What Is a Mood Tracker?

Young woman smiling and looking at her phone.

Maskot / Getty Images

What Is a Mood Tracker?

A mood tracker is a tool that is used to keep a record of a person's mood at regular intervals. The purpose of this type of tool is to help look for patterns in how moods vary over time and due to different situations and circumstances.

In some cases, a mood tracker can be useful for people with mental health conditions—such as depression and anxiety—to help identify and regulate moods.

Mood trackers can range from the simple (a handwritten journal) to the complex (an online app that collects a range of information) and are available at a variety of price points.

Why It's Important

Mood tracking can be useful for a number of different reasons. For example, it might help you:

  • Identify external and internal triggers that cause mood changes or mood swings.
  • Learn more about how factors such as sleep, diet, and daily activities affect your moods.
  • Develop coping techniques to help deal with negative moods and unwanted behaviors.
  • Spot patterns and better understand shifts in mood.
  • Determine if treatment is helping improve your mood.

Studies have also shown that mood tracker apps can be helpful for reducing harmful behaviors. One study found that a mood tracking app was useful for reducing thoughts of self-harm in adolescents.

Types of Mood Trackers

There are a number of different options that can be useful for tracking your moods. Some of these include:

  • A daily journal: Tracking your mood can be as simple as writing in a daily planner or journal. You might try a DIY journal using a notebook, a calendar-style daily planner, or a bullet journal system. This type of system may also provide the added benefits of keeping a journal.
  • A mood chart: A daily chart that involves checking your mood and noting any external factors that may be related to your mood can also be a quick and convenient way to look for patterns.
  • A visual tracker: If you’d prefer a more visual tool, there are a number of graphic and illustrated options for keeping track of your mood. Mood mandalas, for example, allow you to color in areas of an image with colors that correspond to a mood. Over time, the colors of the image you create allow you to form a picture of your general mood and mood patterns.
  • Mobile apps: A number of different mood tracker tools are available for a variety of mobile devices. Such apps can vary considerably in terms of complexity and price. Some options are free while some others require a subscription. Features often focus on recording mood, feelings of happiness, events related to moods, and daily activities such as sleep and diet.
  • Online programs: There are also websites that feature tools that help people track their moods and emotions.

What to Look For

Choosing the right mood tracker for your needs depends on a variety of factors including your preferences and budget. Here are some features to consider before you use a mood tracker.

Convenience

Look for a mood tracker that is easy to update and maintain. You should be able to quickly access your tracker when you need it and make updates without dealing with a lot of hassle.

If it’s too difficult to keep up with, your less likely to use it often, which can defeat the purpose of tracking your moods.

Personalization

The ability to personalize your mood record can also be helpful. This might range from being able to include notes about things that you think played an important part in causing a certain mood to being able to note feeling mixed moods in a certain moment.

Price

Some mood trackers are available for free, but they may lack all of the features of the pricier options. However, you also don’t want to spend a lot of money on a mood tracker that you later find doesn’t work for you. Consider the price and look for a free trial version before you commit to buying the full-featured premium tool. 

Tracking Options

Keep a record of your mood can be helpful on its own, but it's also essential to connect those moods to external factors that may be affecting your emotions. Look for a mood tracker that allows you to also input information about things such as sleep, diet, exercise, medications, and therapy.

Being able to connect moods to specific interventions can help you better understand what’s working and what isn’t. 

Top Mood Tracker Apps and Websites

Tips for Tracking Your Moods

In addition to choosing a mood tracker that is right for your needs, there are also some things that you can do to make these tools more effective. 

  • Be honest. While it may be tempting to gloss over negative feelings and only record the positive ones, it is important to be as candid as possible. 
  • Track happy moods, too. Sometimes it's easier to remember to track your moods when you're feeling low and ignore your mood tracker when you’re feeling better. But it’s important to get an overall look at your mood patterns, both good and bad. So make a conscious effort to track moods at different times so you fully capture your entire range of moods.
  • Check at regular intervals. One way to ensure you’re capturing mood patterns is to make a note of your mood at regular periods of time throughout the day. For example, you might record your moods in the morning, mid-day, and evening. This can be useful for seeing how your feelings fluctuate over time. If multiple updates per day are too much, a simple daily check-in might be more useful.

Potential Challenges

Of course, a mood tracker is only as useful as you make it. Like many mental health tools, adherence is perhaps the most pressing challenge for many people.

Remember to keep track of your moods on a regular basis isn’t always easy, although apps that allow you to set reminders and notifications can help overcome some of these challenges.

If you are struggling to keep up with your mood tracker, consider setting a daily reminder or notification on your phone.

A Word From Verywell

Mood trackers are one tool that may help you better understand your emotional states and improve your mental well-being. Not only can these tools be useful for determining if mental health interventions are helping with your mood, but they can also help you see how your mood might influence your physical health. For example, you might note that you're less likely to eat healthily or sleep well when you are experiencing feelings of sadness, anxiety, or stress.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Caldeira C, Chen Y, Chan L, Pham V, Chen Y, Zheng K. Mobile apps for mood tracking: an analysis of features and user reviewsAMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2018;2017:495-504.

  2. Grist R, Porter J, Stallard P. Acceptability, use, and safety of a mobile phone app (Blueice) for young people who self-harm: qualitative study of service users’ experience. JMIR Ment Health. 2018;5(1):e16. doi:10.2196/mental.8779