In the simplest of terms, mental health can be defined as the emotional, psychological and social well-being of a person. According to the World Health Organization, at least 27% of the adult population in Europe has experienced at least one mental health issue, such as depression and anxiety. Mental health issues can affect the overall quality of life, preventing one from working or establishing meaningful social interactions. This is why keeping a mood journal to record your daily experiences can help you better understand yourself and help improve your mood.
A mood diary is a tool recommended by different experts, including psychologists and cognitive-behavioral therapists, due to its therapeutic effect. Even though many people are accustomed to keeping a traditional, paper-based journal, nowadays there are other options to be considered. A health app, for example, can offer a wide range of advantages. The mood diary PDF version can also be used (exportable) but the digital recording remains the future.
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CareClinic, an excellent mood tracker for people of all ages
CareClinic’s health app makes for the ideal mood tracker, allowing one to identify red flags that could be suggestive of mental health problems (depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, bipolar disorder). By recording your mood with regularity, you will also be able to see behavioral patterns and how different factors affect the way you feel (and when).
From another perspective, the mood diary app allows you to keep track of your life in general. Such apps are not recommended only for people who suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. You can use CareClinic to keep track of positive events in your life, the people you have met and how they made you feel. In time, you will be able to see how things have changed and identified factors that contributed to an optimistic view on life.
Happiness is a subject of interest for a lot of people. With the help of the online diary, you can keep track of your happy moments and notice the things that helped them come into being. Apart from the actual monitoring, you will have the opportunity to increase your awareness of your feelings. The happiness levels can be tracked daily, with a calendar view offering deep insight into your mood.
When tracking happy moments, you will gain perspective on life in general and understand that negative feelings are only temporary (basically, you won’t feel bad forever). Mood tracking represents a useful way of exploring positive feelings and making associations with the things you value, what makes you happy and what doesn’t give a positive vibe. You can use all of this information to counteract negative feelings, improving your mental health in a very effective manner (R).
In a way, you can use mood tracking for prophylactic reasons. First and foremost, keep count of the fact that no mood disorder appears all of a sudden. There are subtle signs at first and, as the condition progresses, they can become worse (in intensity, frequency) or multiply.
By knowing and keeping track of the factors leading to a negative mood, you might be able to avoid them. These can include not only triggers but also specific environments or situations.
It is worth mentioning that avoidance per say is not recommended in case of anxiety, as it will only reinforce the behavior. You should develop long-term coping strategies and facing your fears, as this is a healthy manner to live.
Understanding behavioral patterns and potential triggers
Any psychology expert will tell you that mood tracking is essential for the management of mental health issues, whether we are talking about depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder. A paper journal, as mentioned, can be used for such purposes. However, as you will discover, health apps such as CareClinic offer a much detailed view of your mood, behavioral patterns and potential triggers.
For example, upon recording your mood and thought processes on a daily basis, you will be able to see that certain factors – such as stress, sleep, physical exercise, diet, and water intake – play a definite influence on how you are feeling. Of course, this does not mean that you should rely on the app for medical advice. What you can do is share this data with your doctor and other healthcare professionals, adjusting your treatment/therapy accordingly.
Why keep a mood journal or daily mood diary?
Aside from the obvious benefits, it can help you recognize early warning signs regarding mental health issues (negative behavioral patterns). The CareClinic mood diary will help you see if you often feel sad, depressed or overwhelmed, as these feelings can be indicative of various mood disorders.
We all have moments in which we feel not that great. Weather changes, such as the barometric pressure drops, can influence our mood and cause us to feel terrible. The next day, when the weather is better, we are our old selves again. With the help of the mood diary, we can identify such connections and the activities that might improve our mental health. For example, if the weather is bad outside, you can serve a cup of tea with your best friend. On the other hand, taking a walk in the fresh air of the morning can definitely help with mood improvement (R).
Sharing information with your doctor
Speaking about this, it is worth mentioning that, based on the information you are recording within the application, monthly reports will be generated with regard to your mood and mental health in general. This is one of the major benefits to consider, as both you and your doctor will be able to get a better understanding of any existing issues. You might also discover activities that contribute to mood improvement.
Once your doctor analyzes your mood ratings and factors triggering negative feelings, he/she might be able to recommend the best strategies for improving your mental health. For example, people who suffer from depression or anxiety can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy. Often abbreviated as CBT, this solution can improve not only the mood but also the general well-being, teaching one to adopt a positive outlook on life and become more resilient to stress.
Journaling as a way to deal with emotions & not feel overwhelmed
Journaling can represent an effective way to deal with negative feelings, such as anger, frustration or irritation. You can use the CareClinic health app to write about your feelings and see how these relate to a specific situation. Upon reviewing these entries, you will notice that there are certain triggers leading to these feelings. Moreover, you will develop coping strategies to avoid such situations in the future.
In describing your feelings, you should be as descriptive as you can. Do not settle for just “I am feeling sad” but rather go into detail, trying to identify what made you feel this way and if there are other feelings associated with the sadness (anger, anxiety, frustration etc.). The more detailed your entries will be, the easier it will be to draw conclusions regarding your mood, and the reasons behind negative feelings or mood swings.
Journaling is especially useful in identifying connections between your feelings and intervention solutions that work to improve your mood. You can also identify which behaviors actually trigger positive emotions and draw a self-portrait of your mental health. You can then organize a list with things that help you to feel better, such as meditation, physical exercise or going out with friends.
