One of the best ways to avoid a full-blown depressive or manic episode is to catch any mood swings early before they are out of control. You can do this by simply maintaining a mood chart. The following post includes how to chart them yourself, but it also includes many pre-made mood trackers you can download and use instead.
- Decide where you want to record your moods – on a calendar, in a spiral notebook, in a journal, on your computer, on an audio cassette you make notes from later. Any system is fine so long as you use one method consistently.
- Pick a charting method you think suits you. This can range from simply listing a few descriptive words on a calendar to scoring a mood inventory.
- Select the frequency at which you would like to record your moods. If you have long slow cycles, weekly will suffice. If you struggle with rapid cycling bipolar disorder, you will want to do so on a daily basis.
- Consider setting a specific time at which to record your feelings. This will help you to remember to do so as well as provide some consistency. Rapid cyclers may want to do so more than once a day.
- Record your moods daily or weekly. If you miss a day, try to fill it in as soon as possible.
- Note anything significant that may have affected your mood. This could include the amount of sleep, a cold, an argument, a rainy day … and over time, look for patterns that indicate personal triggers.
- Keep all of your results together.
- Periodically review your charts to note any trends or moods swings.
- Share these with your psychiatrist. This will allow him to have a better understanding of how you are really doing and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment.
- Notify your doctor of any sudden or marked changes in your moods. Early intervention can often nip an episode in the bud!
- If you are comfortable with it, you may want to ask a loved one to keep a mood chart for you as well. This will provide another perspective and allow your loved one to feel more involved and helpful.
- Don’t punish yourself if you miss charting a day when you are depressed. Instead, note it as a symptom of your depression.
What You Need:
- Notebook, calendar, etc.
There are several software programs out there that can help you track your moods. There are also MS Excel, MS Word, or PDF templates that allow you to chart your moods.
We have linked several downloadable templates for your convenience:
- [download id=”758″ format=”1″]
- [download id=”770″ format=”1″]
- [download id=”766″ format=”1″]
- [download id=”768″ format=”1″]
- [download id=”763″ format=”1″]
- [download id=”767″ format=”1″]
- [download id=”769″ format=”1″]
- [download id=”771″ format=”1″]
- [download id=”764″ format=”1″]
- [download id=”765″ format=”1″]
- [download id=”762″ format=”1″]