Why start a Mood Chart?
1. Mood charting allows us to better connect treatment recommendations with not only a person’s current mood but also where there mood is likely to be heading.
2. Regularly recording moods can increase an individual’s awareness of changes in mood.
3. The mood chart can help an individual understand what factors are causing particular changes in mood.
4. Mood charting can prevent a large mood episode from occurring. By tracking daily moods, a person can react more quickly to mood changes and regain control.
5. Writing down this information each day gives an individual a detailed account of the feelings and occurrences experienced in daily life. This makes it easier for people to relay important information that doctor’s need to determine the best treatment strategies.
What do you write in your Mood Chart?
Here is a list of some components included in standard mood charts:
To bed: What time did you go to bed the night before?
Out of Bed: What time did you wake up the next morning?
Sleep hours: How many total hours of sleep did you get?
Mental Speed -5 to 5: How is your concentration?
Sensitivity 0-5: How irritable are you feeling?
Outlook -5-5: How is your overall view on life at the moment? Are you feeling positive? Are you feeling negative?
Medications: What is the dosage/current medication you are taking?
Daily Notes: What did you do today? Who did you interact with? What were you feeling?
Mood Charting Using a Google Document
We have created a Google Document (a spreadsheet and a form) that includes all of these elements.
Online forms have the advantage that they don’t get lost and they can be shared with your health care providers, if you want.
The link at the end of this section will take you to the document. If you like what you see you will have to have a Google (or Gmail) account to use it. You will need to make a copy of the document and save it in your Google account.
The document has two parts. There is a spreadsheet where the data gets stored. There is also a linked form which includes some text explaining the scales and allows you to enter each day’s ratings.
First, open the document. If you decide to use it you will need to make a copy.
This is what the form looks like that you will use to enter your daily ratings.
Mood Charting Success Stories
A Moment of Reflection
I decided that I was going to start mood charting. I’ve been recommending it to others for so long that it only seemed fair that I do it myself. What I discovered is that it was important to connect the activity of charting to a sense of reflecting on the day. That way filling out the daily entry was a way of achieving a sense of peace and clarity about how things turned out. Peace and clarity. In other words, I needed to make mood charting an activity that was an exercise in mindfulness. If I didn’t do that then filling out the chart seemed like a moment to reflect on failures. And when I did that, I found that I enjoyed taking that moment at the end of the day to write a few notes and reflect on my mood and my sleep.
David’s Mood Mystery
Dr. Forster met with a patient named David that claimed he was “doing better than he should.” He felt that his overall mood was pretty good, but he was also experiencing difficulty with his memory and concentration.
Dr. Forster and David used extensive mood charts David had been keeping. In his mood charts, David tracked his sleep, the quality of sleep , how much he was walking and running in terms of steps, productivity, sensitivity (distress in social situations), and more.
After looking at David’s chart, Dr. Forster noticed that when David had stayed up late, he had talked to a coworker about a problem at work. This problem had caused David a lot of anxiety, and after solving the problem, David had an increased sense of productivity and had a more positive mood. The changes in David’s mood were thus, not related to lack of sleep, but instead a reflection of his increased productivity.
Mood charting gave David a better understanding of his mood. It is a simple and effective way to better get to know how the different aspects of your life are changing the way you feel every day.
Dr. Forster’s video about mood charting with David.