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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.