mess.

3. Religious Text
Printed pages from your favorite book of faith could be enough to keep your resolve from melting. When dealing with loss, or those “bump in the night” situations, a few words from a spiritually enlightened source can remind you that you’re not in it alone.

4. Keepsakes
Small charms, good luck items, and other sentimental stuff can bolster the emotions and give you something to focus your attention toward. It may not be the lion tooth around the neck of Spartan King Leonidas, but your lucky rabbit’s foot does has some mojo of its own.

5. Plans For The Future
A great help in most situations, thoughts and plans for the future ahead will give you yet another reason to fight for survival. People who were starving have made detailed menus of the first meal they plan to eat. Lost family members have laid great plans for their reunion. It’s all about the reward at the end of the journey, and pushing through the trials along the way.

Tell us what would motivate you in your darkest hour, or how you would maintain morale for yourself and your group.