Depression is like nothing else you will experience. You can feel on top of the world one minute and then the next you are sitting in the bathroom floor hiding from the world while you cry your eyes out. There are so many different treatment options that you can feel at a loss. Or you could feel as though you have control over it all and you don’t need help. That is where journaling and tracking your mood come in handy. Not only can you get a good visual of what your moods are doing, but you can also see which treatment places will help you best. Here are some other great reasons why you should track your mood.
Find Your Trigger
Being happy and bouncy one minute and then crying the next, or visa Versa can be a sign of something more serious. When you take the time to journal your mood, you give yourself an outside view of what is going on inside. For example, you want to include what you were doing when your mood changed. Were you listening to music? If so, what song? What were you thinking about? How did your thought process change at that moment? Once you are able to look at right now, you can look back on further. It is like unlocking the door to the wall that you put up for yourself. Find your trigger and then you can face it head-on. The only way to do that is to begin by tracking your moods.
Learn to Control Your Moods
One thing that all of us wish we could do more, is to control our moods. Whether it is anger, depression, or frustration, we all can say that we have expressed emotion that we probably should have slowed down and thought about first. That is the benefit of journaling, especially for depression. It teaches you to grab your emotion before it goes out of control. You can begin to recognize signs that you are sinking. You can start to shift your mood and see where you need to redirect. Your thoughts at the time may seem to be completely rational to you, but then when you look back on them, you can see that maybe you were letting your thoughts control more of your mood than you may have originally thought. If you can journal as you’re going through it, you can learn even more about yourself.
Connect with Who You Are
One of the hardest things about being alive is knowing the person you are without allowing anyone else defines you. Have you looked in the mirror and thought that the person looking back doesn’t feel like the person you truly are? Depression can do this to us. It can change how we see ourselves. By journaling through your depression, which can be rough when you don’t feel like doing anything, you can become more connected with who you are and who you want to be. You pick through the surface that everyone else sees and you are able to find what you really and truly value. Find what makes you happy. Find what you are holding on to that you need to let go.
Redirect Your Goals
One of the best things about tracking your mood is that you can see how your goals are affecting your moods. Your journal is your opportunity to be brutally honest with yourself. You can take a good hard look at what you are doing with your life. You can see where you have gotten off track and how to get back on track. Journaling gives you the power to make positive choices in your life based on the outcome you see playing out before your eyes. You can redirect yourself with ease. You can create a new game plan and have it in front of you. Place goals for the day, for the week, and for the month so that you can see how each action reacts with the next action. It is not only empowering; it is also encouraging as well.
Help Your Therapist/Doctor
One of the very first questions you will face is: “how often do you feel hopeless or lost” How will you answer this question? If you are tracking your moods, not only will you be able to look back and see how many days per week you feel this way, but you can also tell the doctor what it is that makes you feel this way most often. This is a valuable tool for your doctor because they will be able to see where you need help. It might make the difference between what medications you need – if you need any at all. Your doctor will be able to track how the medications that you are on have helped to balance your mood or if they are causing you more harm than good. Your therapist may decide on how to arrange your sessions and how many you will need per week based on the way you track your mood. Journaling is a reliable tool that is individualized to you. It is unique in that no one else will have one like it. Your doctor can use this to create a plan for you as an individual so that you get the best treatment option for your unique situation.
Find a Cycle
Are your moods based on when you menstruate? Are they based on the weather? Are they worse when you get more sleep? Are they worse on the days that you can’t sleep? There could be many factors that affect your mood. What you eat, drink, and do could create a cycle where your mood is upside down. A change in your routine could spin you into a spiral of depression. There are many factors that you could overlook that begin to become an obvious pattern when you start tracking your moods. So sit down and write it out. Find that cycle. Break that cycle. Take control of how you feel.
How to Track Your Mood
This may sound obvious but there are a lot of mistakes that may not be obvious mistakes. First, you don’t need a fancy journal. You don’t have to go spend a ton of money on something that you can’t really afford. All you need is a single place to keep your notes. This can be a spiral, a binder, or even a folder. You can write your mood on anything as long as you keep it all in one place. What you write with doesn’t matter either. You can use a pen, pencils, or even a marker. You don’t want to fuss with keeping up with it? Do it on your tablet or your computer.
Second, you don’t have to actually write anything down. Nope, you can talk to your device and let it keep your notes. You can do either text to talk or a voice journal. As long as you are focusing on what you are feeling and why you think you feel that that way, it doesn’t matter how you keep track of it all. Plus, if you do decide that you want to send it all to your therapist, you can email it to them and they can have it immediately. Its all about what is best for you and your lifestyle.
Third, CONSISTENCY! You simply have to be consistent. That means you need to write in it at least every day. You may find writing two or three times a day helps. It is suggested that you take it with you wherever you go. That way you can jot down quick notes that you want to expand on later. These don’t have to be full sentences, just use keywords to help you remember or get you back on the same train of thought later on. If you decide to go digital, create a file on your phone to help you keep everything in one place. If you only write when you feel good, or when you feel bad, you won’t be able to find the cycle or a pattern to your cycles. Being consistent is the only way to accurately track your moods, find common factors, and be able to recognize when you need to make a change. No one else has to see your journal unless you choose to do so.
Finally, be yourself. Don’t write in a voice you don’t recognize. Don’t use words that you wouldn’t normally use. Simply write how you talk. Be yourself by allowing your voice to come out without worrying about being judged. Say what you want and how you want. When you learn to do that, you are learning to love who you are and change what you don’t love about who you are.
We hope that this article helps you to see how important it is to track your mood. It will help you to make real changes in your life.