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Family Mental Health Quick Tip – Tracking Your Mood

Tracking Your Mood - Mental Health

If you feel like you’re having more than your share of ups and downs, you may be on to something.  A person’s mood can change many times during the course of a day.  Your kids may see you mad and frustrated when you dropped them off late for school, but see you smiling a few hours later when you join them for lunch in the cafeteria.

What happens in between your mood changes?  Why not take a closer look today?

Tracking Your Mood – What Happens Each Day?

One simple way to track your mood throughout the day is to make a simple chart or take notes in a journal.  As frequently as you can, jot down a note about how you are feeling and why.  What else was going on at that time?  What did you try to change it to something more positive?  Did that mood persist for several hours or most of the day?

When you do this exercise for several days in a row, you may start to notice patterns.  Time of day, repeated stressors, or poor self-care routines may emerge.  You may think you know what’s going on by recalling the day or the week from memory.  But when it’s down on paper, the picture may really clear up.

Your Mood Affects You And Your Family Each Day

This is about more than the way you feel from moment to moment. Your emotional stability affects everyone in your family.  If your mood is distracting you to the point that it disrupts your family life, it’s time to figure out what’s going on.  Awareness can be catchy.  You may even start to notice other family members’ mood patterns once you pay attention to your own.  You may be able to avoid emotional collisions between family members.

Whenever possible, let you and your kids get a little down time and a snack after school.  Try to avoid a long string of errands with them if they (or you) are exhausted.  Observe your own energy cycles during the day.  Take note of your spouse’s and your kids as well.  Encourage your kids to tackle homework and chores in smaller chunks when possible (to avoid a buildup of stress and burnout).

Mood Observations Add Up

All of these little observations can add up.  You can learn how and where to make adjustments so your mood doesn’t get the better of you.  Also, you can see ways to help your family members when they have emotional ups and downs.

You may not need to do this for very long to start seeing a few opportunities for change.  Just one week might tell you a lot.  Pull out an ordinary notebook and keep it with you during the day.  You don’t have to write a novel – just jot down enough to paint the picture.

Tracking Your Mood – Readers, what do you think you’d learn if you did this for a week?

Creative Commons License photo credit: anitakhart

Family Mental Health Quick Tip – Tracking Your Mood

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2010). Family Mental Health Quick Tip – Tracking Your Mood. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 20 Oct 2010
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