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Maintaining a positive mental attitude can be difficult during survival situations. So, when things aren't going your way, it's important to have some go-to methods of boosting your morale. You might take some down time to read a favorite book, play cards, draw or write, or enjoy a tasty snack. These activities help you stay productive, and take your mind off the harsh realities of your situation.
Chewing gum also falls into this morale-boosting category. It provides a burst of flavor, and keeps your mind and jaw muscles occupied. Scientific studies have even shown that chewing gum can significantly reduce anxiety and fatigue and improve your mood. On top of all this, many varieties of chewing gum can improve oral hygiene and keep your breath smelling fresh.
Unfortunately, during a survival scenario, you probably won't be able to stroll into the local grocery store and pick up a package of your favorite minty gum. Outdoorsmen in the past couldn't either, so they learned to make their own chewing gum from the sap of coniferous trees, such as pine, spruce, and fir. This natural gum has a refreshing flavor, and its antiseptic properties can also help keep your mouth healthy.
In the video below, Lonnie of Far North Bushcraft and Survival shows a step-by-step process for making spruce pitch chewing gum. It's a relatively easy process, but you will need some basic tools: two metal cans, a metal strainer, an oven or heat source, foil or parchment paper, and some corn starch (to prevent sticking).
Lonnie also makes an important note: be careful how you chew this gum, as it may stick to your teeth. The last thing you want in a survival situation is to lose a filling or break a crown when no dentist is available. However, with a little caution and an active jaw, this gum can spruce up your breath and keep your spirits high.