How do you feel today? Hopeful, apathetic, angry, anxious, euphoric, or in a neutral or indifferent mood? It’s often said that what isn’t observed or measured can’t be understood or managed. Although it’s true that this reasoning is usually applied to the world of economics and business, it can also be useful in the emotional universe.
Something as simple as writing down how you feel emotionally in a notebook can provide you with really useful information. As a rule, you live tied to so many external stimuli such as obligations, jobs, and technologies, that you barely make contact with what matters most. Indeed, you don’t connect with your psychological garden that’s so often filled with weeds, such as worry, stress, and anxiety.
Having a record of your feelings, emotions, and sensations provides you with an image. It captures what happens in your mind and that, in certain ways, conditions your life. Because the way you feel can alter everything, from your attention focus to the type of decisions you make.
What if you were to start to apply some mood control techniques today so you could have greater control over your internal world?
Your emotions are transitory and can come and go without warning, cause, or clear reason. Keeping a record of them can allow you to detect certain triggers.
Mood tracking techniques
Mood-tracking techniques are tools that allow you to detect how you’re feeling at any given moment. Their goal is to provide you with information about your emotions over a period of time. This allows you to analyze what may be mediating your life, as well as making you aware that your psychological health might be suffering.
As you obtain more data and information, you’ll be able to detect the patterns of your ups and downs. This can be helpful for patients dealing with depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. Furthermore, anyone who wants to get to know themselves a little more and have greater control over their lives can benefit from using these tools.
In recent years, mobile apps have become more relevant in the field of mental health. Consequently, resources geared toward facilitating mood tracking are becoming increasingly popular.
A study conducted by the University of California (USA) claims that these apps are good at collecting and reflecting on data. However, it also states that there’s one aspect that technology can’t reach. It can’t provide the individual with tools to address and self-manage their mental health issues.
Despite this fact, these apps facilitate an increase in emotional self-awareness and proactive interest in psychological well-being. That’s certainly positive.
Why should you care about tracking your mood patterns?
As a rule, we’re all unfamiliar with managing our emotions. Therefore, you lack the terminology to define how you feel. Furthermore, you find it hard to understand why you might experience one emotion and not another. In fact, almost without realizing it, you tend to internalize and neglect your needs, worries, and feelings of discomfort. It’s rather like leaving your dirty laundry in a pile in the corner.
Mood-tracking techniques can help change these realities for the following reasons.
- They allow you to become aware of the internal and external factors that mediate how you feel.
- They make you realize how your mood can affect everything that makes up your life. Sleep, food, productivity, and the way you relate to others all depend on how you feel.
- You can detect patterns that may reveal a psychological disorder. Therefore, they’ll help you realize if you need to ask for specialized help.
- As you record your moods, you’ll find recognize that you need to learn certain coping techniques to deal with these emotional realities.
Research conducted by the University of Bath (UK) suggests that mobile apps for monitoring mood have been found to be especially useful for young people who self-harm. They allow them to have greater control over their emotions and thoughts.
Some find it useful to record how they feel through the use of colors.
Techniques to record your moods
There are multiple mood-tracking techniques. You simply need to find the one that best suits your own needs and particularities. If you’re a member of the younger population you’ll probably feel more motivated to use mobile apps. However, you shouldn’t underestimate the usefulness of a classic resource like writing in a journal of emotions.
Here are some different kinds of mood-tracking techniques:
This is simple, cheap, and effective. Using a notebook and writing in it how you feel on a daily basis is a useful and practical strategy. Ideally, you should record in it, not only how you feel, but also the following:
- Any remarkable events that have happened.
- The thoughts you’ve experienced.
You might find it more practical to use colors to reflect your moods. You can continue to use a notebook. However, in addition to briefly explaining what’s happened each day, you use ‘color circles’ to express your moods. Every day can have several colored circles and each one of them represents an emotional state:
- Black. Stressed, overwhelmed, and in a really negative mood.
- Brown. Restless. There’s something bothering you but you don’t know what.
- Dark yellow. Surprised.
- Light yellow. Inspired, connected with yourself, and creative.
- Orange. Happy and excited.
- Red. Angry.
- Green. Calm.
- Turquoise. Satisfied and feeling at peace.
- Blue. Relaxed.
- Purple. Hopeful, with the feeling that everything will work out.
Mobile apps and mood-tracking techniques
There are numerous mobile apps aimed at users keeping track of their moods. Their designs vary. However, they usually ask you, not only how you feel, but also how you’ve slept, what your diet is like, or what activities you’ve carried out. They’re useful, manageable, and stimulating resources for many people.
We conclude by pointing out once again the usefulness of these techniques. Indeed, thanks to them, you can stop ignoring what you feel and act on what’s happening to you. Also, bear in mind that you shouldn’t hesitate to request specialized help if you feel you need it.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Baikie, Karen & Geerligs, Liesbeth & Wilhelm, Kay. (2011). Expressive writing and positive writing for participants with mood disorders: An online randomized controlled trial. Journal of affective disorders. 136. 310-9. 10.1016/j.jad.2011.11.032.
- Caldeira C, Chen Y, Chan L, Pham V, Chen Y, Zheng K. Mobile apps for mood tracking: an analysis of features and user reviews. AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2018;2017:495-504.
- Grist R, Porter J, Stallard P. Acceptability, Use, and Safety of a Mobile Phone App (BlueIce) for Young People Who Self-Harm: Qualitative Study of Service Users’ Experience. JMIR Ment Health. 2018;5(1):e16. doi:10.2196/mental.8779