Pacifica: Remember To Take Care Of Your Soul

Pacifica: Remember To Take Care Of Your Soul

A college students life is full of stress. Use this app to make sure you're taking care of yourself.
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Maintaining emotional well-being while in college can be hard. There are so many things to do; classes, homework, jobs, internships, clubs, meetings, events, socializing—and that's just to name a few. Sometimes even eating becomes something we need to make time for! But how can we make time to make sure our hearts are alright?

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states, 80 percent of college students experience daily stress and 34 percent of college students have felt depressed at some point in the past three months. The Associated Press Survey found that 60 percent of students said stress interfered with their schoolwork.

With finals week on the horizon, stress may seem inevitable. I've had friends tell me they sometimes get so stressed that they feel paralyzed and end up not doing anything for hours. Here are healthier ways to manage your stress that'll hopefully prevent you from becoming overwhelmed.


Through Pacifica I have found an easy and fast way to relieve stress. The tagline is, "daily tools for managing stress, anxiety and depression." This may seem like more than you can add to your busy schedule, but it's really quite simple.

The tools include logging your mood throughout the day, journaling your thoughts, and participating in daily goals. These tools are not meant to be a burden, but to integrate into your life like how opening Facebook and Instagram has become a habit. You just open Pacifica, log your mood and that's all.

There are different levels of moods, so you can log that you are feeling good, bad, OK, great, awful and more. The creators of Pacifica understand that moods and feelings are more complicated than that, so they also have tags you can add when you log your mood. So if you're feeling very bad, you can also say you're feeling anxious, stressed, and lonely.

This helps to pinpoint your feelings and problems more thoroughly and make sure you understand what exactly you are feeling. Sometimes it's hard to really get to the bottom of a negative or positive feeling. You may be feeling down, but you don't know why. Pacifica asks you to go a little deeper and it gives you insight into yourself.

The journaling tool lets you record your thoughts and feelings then walks you through them. It shows you that you are not alone and while your mind may overreact, you can make a positive out of it. The activity titled, "Thinking Traps" makes you think of a time when you were anxious or upset, then you write down everything you felt during that moment. In the second step, you break down what you wrote into facts and negative feelings.

It asks you to highlight anything that you wrote that is a negative feeling that may not be true or is an exaggeration. The final step asks you to replace those negative feeling with advice or positive feedback that you may give a friend in the same situation. It teaches you how to treat yourself better and not be so hard on yourself when something bad happens. All of your journal entries are saved so you can look at them later and reflect when something bad happens again.

The third activity you can participate in is goal setting. There are goals that Pacifica provides you to choose from. They fall under many areas of your life like, family, work, social, romance, health, and destinations. This can challenge you in small ways to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Some challenges include take a nap, go to the gym, write a letter, compliment a stranger, go to a museum, apply for a job, go to work, and more.

The goal I currently need to complete is arriving five minutes late. I am always early, and it makes me really nervous when I'm not. I don't understand how people can be late to classes or to meetings - I'm beginning to think it's impossible for me to be late, but this is a way for me to challenge myself and try something new.

After completing a goal, you get a list of completed goals, so you can always look back and see what you have accomplished. No matter if it's as small as brushing your teeth, or as big as going on a date, it's something to be proud of.

I have had this app for awhile, but they recently added some new social features. You can now join groups, like support groups. The groups are just to let you have a way to connect to others that may feel how you do. You can even start your own group and vent about how hard your classes are and how you're dreading finals week.

Another social feature that was recently added is a community thread. There you can find threads titled relax, health, music, books, stress, and personal stories. These sections give Pacifica users a place to anonymously talk about their thoughts and feelings as well as a place to help others. There you can get advice on how to handle stress or find new music that inspires you. If you become a premium member, you can post about your own experiences and share your favorite movies, videos, and books.

Basically, Pacifica is there for you when you need it. You can use it at your leisure. It's not a commitment that you have to follow, it's something you will want to use. It takes hardly any time, and won't take away from your other responsibilities throughout the day. It just sets some time aside for you to reflect.

So during finals week, take care of yourself. Yes, grades are important. Getting a degree is why we're in college, but if your soul is suffering, maybe it would be good to take a moment and check up on yourself.

One of my friends says that her mom asks her how it is in her heart. It's more than asking how you are. You can't shrug it off with a "good," and push through the sea of stress you're treading through. It requires a moment to stop, think and reflect. That's what Pacifica does. It has helped me a lot with getting my emotions and thoughts in check during stressful times. I'm sure it can help you too.

Cover Image Credit: listhunt.co

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Yes, I Had A Stroke And I'm Only 20

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
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Recently, I read an article on Cosmo that was written by a woman that had a stroke at the ripe old age of 23. For those of you who don't know, that really doesn't happen. Young people don't have strokes. Some do, but it's so incredibly uncommon that it rarely crosses most people's minds. Her piece was really moving, and I related a lot -- because I had a stroke at 20.

It started as a simple headache. I didn't think much of it because I get headaches pretty often. At the time, I worked for my parents, and I texted my mom to tell her that I'd be late to work because of the pain. I had never experienced a headache like that, but I figured it still wasn't something to worry about. I went about my normal routine, and it steadily got worse. It got to the point that I literally threw up from the pain. My mom told me to take some Tylenol, but I couldn't get to our kitchen. I figured that since I was already in the bathroom, I would just take a shower and hope that the hot steam would relax my muscles, and get rid of my headache. So I turned the water on in the shower, and I waited for it to get hot.

