Mood tracking apps: are they worth it?

Are mood tracking apps worth it?

Keeping a mood journal is an excellent way to monitor your emotions and thoughts. It can be used to discover a relation between your mood and certain situations or behaviours. The way you keep track of your emotions doesn’t really matter, what’s important is that you use a method that works for you. You can write down your mood at certain time intervals, answer a set of questions whenever your mood changes, fill in a form every evening, etc. Some prefer pen and paper, others use mood tracking apps.

I decided to start tracking my mood a few months ago but I am still trying to find the method that works best for me. One of the things I really wanted to try out were mood tracking apps. I downloaded Moodtrack Diary, the most popular mood tracking app in my store region, and used it to actively track my feelings for two weeks. Besides Moodtrack Diary, I also tried out Emoly for a few days.

Mood tracking apps: Emoly and Moodtrack Diary

Moodtrack Diary

Moodtrack Diary is available for iOS and Android. There are two versions of the app: a free and a paid one. The free version is public, meaning that everyone can see your feelings and thoughts. Or you can pay a one-time fee of $0.99 to keep everything private.

Anonymity

The lack of anonymity in the free version annoyed me a bit since I totally didn’t feel comfortable with sharing my thoughts with not only the app maker but also the other users. I did pick an anonymous username, but it didn’t make me feel much more comfortable about the situation. I wrote down all my emotions but often left out the details.

There’s a different view where you can browse all the feelings and thoughts logged by other people. You then also have the option to like other people’s moods or comment on them. Totally unnecessary and even a bit creepy. I had several people liking the fact that I was feeling ‘very sad’, ‘anxious’ or ‘sick’. I wish the developer had put his time in improving the design or in other features such as more detailed statistics.

How it works

First of all, you write down your mood. As you start typing it will show you suggestions, but you can write whatever you want. Afterwards, you choose whether your mood should be public or private (choosing private will ask you to pay a one-time fee of $0.99) and write down a few notes related to the mood. The notes are completely optional and I often left them blank. 

As soon as you add your mood, you’ll have to rate your mood from one to five stars. One star means you were experiencing a negative emotion, five stars means a positive emotion. Once you’re finished with that the mood is added to a graph and a list. The graph shows how your mood is changing, the list shows an overview of all your moods. The bigger it is, the more frequently you have added that emotion.

I wish there were some more options in this process. In addition to notes, I’d also like the option to let me write down keywords related to the mood. For example ‘worked out’, ‘drank tea’, ‘watched a movie’, etc. Then I could try to figure out the relation between certain moods and certain activities. For example, a graph could show me that I feel really happy in 80% of the times I work out. 

Mood tracking apps: Moodtrack Diary

Mood tracking apps: Moodtrack Diary

Will I keep using the app?

It tracks my mood so it does what it’s supposed to do. But both the design and functionality are a bit too messy for me. There’s so much going on visually, yet very little data is presented. There’s also not that much I can do with this data, except looking at it on a timeline. I probably won’t use it again, but I do think it’s one of the better mood tracking apps out there. If you have a method that works fine for you now, don’t bother switching. But if you want to give mood tracking apps a try, I do recommend starting with this one.

Emoly

Emoly is one of the best-designed mood tracking apps out there, which makes me very excited about it! It’s less overwhelming than Moodtrack Diary, the design is cleaner and everything is just way easier to use. The icons used are really nice as well. It would have been my favourite app out there if it hadn’t been so limiting. I can only choose between six emotions: awesome, happy, meh, not good, angry and depressed. I like to be very detailed when it comes to tracking my mood and these six just don’t do the trick to me. I want to be able to write down whatever which emotion I’m experiencing. 

What this app gives me that other apps don’t, is choosing an activity. I can pick I’m feeling awesome, and then afterwards add that I just came back from a date. Unfortunately, this is again very limited with only 12 activities available. It doesn’t bring much to the statistics either and just shows an activity count. The app shows me that I went shopping once this week, but it doesn’t show me which mood I was in while shopping.

If you feel that you need a bit of guidance when tracking your emotions, then Emoly is the best choice for you by far.

Mood tracking apps: Emoly

Mood tracking apps: Emoly

Are mood tracking apps worth it?

