What Is A Mood Tracker ?
A mood tracker is dedicated to recording your daily moods on a consistent basis. At the end of the month, it allows you to get a clear picture of your mood trends throughout the month according to a set color chart.
My very first mood tracker looked like this where I combined 2 months in one page. The lighter color represents low mood and the darker more saturated color represents good mood, with the days with sparkly glitter being those extra good days.
I like to think of it like carrying out an experiment to collect data about your moods experienced in order to organise, process and analyze the information. As a visual person, I like that I can draw conclusions from patterns I see and make informed decisions based on the factors that caused them.
Recording your moods can be as simple as using a notebook for people who enjoy the feel of putting pen to paper or even using a mobile application on your phone. Either way, it doesn’t take long, but it brings many benefits. Other terms for mood tracker include mood chart, mood journal, mood log.
It is suitable for anyone who wishes to know more about themselves and especially useful for those experiencing depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety or any other mental health concern. and can be an effective tool to further professional treatment.
I asked some people why they started tracking their mood, and I resonated so much with everything they said.
“I wanted to see if there was a parallel between my mood swings and stuff going on in my life” - Melina
“It keeps my mood accountable” - Estrella
“So I could look back at it after some time and honestly to just reflect on how my month has been”
“My adrenaline’s crashed and I was desperately trying to track more better days than worse” - Amy
“See how it varied day by day because I honestly felt like I was unmotivated and over it all the time”
“Figure out what triggers certain moods. It helps me connect what happens during the course of my day to the mood I’m in”
“I wanted to see how my mood was changing over time and based on situations around me” - Lavender
“To keep my feelings in check, and a tool to articulate how you feel when you have not words to describe it” - Elodie
I was so happy to know that I wasn’t the only one who tracks my mood because of the benefits it brings me.
My first time using a mood tracker?
I first started tracking my mood in November 2018. It was a pretty low point in my life that I could write chapters about the details. Shall I call it an identity crisis? Or another episode of depression? Fact was that I was unemployed, receiving financial support from my parents and felt so unconfident and lost on what to do with my life. It could take me a few hours just to tell you about the conflicting mish-mash of emotions I felt daily, and it would take many more moons to go through all the struggles I’ve had with negative emotions, feeling down and having bad thoughts in my head over the years.
I matched all the “symptoms of depressions” I had found on Google. Perhaps you can relate to that feeling where “I’m not sure I know who I am anymore”, “What do I really enjoy?”, “What value do I have in society?”, "WHO AM I????". I felt like I had no self confidence and in a strange dilemma of logically knowing that I have a lot to be grateful for, but emotionally unable to conjure up any happiness or gratitude apart from small snippets of joy after an intensive exercise session. Those were the only moments my mind got distracted enough to feel something other than hopelessness and aimlessness in life.
I did my best to be gentle with myself, and allow time for things that would make me happy. Dance practice was a good outlet because it allowed me to express myself through my body and also the release of endorphins made me feel happy after sweating it out. At the same time, I was searching for ways to find more happiness in my life. I craved to feel passion, enthusiasm and excitement for something. I longed to find a way out of the darkness.
When I came across mood trackers in bullet journals on Pinterest and Instagram, I was intrigued. I thought “hmm this looks interesting and creative. I bet I could do this.”
I saved so many pins to my Pinterest board of all the designs I liked and did screenshot after screenshot on my phone.
This was the inspiration I found on Pinterest. Credits to @ptibujo on instagram
This was the excitement I had been looking for. My inner adventurer was excited to do this experiment. I got myself a dotted notebook and drew this tree with hearts as leaves. I was invigorated with curiosity to find out what my tree would look like at the end of the month.
After the first day of excitement, I crashed and had 3 really terrible days. However, I continued on and unknowingly, it gave me something to look forward to everyday as I ended the day by coloring in one of the hearts.
After recording for only 21 days... I had 4 bad days, 5 extremely good days, 2 pretty good days and 10 normal days.
This gave me a huge lightbulb Ah-Ha! moment.
I only felt terrible and dark for 20% of the month ?
And then I also felt extremely high and happy for 20% of the month?
WHAT??!! How could it be ???
I concluded that either of 2 things had happened.
1)I had overdramatized how terrible I felt. Or...
2)Awareness of my mood through tracking actually helped improve it.
Perhaps seeing low mood colors being filled in for a few days in a row gave me the added motivation to do something so that I could add in brighter colors. The desire to create a finished colored art piece at the end of the month worked in some way.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure – Peter Drucker
Drucker means that you can’t know whether or not you are successful unless success is defined and tracked. With a clearly established metric for success, you can quantify progress and adjust your process to produce the desired outcome. Without clear objectives, you’re stuck in a constant state of guessing.
I realized that I had never taken a scientific approach to understand my feelings. I had always been an emotional person and mostly made decisions with my heart more than my head. It always had to “feel right” even though I had to way to qualify why it did or did not. I suppose I mostly let my intuition guide me through life.
If you are feeling lost and stuck like I did. You’re currently in the darkness of despair of struggling with your mental health. Download the Mood Potatoes app here. It’s free and I’ve condensed what works into a 3 step process that takes less than 5 minutes to record your mood and take action towards finding yourself again and even recreating your life. It’s free.
When you’re done with that, remember to join the Mood Trackers Community Facebook Group where we support each other on the recovery journey towards improving and maintaining mental wellness and agency.
Join us as we uplift each other, celebrate your success and be there as a peer. Let's walk together on this journey and track our moods together.