At this point, I was sweating. I've never been that warm in my life. My head was still killing me. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, trying to at least cope with the pain. Finally, I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I picked up my phone to call 911, but I couldn't see the screen. I couldn't read anything. I laid down on the floor and tried to swipe from the lock screen to the emergency call screen, but I couldn't even manage that. My fine motor skills were completely gone. My fingers wouldn't cooperate, even though I knew what buttons needed to be pressed. Instead of swiping to the emergency call screen, I threw my phone across the room. "Okay," I thought, "Large muscle groups are working. Small ones are not".

I tried getting up. That also wasn't happening. I was so unstable that I couldn't stay standing. I tried turning off the running water of the shower, but couldn't move the faucet. Eventually, I gave up on trying to move anywhere. "At what point do I just give up and lie on the floor until someone finds me?" That was the point. I ended up lying on the floor for two hours until my dad came home and found me.

During that two hours, I couldn't hear. My ears were roaring, not even ringing. I tried to yell, but I couldn't form a sentence. I was simply stuck, and couldn't do anything about it. I still had no idea what was going on.

When the ambulance finally got there, they put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back. "Are you afraid of needles or anything?" asked one EMT. "Terrified," I responded, and she started an IV without hesitation. To this day, I don't know if that word actually came out of my mouth, but I'm so glad she started the IV. She started pumping pain medicine, but it didn't seem to be doing anything.

We got to the hospital, and the doctors there were going to treat me for a migraine and send me on my merry way. This was obviously not a migraine. When I could finally speak again, they kept asking if I was prone to migraines. "I've never had a migraine in my whole life," I would say. "Do you do any drugs?" they would ask. "No," I repeated over and over. At this point, I was fading in and out of consciousness, probably from the pain or the pain medicine.

At one point, I heard the doctors say that they couldn't handle whatever was wrong with me at our local hospital and that I would need to be flown somewhere. They decided on University of Maryland in Baltimore. My parents asked if I wanted them to wait with me or start driving, so I had them leave.

The helicopter arrived soon after, and I was loaded into it. 45 minutes later, I was in Baltimore. That was the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital two weeks later. I had a drain in my head, a central port, and an IV. I honestly didn't know what had happened to me.

As it turns out, I was born with a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. Blood vessels and arteries are supposed to pass blood to one another smoothly, and mine simply weren't. I basically had a knot of blood vessels in my brain that had swelled and almost burst. There was fluid in my brain that wouldn't drain, which was why my head still hurt so bad. The doctors couldn't see through the blood and fluid to operate, so they were simply monitoring me at that point.

When they could finally see, they went in to embolize my aneurysm and try to kill the AVM. After a successful procedure, my headache was finally starting to subside. It had gone from a 10 on the pain scale (which I don't remember), to a 6 (which was when I had started to be conscious), and then down to a 2.

I went to rehab after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to rehab. There, I learned simple things like how to walk and balance, and we tested my fine motor skills to make sure that I could still play the flute. Rehab was both physically and emotionally difficult. I was constantly exhausted.

I still have a few lingering issues from the whole ordeal. I have a tremor in one hand, and I'm mostly deaf in one ear. I still get headaches sometimes, but that's just my brain getting used to regular blood flow. I sleep a lot and slur my words as I get tired. While I still have a few deficits, I'm lucky to even be alive.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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In The Cross Roads

SEC Football is back!! Cheering for one certain team may not be as easy as it seems to some. I know I am not the only college student stuck in the cross roads!

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If you grew up anywhere in the Bible belt, you know College Football is held on a pedestal. Being affiliated with a certain team can tell you a lot about a person. Whether it be cheering for the number 16 team, or the number one team, these fans would do almost anything to preserve the reputation of their beloved team. Life can get a little strained when you have to choose between two very respected programs.

I will explain:

Growing up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama is almost a privilege. I did not know how much effect the University of Alabama had on the country until recently. The University does not only have a massive amount of alumni within the state, but around the world as well. When I tell someone I'm from T-Town, the first question I usually am asked is if I'm an Alabama football fan.

And the answer is YES.

From my experience, there is a very small population of the crazy people to cheer for another team that lives within Tuscaloosa County. I have been a fan since I could breathe, and I have grown up watching Bama rise from the ashes to the dominate team they are today. My dad instilled a love of football in me that will not be shied away when September rolls around.

Its almost life changing when you get to the age to start looking at colleges. You KNOW that going to that rival college will amount to more conflicts, than good memories. Sometimes you just have to get over that pride, and focus on what is more important.

Once I decided to go to Mississippi State University, the first thing I thought of was football season. In the beginning, I said I would never pick up a cowbell. I didn't care about this team or anything to do with it.

That is not my mindset now!

Having two teams that you care about is hard. Not going to lie. You try to keep to your roots as much as possible, but your school will take up more room in your heart than you expect. I mean come on, we all pay a ton of money to attend this school, so I can guarantee you will always see a cowbell in my hand from now on! My advice is to try and keep a healthy balance!

Make time to watch both teams and keep up with the schedule! In my case, I wear my Crimson during the week and wear my Maroon on Fridays and Saturdays! It's not easy rooting for the underdog, and the alpha. But find your balance and cheer those boys on come Saturday!

Roll Tide and Hail State!!


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