It has been said that "morale is a dangerous thing", and there is certainly some truth to this. Maintaining morale is just as important as taking care of basic physical needs. An individual with low morale may lose the will to live, a group with low morale may turn on each other, and a community with low morale could fall apart. Morale must be maintained through entertainment, encouragement, avoidance of diet fatigue, and perhaps most importantly the presence of good leadership.
Boosting morale is easier said than done, fortunately it is also easier than trying to eliminate many of the causes of low morale.
- Leadership - Leadership is perhaps the single greatest source of good morale during bad situations, when people feel that there is someone who knows what they are doing it puts them at ease and helps them to feel less burdened.
- Hope - Hope is another critical factor in morale, when someone has hope that things will get better or that their goals will be achieved, they are far more likely to push onward through difficulty than if they believe all is lost.
- Basic Needs - Having one's basic needs met is extremely important to morale. If they are fed, warm, and have shelter then the burden of immediate survival is removed allowing clearer and more positive thought.
- Entertainment - At the onset of trouble, entertainment is not very important for morale; however, during a long stretch of difficulty such as a the aftermath of some major disaster, boredom can become a serious threat to morale. Keeping people entertained through music, performances, comedy, books, or just about any available means will go a long ways to keeping morale up during long-term survival situations.
- Luxuries - Luxuries, such as chocolate, comfort items, or even electronic devices (like handheld games or movies if they are available), are very effective at boosting morale.
Threats to Morale
There many factors and events that contribute to low morale; being aware of them will help you to avoid them in the future, whether it's during the PAW, a hurricane shelter, or a youth hike that has lasted a little to long.
- Indecision - Indecision is one of the most frustrating and disheartening problems for followers. If the person in charge (whether they want to be or not) is slow to make decisions and does seems indecisive and unsure it will often lead to many other problems and low morale.
- Lack of Hope - when an individual or group feels that the situation at hand is hopeless, they will easilly fall into despair and often give up entirely.