Recording your moods using a mood tracker can have a lot of benefits for many people, regardless of where they are in their life, as we will discover.
What is a Mood Tracker?
A mood tracker is, essentially, a tool that enables you to register your moods at different times throughout the day.
Ideally, you would enter a few moods every day.
It can be a pen-and-paper tool or it can be a digital mood tracker — an app on your smartphone.
When you have enough moods recorded, the tracker then allows you to visualize your mood charts — graphs that show you the bigger picture.
Yet, a mood tracker also allows you to zoom in and see the finer details of your life.
A truly smart mood tracker will allow you to connect these moods with events, emotions, people or places that are associated, linked to these moods. This gives you richer insights into when, where and how your moods were affected by important factors in your life.
What are the differences between Journaling and Mood Tracking?
A mood tracker is, essentially, a kind of journal — but it is more structured, data-driven and brief. Also, entries are usually recorded more often than you would take the time to write in a regular journal. That’s because mood tracking is also super fast! (example: 3 quick taps on your smartphone)
Here is a comparison table between journals and mood trackers:
|📈 Mood Tracker||🖊️ Journal|
|Time to add an entry||Ultra-fast||A few seconds to an hour|
|Length||Very short (just register mood & associated event / thought / emotion)||Short-form to long-form|
|Frequency||More often (a few times a day)||Less often (daily, weekly)|
|Data provided||Great quantitative data||Good qualitative data|
While journaling is recommended for gaining in-depth knowledge and allowing time for deeper and more elaborate reflection, mood tracking records your emotional states along with their trigger events or linked context. You may want to use one or the other — or both tools, for different purposes.
In order to take this decision, let’s see…
What are the Benefits of Mood Tracking?
Although mood tracking is less popular then journaling, the benefits — both direct and indirect — are many. Some mental health professionals actually require or encourage their patients to track their moods in order to manage mood swings, or gauge the effects of their medication.
So here are just 13 benefits of tracking your moods:
1. Identify and manage your triggers
Tracking moods enables you to understand those outside factors that affect your mood regulation. Triggers can be things like people, places, events or thoughts – all of these things can trigger good or bad moods.
💡 IDEA #1: Find out what triggers your bad moods such as anger or sadness. If you are building self esteem, discover what triggers thoughts of low self-esteem. (Where and when do you experience these thoughts? When is your “inner critic” most active?)
💡 IDEA #2: Do a “vibe check” with the people you encounter, to discover those people you feel comfortable or uncomfortable around. Such insights can help you decide to keep some distance from certain people (energy-draining interactions) and see them less frequently, while you decide that some other people are worth of your time!
2. Find your own way to happiness
Yes — a mood tracker helps you find out what makes you happy, whose company you enjoy, where are those places where you feel most calm, serene or happy and fulfilled.
There are people who have chosen to avoid certain places or people altogether, or even break up with romantic partners after their mood charts indicated bad moods, fear, tension, intimidation and other negative emotions around them.
💡 IDEA #3: Discover your Top 5 activities — the things that make you the happiest and uplift your mood consistently.
3. Cultivate awareness — make the unconscious become conscious with your mood tracker
As we have seen, we are often triggered by thoughts, events and people – BUT often times, we are not even aware of it! (it is an unconscious activity). Most people also do not often turn to introspection and ask themselves how they are feeling and why. However, knowing this about you can help you live a more connected, conscious, present and mindful life.
“At least three times every day take a moment to pause, breathe deeply and ask yourself: What is really important to you?
Have the wisdom and the courage to build your entire life around your answers.” – Lee Jampolsky
You will be more in the moment, more observing.
💡 IDEA #4: Three times a day, pause and register your mood, along with the answer to the question: “What is really important to me?”
4. Help with mental health and therapy
If you suffer from psychological conditions such as Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder or Histrionic Personality Disorder — or if you are struggling with anxiety or depression, then some form of mood tracking will probably be recommended by your mental health professional (therapist, counselor, psychiatrist).
Also, if you are taking psychoactive medication as part of your treatment —antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication or sleeping pills — then tracking your moods and emotional states and the effects of the treatment might also be recommended by your healt professional — for at least two weeks after the beginning of a medication cycle, but also throughout the treatment.
💡 IDEA #5: If you are experiencing mood swings, track them, along with their triggers, to discover deeper insights into your mood swings, and ways to manage them.
5. Gain perspective on your life
Know where you’re at — clearly see how you’re doing and how you’ve been doing.
What has worked and what hasn’t?
What ideas can you test?
💡 IDEA #6: If you have a habit (either good or bad), track its impacts on your mood. Examples may include anything from working out at the gym to drinking plenty of water in the morning, keeping a gratitude journal or smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol. Your choice. The tool is flexible enough to allow you to track any of these things.
6. Discover patterns and gain insights
See how your mood evolves throughout your day or your week. Or month. Or year.
One application we can imagine: seeing these shifts and trends can help you manage seasonal affective disorder.
As they say, the first step is proper diagnosis. A mood tracker can help you diagnose and precisely pinpoint what makes you grumpy or unfulfilled. What is your pattern?
