Improve Your Mental HealthJudy Seoud

Mood Journaling and How It Can Help You

Mood Journaling and How It Can Help YouA “mood journal” is essentially a record of your mood at different intervals of the day and/or week that you can use to help you identify the circumstances that can trigger your varying emotional states and improve your overall mental well-being.


What is mood journaling?

There are generally two forms of mood journaling:

  • Freestyle: this can be as simple as a daily record of your mood each day and, the factors or events that might have influenced it.
  • Structured: generally in the form of 3-4 columns that prompt you to note important details about each day: the time, the environment, the emotions or feelings you were experiencing, and a course of action you plan to take to help you handle these emotions.

Maintaining a mood journal 

  • Identifying triggers: one of the more obvious purposes of mood journaling is to prompt the writer to identify what external stimuli might have contributed to, or exaggerated, the mood you record, thus you can characterize those “triggers” which initiate or exacerbate undesirable mood shifts. Triggers can be people, words, expressed opinions, situations, or environments which provoke an emotional reaction. This emotional reaction can become exaggerated or intense. Of course, this record will also help you identify those positive triggers which stimulate desirable and pleasant mood changes. This information will help you become more conscious of helpful and unhelpful mood triggers.

Mood journaling and how it can help you

Compiling the information recorded in the mood journal will give you the information you need to plan a program to improve your all-around mood and help keep it stable.

  • Spotting patterns: if you maintain the journal long enough you will probably detect seasonal mood changes. Typically, the onset of the colder months worsens mood, during the subsequent warmer months encourage improvement. For some people, within this broad pattern is a more specific deterioration in mood over the winter holiday season. This may be followed by a distinct improvement once winter is over.
  • Encouraging mindfulness: By committing to keeping a daily mood journal you are actively dedicating part of your day to examining and recording your emotions and mood.
  • Identifying emotions: Many mood journals provide a list of emotions to choose from, which can be a help to those who find it difficult to identify what they are feeling in a moment of intense emotion.  Reviewing a moment once your feelings are less intense helps you gain more insight. If you need help with identifying your emotions, the “feelings wheel” ( ) may help you.
  • Long-term effects: keeping a daily journal will help strengthen your ability to regulate your emotions, and help you better understand yourself. In turn, this can improve your ability to communicate your feelings to those around you.

Here are a few online resources to help you maintain and improve your mood journal.

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