5 Good Reasons to Chart Your Mood Changes

Person in casual clothes sits cross-legged and writes notes in notebook, thinkingWe all have emotions and moods. Some people have very even temperaments and their moods are mostly stable. Others can go from happy to anxious to depressed to euthymic quite quickly.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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, Depression Topic Expert Contributor

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Cason

    October 19th, 2015 at 8:22 AM

    This is such a great idea. There might be times that you won’t even realize what it is that could have set you off, but if you track it like this then it could give you a better idea of the things that were going on in the day so that you can have a better understanding of what those triggers are.

  • Mickey

    October 19th, 2015 at 3:59 PM

    Just like with any behavior that Soyuz may want to make changes to, a great way to do that is to pay very close attention to that behavior: when you do it, what makes you want to do it, and how often this comes up. I do this with food because I am an overeater who really wants to lose weight. So I am trying the food journal, you know writing down everything that I eat, when, and how I feel when I do. It’s pretty insightful for me actually, even though it takes up a little more of my time than I initially thought that it would. I guess that is part of what self improvement is all about though, being okay with giving that time back to yourself.

  • connor

    October 20th, 2015 at 7:08 AM

    It sure has given my counselor and me some good things to hash out!

  • Ronald

    October 20th, 2015 at 2:42 PM

    Sadly I love my job but my coworkers?

    Not so much

    And I think that they are the root cause of so many of my problems there.

  • cody A

    October 21st, 2015 at 3:55 AM

    I see that by doing things like this it allows you a real opportunity to see yourself ad to get to know yourself better and more thoroughly than you ever have before. It gives you a chance to look in from the outside and to get clues that you may not have ever had the chance to see and understand before this little exercise.

  • Lindall

    October 21st, 2015 at 4:12 PM

    And a chance to make things right that haven’t’ been for you

  • Margo

    October 24th, 2015 at 6:51 AM

    We all have a tendency to think that we remember everything accurately but I think that when you work hard to keep up with it all, write it down and commit to the process we will often find that what we think that we remember has not been all that accurate at all. Good way to keep up with your day so that you have written confirmation of what actually happened when you find that you need it.

  • peace

    October 24th, 2015 at 1:24 PM

    It is an excellent way to get to the bottom of who you are and the things that bother you the most. Sometimes until we see something written down in black and white most of us choose to ignore it. But when it is right there written down, and we know that it was our experience, then it becomes sort of difficult to ignore any longer.

  • Creighton

    October 26th, 2015 at 7:30 AM

    Even though I try not to think about it much there is always more melancholy for me in the summer months, because this is the time of year that my dad became really sick and died. He was my world and I MIss him so much.

  • Leif

    October 27th, 2015 at 10:24 AM

    Likely this is something that you are doing to improve yourself
    then how could it be bad?

  • George-Ann

    January 24th, 2022 at 8:07 AM

    Hello Creighton,
    I have the same issues regarding the death of my mother…she died in March, her birthday was in June and she love, love, loved Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas! I have depression during all these times. I just dread the last 3 months of the year as well as March and June. I try to do things that I know she loved but it is definitely difficult times for me. On top of all that I live up north where there’s little bright sunshine so seasonal affective disorder kicks in from Fall until Spring. I use light therapy and that helps some. I also use distractions, crafting, emergency preparedness, coloring, and other art work. It helps me. YouTube has great step by step tutorials for just about anything you might be interested in doing. Love, hugs, and prayers!

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