What do you mean by mood tracking and how it can affect our mental health?
In today’s day and age, stressors are lurking around at every single point. That’s why it isn’t uncommon to find yourselves anxious for both professional and personal reasons from time to time. Now, some degree of stress is normal and perhaps even important, as anxiety signals that something critical needs our attention. The issue, however, arises when our response to various pain points in our life becomes exaggerated or takes shape as the focal point of our attention. This constant flux in our mood can be better managed by ‘mood tracking’.
But, what is mood tracking?
Mood tracking is a positive psychology technique to improve mental health, where a person records their mood. This is preferably done at set time intervals, in order to identify patterns in how their mood varies during the course of a day or week.
So, what exactly is the process to be followed?
Mood tracking entails keeping a daily record of your symptoms and the associated triggers. Yeah, it is as simple as that but extremely helpful. For instance, people with anxiety may record their triggers such as travelling to work during rush hours and can avoid situations or develop coping mechanisms to avert panic or anxiety attacks.
There are various ways of tracking one’s mood:
- Mood charts are one such way to provide crucial information about when, where, and how often such moods are experienced and expressed. The chart can be as simple as the one, which tracks your mood scale between 1 to 10 (10 being best, 1 being worst) or a daily chart that provides a space to review actions; sleep (by looking at the time went to bed and time got out of bed, and total hours of sleep); energy levels and moments of dullness.
- You may also consider keeping a journal for tracking, understanding and examining the patterns of emotions you experience, as well as the triggers that cause them. Mood journals may include the date and time (of the event), mood change, external factors and internal.
- There are also web applications that can help track different emotions, correlation of people to mood, correlation aligned to mood and correlation of activities to your mood. To monitor the mood effectively, watch for radical changes, particularly very high swings or very low dips (which may mean you need help to even out your emotional state).
How can mood tracking improve mental health?
Practically everything we think and do is impacted by our mood and this in turn affects not just our stress levels, but also critical decision-making abilities. The term ‘mood’ refers to the number of persistent feelings that accompany our perception and evaluation of incoming stimuli and has a huge influence on the way we react, specifically in the actions we take and the feelings that get created throughout that process. In such a situation, mood tracking can have multiple positive effects on our mental health that include:
- Understanding our moods to help us manage them better.
- Identifying the stress points in our lives, which can help us devise better ways of stress management.
- Alerting us to increasing levels of anxiety and depression, pointing to the fact that we might need professional assistance.
- Guiding us to develop a routine that reduces our stress and negative feelings.
- Improving our decision-making abilities, helping us take well-thought-out and effective steps.
Ladies, mood tracking is extremely simple and can have an extremely positive impact on how you feel on a daily basis!