Keeping a daily mood journal has helped me understand and improve the quality of my emotional life – by leaps and bounds. Check out how I keep a mood journal effortlessly.
I started keeping a mood journal, initially, to better understand my mood patterns.
In the past, my moods could change from sunny to cloudy to rainy without warning. In so many ways, emotions ran my life – without my conscious volition. They determined how I experienced my day, and how I related to my work and relationships.
I had no idea what I felt, why I felt it, or when a mood shift might occur.
The Benefits of Keeping a Mood Journal
Keeping a daily mood journal has helped me understand and improve the quality of my emotional life – by leaps and bounds.
These are some of the benefits of keeping a daily mood journal:
1. It helps connect with your feelings.
The act of writing can force you to articulate what you feel, where you feel it in your body, what thoughts go on in your mind, and what events may have triggered it.
2. It helps process your emotions.
Writing without sensor is very therapeutic. It’s like talking to your best friend, except that you don’t have to worry what you say and how it may affect the other person.
3. It helps reset your mood.
It allows you to see whether what your feeling is grounded in reality, or not, and reflect on the various options available to you so you can choose how to respond, consciously.
4. It helps reveal your emotional patterns, triggers, and unresolved emotional issues.
When you understand them and bring awareness to them, they often dissolve into the background without much effort on your part. And they’ll cease to stay on the forefront of life, so you can experience life with a clear and uncontaminated lens.
5. It helps cultivate inner stability and equanimity.
With practice, you can choose to feel good inside no matter what happens outside.
6. It will greatly improve your relationship with yourself and others.
7. It keeps a record of your emotional journey:
what you’ve learned, and how far you’ve traveled. And it keeps a record of the highlights of your life, both inner and outer.
How to Keep a Mood Journal Effortlessly
Keeping a mood journal can be simple, fun and effortless. These are a few tricks I’ve learned over the years:
1. Less is more.
Only write a sentence or two. For example, “I feel excited because…” Write more only when you feel compelled to do so.
2. It’s easy to do something everyday.
This is a simple truth. Keep your journal daily, even if you only write down a word.
3. Keep your journal with you.
If you use a notebook, use a small one so you can carry it with you whenever you go.
4. No shame, no blame.
If you miss your journaling for a couple of days, pick it up again at the moment when you remember.
5. Record strong emotions.
We experience a variety of emotions every day, and you can’t record them all. So record only emotions you feel strongly about, whether they’re positive ones, such as love or joy, or negative ones, such as sadness or anger.
6. Keep it fresh.
Form a habit of recording your mood the moment you feel it. It often acts as a reset button to adjust your mood. When I record a negative feeling on my mood journal, I’m often empowered to change it almost simultaneously.
7. Look back.
Sometimes it’s fun to review your journals – maybe once a week, or once a month. It’s interesting to see your emotional life with some level of detachment, as if you were reading someone else’s journal.
The benefits of keeping a daily mood journal are so great that I highly encourage you to start one, if you haven’t already. If you have, I’d love to hear about your experience and any tips you’re willing to offer.
Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration, by Meera Lee Patel
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, by David D. Burns