Do you ever feel like you’re the one person in the group who is always depressed?
Or maybe you’ve been feeling like you’re ‘all over the place’, and maybe a little too much for others because you’re feelings are SO big and your mind is non-stop full of ideas and excitement! But then the next week you emotionally crash and all the plans you had made last week are now feeling like way too much to keep up with…
It can be really easy to slip into self-doubt, wondering if you are getting better in managing your moods, or have a distorted view that you’re always depressed. Those feelings can seem overwhelming, leading to emotions of helplessness and a hopeless view of the future.
This is why many doctors will recommend to their patients, of approximately 5 million— just in the United States today diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, many more with similar disorders like Borderline Personality Disorder & ADHD, to track their moods using printable journal pages or an app on their phone.
Workbooks like ‘The Bipolar Workbook‘, teach how to use mood tracking journal pages, and how to identify behavioral signs that your moods are going up, or when they’re heading down, and how to develop healthy coping habits for preventing a rock-bottom drop into depression, or a spike into mania.
A major well-established trigger for significant mood changes is stress. Learning how to manage your stress levels plays a huge role in how your moods swing. Learning from workbooks, reading books about your diagnosis, and monitoring how your moods change can reveal patterns that help you learn how to take more control of how far you swing.
I use an app called ‘Daylio‘. I’ve tried a few different apps (you can review a list of The Best Bipolar Disorder Apps of 2020 here, which includes ‘Daylio’) in the past, but I stuck with Daylio because it felt like the easiest app to keep consistent with, also including all the features I wanted. Best of all, all the features I wanted were included in the free version! The ads are non-intrusive, and it’s really helped me understand how my moods change predictably, and also identifying what triggers me into depression or mania. When I understand what triggers me, I can establish boundaries to protect my mental stability.
“A mood diary is incredibly helpful, and I always encourage people with bipolar disorder to use one. It’s hard when you’re with your doctor to remember what it was like over the last month. On a day-to-day basis, you’re in tune with how you’re doing, and you can take better care of yourself.”– Dr. Adele C. Viguera, MD, a psychiatrist and the director of women’s mental health at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio
Using the Daylio app I learned that a predictable mood pattern I have is a change of seasons. My moods are more easily prone to severe depression during the Winter months, whereas the Summer months are more prone to stability or mania, less often moderate/severe depression. You can see in my screenshots below how my moods changed through December 2020 to this month of June:
You can break down into detail what your day included, including foods, activities, medications or supplements, details about your sleep—all with the intention of reviewing what the common trend is that contributes to mood disruptions, and common triggers to major dips in mood:
All of these can be customized and organized into custom groups, which is great! You can also add notes and a picture to each day if you feel it would be beneficial to record an important note to explain the days overall mood.
I choose to use an app vs a printed journal page, because it makes it easier to remember to do the work to track my mood. My phone reminds me at 11AM each day with a prompt of “how is your mood?” and I can quickly choose one of the icon faces and add details later in the evening.
I hope you find this review helpful! 🙂 If you use this Daylio app and love it too, or if you use a different app, I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below of what has worked for you! Please feel free to share this review with anyone you feel could benefit from the suggestion of tracking moods. Thanks! 💚