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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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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A Second Person Has Achieved Long-Term Remission Of The HIV Virus

A second man has had long term remission of the HIV virus.

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Over a decade after the first man, known as the Berlin Patient, was declared HIV-free, another patient may also be cured. Though it's too early for scientists to say for sure, the London Patient has been in a long term remission for around 18 months without the help of medication. Both men were treated with a bone marrow transplant. However, these stem cells carried a rare mutation in the genes that affect the production of the CCR5 protein, which HIV viruses latch onto to enter the cell. The virus cannot latch onto the mutated version of the protein, thus blocking its entry into the cells.

With the transplant of these HIV resistant genes, the body effectively builds a new immune system free of the virus.

After the Berlin Patient went into remission, scientists tried and failed to replicate the cure and were unable to until the London Patient, whose HIV count has reduced into undetectable numbers. While this is extremely helpful, bone marrow transplants are not a viable option to cure all HIV infected people, as it is an extremely risky process and comes with many side effects. Even so, scientists are developing ways to extract bone marrow from HIV infected people, genetically modifying them to produce the same mutations on the CCR5 gene or the inability to express that gene at all, and then replacing it back into the patient so they can still build resistance without the negative effects of a bone marrow transplant. There have also been babies whose genomes have been edited to remove the CCR5 gene, allowing them to grow up resistant to HIV.

This does not eliminate the threat of the HIV virus, however.

There is another strand of the virus, called X4, that uses the CXCR4 protein to enter the cell. Even if the editing of the CCR5 allows immunity against one strand, it is possible for a person to be infected with the X4 strand of the virus. Despite this, immunization against one strand could save a countless number of lives, as well as the vaccine that is currently in the stages of development for HIV. Along with the London Patient, there are 37 other patients who have received bone marrow transplants, six of which from donors without the mutation.

Of these patients, number 19, known as the Dusseldorf Patient, has been off anti-HIV drugs for 4 months. It may not be a complete cure, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

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