What? Why? How?
What is a mood diary / mood tracker / mood journal?
No matter if you call it mood tracker, mood journal or mood diary – it’s the same idea. We’ll just stick to the term “mood diary” here.
A mood diary as a tool to capture one’s mood in a structural way for the purpose of reflection, analyzation and understanding. Just like in a simple diary, you capture thoughts, emotions, feelings and – of course – moods. Since it is done in a structural way, it potentially lets the writer gain more precise insights into thoughts and behavioural patterns. A mood diary creates the foundation for change and taking control of one’s life. It is not just used during therapy of bipolar disorders or depression. It is often also used in coachings and for self-improvement.
To get started, all you need is just a pen & paper and the basic structure (e.g. mood categories/scale). But if you want to take mood tracking to the next level you should take a look at our low-effort mood diary app Moodistory. 🙂
Why create a mood diary?
A mood diary is a great tool to cultivate positivity, gain inner strength and raise awareness about your mood, emotions and feelings. It helps you taking control of your life especially when your world feels to be in chaos. But it is also a very efficient tool when it comes to self-improvement as it allows you to see yourself from a new – more distant – perspective and in this way makes changes in your patterns of thought possible.
If you think about yourself right now – can you answer the following questions:
How were you doing last week, last month or a year ago? What did you do when you were feeling good? What did you do when you didn’t feel good? Is your mood following a pattern? Do you have mood swings? Do you know how long your lows and highs usually last? What were you thinking when you were down?
A mood diary can answer all of these questions in great detail. If you want to know more about the benefits of keeping a mood diary, head over to our blog and check out our “10 reasons why keeping a mood diary is great“.
How much time is needed to create one entry?
This strongly depends on the tool you use to keep your mood diary. Our app Moodistory was designed to keep the effort as low as possible while capturing as many details as possible:
Entering one simple entry will take you about 5 seconds in our app (yes, seconds!). If you are entering an extensive entry, it will take you a little bit more – you just need to tap on icons (e.g. running, shopping, party etc.) that describe your day. No need to write anything down (even though you can do this too)! It’s fast and easy. Of course, you can also create your own icons – this is also just a matter of seconds. Moodistory can also capture your location automatically!
We’ve performed user tests to measure the time to creation. On average, users need 20 seconds to create an entry. So, you just need to spend 20 seconds a day on your mood diary – it’s less time than making a sandwich, less time than brushing your teeth and probably even less time than booting up your favourite video game!
What is your recommendation on the frequency of creating entries?
As a rule of thumb, we recommend to create at least one entry per day.
In general: the more information about your mood is present, the better and more concrete are the insights you will get. Therefore you should ask yourself two questions:
1) What is the best time to answer the question “How are you?”.
This could be for example in the morning or in the evening. In fact, a lot of people prefer to create an entry in the evening just before going to sleep as it is a good time to reflect on the passed day. But since you can create as many entries per day as you would like to, you could also plan to create an entry in the morning and at noon and in the evening. No matter how often you are planning to create entries, we strongly recommend to set up one or multiple reminders, so you will never forget to create an entry.
2) Do you think that your mood changes a lot during the day?
If you answer this question with “yes”, we recommend to create more than 1 entry per day as you will then get a much more detailed picture of the past. You can e.g. set up reminders for every 4 hours.
Another approach is to create an entry every time you feel a shift in your mood. This way it will be much easier to understand why your mood has changed.
Can I create multiple entries per day? How?
Can I edit an entry once it’s created?
Yes, of course. You can change any property of any entry: the date/time, the mood, the list of selected events and the notes.
Just open any entry and tap on the pencil icon that is located on the very top right.
Now tap on the item that you would like to change (e.g. the smile to change the mood). If you want to edit the notes, just scroll down to the notes field and tap on it.
What are events in Moodistory?
Events are anything that you feel are important to you/your mood and that determine your day. They can typically reflect your day-to-day routine and are often referred to as “activity”. If can be anyting like e.g.: the food you had, the sports you did or the fact that you have been to work. You can also think of events as things that you would use as hashtags and feels important to you and your mood.
There are more than 140 predefined events divided into 9 categories in Moodistory that can be fully customized. Meaning you can edit & delete existing events and you can also create completely new events.
How can I create custom/new events?
For your convenience, there are 2 ways to create new events:
1) During the creation of an entry on the event selection screen.
If you search for an event that does not yet exist, you will see a plus shaped icon with the title “Create …” (see screenshot below). Once you tap on this icon, the screen for creating a new event pops up and you just have to complete the form to create a new event.
2) Using the settings menu:
Go to settings (very left button in the navigation bar on the bottom) and tap on “Edit Events List” (see screenshot belw). Then tap on the button “Add New Event” to create a new event.
How can I edit/delete existing events?
Go to settings (very left button in the navigation bar on the bottom) and tap on “Edit Events List”. You will then see the list of all available events in Moodistory.
Now look for the event you want to edit/delete (you can also use the search field on the bottom) and tap on it.
You can now change the name, category and icon of the selected event. Also, if you tap on the minus shaped icon on the top, you can delete this event completely.
Keep in mind that any changes to events will also affect entries that are currently using them. So, for example, if you use “Running” in 10 entries and delete the event, then “Running” will also be deleted from those 10 entries.
If I’m describing what has happened during the day in the notes & thoughts text field, why should I use events at all?
Events are intended to reflect your day-to-day routine in a catchword- or hashtag-like way.
Notes & thoughts are more about specific details about what you did, feel or think – anything that comes to your mind and you would like to remember. While events are one important cornerstone when it comes to analysing your mood, notes are not. That’s why it is crucial that you use events to describe your day-to-day routine so you can then get the most out of the statistics.
How can I backup my data?
You can create a backup of your data using the “Backup Data” button in the settings:
The data backup will generate a file (technically speaking it’s a JSON file) that you can store in your iCloud and import again anytime. The filename contains the date and time of the export so you can easily see which one is the most current one.
If for example, you are switching your iPhone, then first perform the data backup, make sure your iCloud is synced, then install Moodistory on your new iPhone and perform the data restore using “Restore data” in the settings. Moodistory will ask you for a file to restore – so simply select the one from your iCloud which you just have created during data backup.
Where is the data of Moodistory stored?
Simply: On your iPhone, and only on your iPhone. There is no automatic sync into any cloud service. We do not store any of your mood data on any server.
That’s why we say: Your data belongs to you!
Can other apps or websites read data from Moodistory?
No, we do not share any of your mood data with any other app or website.
No one but you has access to your diary. Just like it should be with any other diary.
I sometimes give my phone to friends or family but I don’t want them to read my diary. Can I lock them somehow out of Moodistory?
Yes. Moodistory supports your iPhone’s Face ID / Touch ID / Passcode to restrict access.
Just go into Moodistory’s settings and enable “Touch ID / Code” or “Face ID / Code” (depending on which iPhone you have).
Once enabled, Moodistory will ask for your Face ID / Touch ID / Passcode when opening the app and before anything else is shown on the screen.