Writing in a journal offers deep insight, so make sure you give it a try (accurate self-reflection). As you will keep a close check on your mood, you will understand that there are specific behaviors impacting both your feelings and thoughts. In addition, the CareClinic built-in journal can offer emotional support in difficult moments, allowing you to maintain a clear head and not give into depression, anxiety, etc. (R)
You should not hesitate to write in the journal as often as it is possible. Try to be as descriptive as you can be with regard to your feelings. You can share these journal notes with your therapist, noticing your progress and identifying potential solutions for feeling better. The journal can also be used to record the effects of various treatments and therapies, as well as the adverse reactions to various medications (if prescribed any).
Fight depression with the CareClinic Mood Journal
Depression is one of the most common mental health problems in the world, affecting people of various ages, occupations and backgrounds. It can affect the way a person thinks and behaves, interfering with daily living activities and preventing one from enjoying the best quality of life. Depression, however, is a treatable disorder and a mood diary might be one of the most useful tools available.
Using CareClinic’s health app as a mood diary, you can overcome depression and improve the way you feel ever day. By entering each and every symptom you are experiencing into the application, you will be able to see what leads to the depressive state. For example, did you know that menopause presents a higher risk of depression? Trust the application to take you in the right direction, seeing a clear picture of your current state.
Once you have established that you are suffering from a depressive disorder, you can use the application to record recommended treatments or therapies. Just like with the other mood disorders, you might benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques and meditation.
In case of a major depressive disorder, you might be prescribed medication, such as tricyclic or SSRI antidepressants. You can record these as well within the application, setting reminders to ensure the necessary treatment adherence.
Utilizing CareClinic mood journal app, you will never forget to take your medication and, in consequence, you will feel better, overcoming depression and its manifestations.
Identifying a connection between your mood and food
It is no secret that food is often used to bury our feelings. When we are stressed, tired or angry, food seems to offer the perfect relief, making us feel better in an instant. Unfortunately, this is not a healthy solution and, on the long term, it can only reinforce the negative feelings we are experiencing and cause additional health problems, such as heart disease, obesity or diabetes.
With the help of the CareClinic mood diary, you can identify a clear connection between food and your daily mood. If you have become used to relying on food to deal with negative emotions, the application will clearly show it. Once you will see that you are living in a dysfunctional way, it will be easier to make a change and find healthier solutions for dealing with emotions. (R)
Finding a way to go through a hard time
Mood changes can be caused by major life events, such as the death of a loved person, financial difficulties or even positive ones, for instance, getting married or welcoming a child. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you should not neglect those feelings but rather address them in a healthy manner.
You can trust CareClinic’s health app as your mood diary, using it to record how you are feeling about the above-mentioned events and jotting down potential coping strategies. One thing is sure, the application will help you go through those difficult moments and maintain your mental health.
Human beings are quite complicated and the mood can change not only in relation to major life events, but also to everyday situations. The most important thing is that you take the necessary time to examine why your mood has changed and what you can do to feel better.
Applications such as CareClinic guide you through the examination process, allowing you to record effective solutions with regard to managing your emotions. You should not disregard how you are feeling, especially when it comes to strong negative emotions; these can leave you drained of energy and, as exhausted as you will fee, it will be quite difficult to lead a healthy existence.
You might also want to sit down and think really hard about the reasons for which such negative emotions have occurred. Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed at work, struggling with several projects at the same time. Or you feel more tired than usual, as you have a newborn baby to take care of. Once you realize that there is a palpable reason behind your negative feelings, you will be able to work towards improving your mood.
Perhaps one of the major advantages offered is that a mood journal allows you to fight distorted thinking, which is a common cause of mental health issues (and especially of anxiety, depression). You can recognize irrational thoughts which have the tendency to repeat and replace them with healthy thinking. (R)
A comprehensive intervention plan for better mental health
The CareClinic health app allows you to record every piece of information about your mental health, including with regard to your treatment and/or therapies. You can review the treatment plan at any moment and make adjustments in accordance to the recommendations of your doctor/therapist.
When you are recording your daily mood, you should also note the solutions you have pursued to feel better. For example, you can get rid of the blues or improves the manifestations caused by your borderline personality, through cognitive behavioral therapy, stress/anger management, relaxation techniques, music therapy and so on.
For example, if you frequently suffer from stress, you might obtain relief through diaphragmatic breathing. This will help you reduce the body’s fight or flight response, stabilize the mood and no longer feel overwhelmed. You might also use this solution to control your feelings of anger or anxiety. (R)
The mood tracking can be used for individual purposes so that you are able to determine whether your mood swings are a sign of mental health issues or not. If you want, you can share this information with your healthcare professional, so that you understand your mood, potential triggers of depression or anxiety, and the best strategies for adopting a positive outlook. It is your choice but, as a general rule, mental health issues should be addressed by an experienced therapist.
An application that makes mood journaling easy
CareClinic is a free application, available on both iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android, which makes mood tracking incredibly easy. It has a user-friendly interface, allowing for the clear visualization of one’s tracking and offering a multitude of useful features (health journal, comprehensive treatment plan, medication reminder, etc.). The application is continuously improved, in accordance with the user feedback, so that it meets the needs of all people suffering from mental health issues (and not only).
Whether you will use the application on your iPhone or any Android-based smartphone, you will discover that it has the same template. The mood journal app allows you to address mental health issues early on and maintain the best possible quality of life.
As it was previously mentioned, it should never substitute professional medical advice. In the situation you have serious concerns about your mental health and potential mood swings, you should go to the doctor or visit a specialized therapist. Only a trained healthcare professional can determine the best intervention strategies, based on your symptoms and emotional needs.
To get started with tracking your mood, you can sign up to CareClinic by signing up here.