According to CNVC – the Center for Nonviolent Communication, we experience those “negative” emotions when our needs are not met, and we experience positive emotions when our needs are met.
Patterns of mood and behavior can help you identify what needs you have in the moment, and due to which frustrated need you are feeling low or angry.
You can also analyze past events for patterns. You can make sense of an entire maze of emotions. Human emotions change all the time, but they do tend to follow patterns — which is why it is a good idea to track them.
You can also understand timing. How are early mornings for you? How’s your energy level in the evenings, after a full day? When do you have the most energy? When are you most productive?
Or, track variables. How will your mood change in the morning — if you implement a personalized morning routine?
If you are a woman, you can also track your menstrual period linked to moon cycles and gain insight on how your moods fluctuate before, during and after the menstrual cycle.
💡 IDEA #7: Decide upon a pattern to track in your life, from the examples above, or make up your own. Where are you struggling? Where do you feel stuck in your life? Perhaps you can start there.
7. It is an act of self-care
You are definitely taking care of yourself when you are becoming more mindful of your moods and needs. You are taking an active part in your self-development and mental health.
Apart from mindfulness, tracking your emotions can also help you have more empathy, more introspection, and it raises your EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient).
In an act of self-care, you can connect to your feelings on a deeper level, to understand and manage yourself better.
💡 IDEA #8: Track how a positive change in your life impacts the quality of your life. Something such as exercising 3 times a week or eating a healthy breakfast or doing push-ups or drinking plenty of water. Perhaps at first, the new habit is met with resistance from your mind (our mind is set to keep us comfortable not to seek growth). But how do things work once you are “on track” with your new habit?
8. Identify your needs
With enough insight and knowledge, you can then find your own way to self-regulation.
What is emotional self-regulation? According to a definition: “Emotional self-regulation refers to a person’s ability to manage their emotions and impulses. It is an important part of overall mental and physical well-being. Emotional self-regulation is a skill that people learn and develop throughout childhood and adolescence and into adulthood. Feeling strong emotions is healthy.” (source)
According to another it is “the ability to respond to the ongoing demands of experience with the range of emotions in a manner that is socially tolerable and sufficiently flexible to permit spontaneous reactions as well as the ability to delay spontaneous reactions as needed. It can also be defined as a set of processes responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and modifying your emotional reactions.” (source)
9. Understand and make sense of your emotions and reactions
When you gain insight into what you feel, you are them more equipped to face your feelings and deal with them.
When you approach your mood shifts with an analytical attitude, you will gain deeper insights.
Also, the Time2Life app generates insights for you to discover even more complex correlations. For example, how a particular set of activities (ex: playing the guitar and getting together with your friends) can raise your mood even after the activities have finished.
10. Improve your relationships
By better understand other people’s actions and triggers, you will be better equiped to respond rather then react to conflict or tension. If someone ever makes you feel perplexed, angered, weird, infuriated or puzzled, you will have a larger awareness from which you can respond.
💡 IDEA #9: If you have a strained relationship or are experiencing times of conflict, track your moods and briefly journal what triggered both of you, what was the cause of your fight, and brainstorm solutions and ways of negotiation.
11. Become more rational
Human beings have an incredible amount of irrational thoughts. Emotions themselves are often irrational.
For example, we become anxious when we think of an upcoming exam, although the exam — in itself — is not threatening!
As Buddha, the stoic philosophers and many thinkers after them have famously agreed: “We are not affected by the events themselves, but by our perception and reaction to these events.” Or as Buddha also put it: “Nobody can insult you without your permission.”
These automatic, unconscious reactions come from irrational thoughts and biased perceptions that we have in relation to life situations.
Tracking moods can help you get rid of your irrationality by first spotting your thoughts and perceptions, and then seeing these for what they are — irrational beliefs.
12. A mood tracker is accessible, easy and cheap — or free
It doesn’t cost you much to start tracking your mood today. Most tools — paper & pen, notebooks or apps are either cheap or free, and readily available.
13. Tracking your physical health
Oftentimes, health issues are also intrinsically linked to your moods.
Let’s take an example: dieting and weight loss. Dieting is a lot about managing your emotions, right? You know many people talk about “emotional eating” and how overeating is actually triggered by certain unconscious emotions?
Well, tracking your emotions while working on your weight loss might prove an excellent idea.
The effects of medicine are also things you might want to track.
💡 IDEA#10: Ask yourself: are there any physical health areas that you want to track? Examples include IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), headaches, fatigue, insomnia, low energy or any symptoms you might be experiencing.
So, what are you waiting for?
As you have seen, there are so many applications of mood tracking. It is your life and I encourage you to customize mood tracking to suit your particular life situation, challenges and objectives.
Did you enjoy the idea of tracking your moods and events to improve an area of your life? Then, the best time to start is now:
Experience Time2Life now
…and find your way to happiness
The benefit with this mood tracker is that you always have it with you in your pocket. It is minimalist, quick & easy. Time2Life enables you to track your moods along with any other variable (emotion, activity, person, event, thought) in just a few seconds. It then enables you to understand and improve these aspects of your life.