This obviously depends on who you are and how you prefer tracking your mood. Some people will love them, others will hate them. Both of the apps I tried feel like an on-the-go solution. It’s very quick to add data, there’s not much useful you can do with them besides writing down your mood and the statistics are too limited to be used for analysis. While they both offer the functionality to write down your thoughts, neither of them offers an easy overview of those thoughts. 

Some people will love this but for me mood tracking apps just not worth it yet. If an app comes out with more and improved functionality I’ll probably give it a try immediately. Until then, I’ll stick with pen and paper and stay away from any more mood tracking apps.

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34 Comments

    1. I think it can be useful for some people because it forces you to write down what’s happening/what happened. Makes you more aware of your emotions. But I’m just not sure if the technology out there is tackling the problem correctly.

  1. For me , I don’t see a value of using it. It would mean, I note what I know already. It doesn’t help finding a solution, it’s just about seeing it written what you should know already. However, probably there are people out there who need analyzing themselves this way.

    But interesting to know what kinda things are out there. I am probably just more classical or vintage 😉

    If you wanna check out, how I feel about things, visit http://www.vintasticworld.com, probably it’s my way of writing moods down 😉

    1. For me, the value is in analyzing why I am feeling a certain way and how it affects my everyday life, rather than just writing down my mood. Unfortunately, these mood tracking apps don’t offer me that. The only thing they let me do is writing down my mood, which isn’t that useful for me personally (but it might be for some other people).

  2. I’d never heard of a mood tracking app before really interesting read, I think that I’ll stick to pen and paper though makes it easier to put detail into how situations made me feel 🙂

  3. I had one for a while. But didn’t like that one too much. there wasn’t much you could do with it. But now I feel like trying it again :). These sound very nice..

  4. Wow interesting. I prefer not to check my mood though…I feel like I would obsess over it instead. I do understand why others would need or enjoy it though.

  5. I can see why mood trackers would be beneficial, especially with regards to mental health and helping to identify triggers etc – but I don’t feel there’s an app which is worth it at the moment and it’s not something I’d personally try. Can see why they’d be useful though! xo

  6. I’d never even heard of Moodles tracking apps before this post! I’d just pay tell $0.99 to keep my feelings private I think 😉 Ree Love30

  7. Well, I’ve never tried a mood track app. I’ve always thought that it would be better to have a small notebook (pocket size) with you and write not only your moods but all the ideas that cross your mind. This also helps improve your creative skills
    Alexandra ~ ArtMandy

    1. I’m actually trying that out next. Tracking my mood in a small notebook sounds really clever. Would probably be nice to read it all again a couple of years from now.

  8. Interestimg concept, but not for me. The public version seems like a simplified facebook. Eg: worked out – angry. Then randoms can like it?!
    Simply writing it on paper is probably the most effective

  9. I’ve been asking myself whether I should get one of those! Thanks for your thoughts – too bad there isn’t a better solution out there yet!

  10. I really tried to find one that was worth it for me but they all seem like more of a pain and like by the time I track my mood accurately, it’ll be lower than when I started. Selfishly glad I’m not the only one having issues with it even when you want to like them.

    1. I had the exact same reaction! The first or second time I gave Moodtrack Diary a try I wasn’t feeling that great, and after trying to figure out the app I felt even worse 😅

  11. Interesting idea.. never heard of mood-monitoring apps but I guess it could be useful to people with mental issues. Except when you are really depressed it’s hard to get the energy even to take a note of your mood… So perhaps there is still room for improvement

  12. mood apps , I don’t know about that one. Why would I need a mood app, when I have my child at home that tells me every second, why do you look like that, or don’t get upset. He is my built in mood meter. The only use I could see for this is to test your mood in certain situations to improve upon them.

  13. Sounds like an interesting concept but I feel like our moods are so easily influenced by so many different things, that the data isn’t.. really pointing at anything in particular. Like I guess I just don’t understand why I would create an entry if I was annoyed that the dishes weren’t done. LOL. I guess if you suspect something is up with your moods, it would be beneficial to create a list of when it goes up or down and then make a note of WHY, so you could look back in your right mind and say whether or not your mood was justified. I don’t know that I’d use this, but It’s good to know it exists just in case!!!