Everyone has mood changes throughout the day, but it can be hard to commit to memory exactly what the moods were and the circumstances surrounding them. This is why charting your moods can be an effective tool to further your psychotherapy or other course of treatment.
Here are five great benefits of mood charting:
- It allows you to connect your feelings to what happened during the day. For example, a person may be struggling with a sudden surge of depressive feelings. When examined, it turns out that a minor conflict at work affected him or her deeply, more so than he or she consciously knew.
- Mood charts can help your physician, therapist, or psychiatrist give you a more accurate diagnosis. Mood and anxiety issues are partly defined by how long someone has had the condition. For major depression, a mood chart can help your doctor or therapist better understand the duration and severity of your moods, and how quickly they switch. If your mood swings dramatically over weeks or months, this could be a sign of bipolar. People tend not to remember their mood fluctuations during the day. If you make a point to record how you’re feeling throughout the day, it can help identify and guide an appropriate course of treatment or therapy.
- Charting your mood allows you to see patterns in your life. When your mood changes, what else is going on in your life? Some women are especially sensitive to the mood changes that come before, during, or after menstruation. Other people have extreme moods that coincide with working night shifts or swing shifts. If you notice your mood on Saturday evening drops, it may be due to anxiety about heading to work on Monday.
- It allows you to better understand your triggers. A trigger is an event that brings out a behavioral or emotional feeling. If you have had a miscarriage, you might be overwhelmed with anxiety when going to a baby shower or when you see an infant. Seeing a pregnant woman could be the trigger in this instance.
- Keeping track of your moods can tell you a lot about the timing of your different mood states. Perhaps your chart shows that Sunday evenings are hard, and you recognize that it’s because work has been stressful lately. Some people find themselves reacting strongly to things when it’s near the anniversary of a loved one’s death, even if they don’t consciously acknowledge it.
Charting can be as simple as writing down your moods in a notebook or as high-tech as using a smartphone application to chart and graph your changing feelings. Either way, it doesn’t take long, and the benefits can be many.
If you have tracked your moods, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
© Copyright 2015 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Jenise Harmon, LISW-S, therapist in Columbus, Ohio
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