I tried out the new Instagram story feature where followers can ask you questions and was asked,
“What’s one thing that helps with your mental health?”
My answer: using a mood chart.
A mood chart is basically a spreadsheet where I keep track of my mental health and the different factors that influence it.
This is very helpful in noticing trends, and making changes accordingly. (It’s also very helpful for my therapist in making a diagnosis.)
For example, say you’ve been feeling anxious more often lately. If you’ve been keeping a mood chart, you can go back and check the days you marked “anxious” and see how much sleep you got, if you had caffeine those days, etc.
Then you might try altering your sleep schedule and limiting your caffeine intake, and see if that makes a difference in the number of days you mark as “anxious” down the road.
What I Track
Specific things I track in my mood chart are:
- My moods on a scale of high to low, or mixed. I also track days when I feel anxious or irritable
- These don’t have to be exclusive either; I have days where I feel mixed, anxious, and irritable, so in that case I would check all 3 boxes that day)
- Hours of sleep
- My weight
- Therapy or doctors appointments
- Any medications and vitamins I take
- Physical factors like headaches, nausea etc. (I suggest tracking your period if you’re a woman)
- Any external influences like alcohol, caffeine, or exercise
Now of course you can track whatever you want, these are just the things I know affect me.
Mood Chart Template
Personally I keep my spreadsheet as a Google Drive file so I have access to it on all my devices.
I created a template of the mood chart as a Google sheet that you can access if you click that link, or the link titled “Mood Chart Template” below. Feel free to make a copy or download the file to your own computer so it will be private to you, and you can then make any changes you want.
(If you can’t access Google Drive files, please let me know, and I’ll see what I can do to get you a usable template.)
And if you do choose to start using a mood chart, either with my template or by creating your own, I hope you find the process helpful for your mental health.