I have written a lot lately about my experiences which have helped my memoir take shape over the last month. Today I want to focus on something different that has helped me over the last year. Journaling my daily thoughts and tracking my mood every day.
Journaling my thoughts is a straightforward idea, you write everything that is bothering you, what is good, and where you want to go that day or night. I prefer to journal in the morning, but I would say find a time that works best for you. I have met people that say they journal the end of their day to better understand their thoughts. For me, I prefer to journal in the morning because I can focus my thoughts to better get my day going. It could be five minutes or an hour of journaling. It really is up to you.
The reason that I say journal your thoughts is that this could open up different avenues. Maybe you have a looming essay due that week and you want to know where your thoughts are on the project. Today I used my journal to figure out where I wanted to start my day writing (I decided to dedicate today to only focusing on my writing) and out of that came the idea to write this blog post. It also gave me a map on which chapters in my memoir I wanted to take focus.
I always free-write my journals, with no structure. I handwrite most of my journals, but again find what works for you. I chose the method of handwriting my journals because of my writing, including blogging, happens on my computer. It is nice to get away from the computer for me. I just write my thoughts and I care little about grammar or if I am writing the right way. Just let the ideas flow. It’s a great way to figure out where you are in life.
The second part of this is tracking your current mood. I have used a simple 1-10 scale to track my depression and anxiety. For me, my depression and anxiety are good in the 3-5 range. I can usually function when my levels are in that range. Today I tracked my depression at an eight, due to the fact that this has been a tough week with my depression. I lost almost all of yesterday to depression because my level was a nine. I tracked my anxiety today at a six.
It helps to also chart your progress of your week overall. There are other ways to track as well. In my CBT program, I track both depression and anxiety weekly based on answering questions and assigning a number to each question 1-4. The higher the total after the questionnaire. The one for anxiety is called “Overall Anxiety Severity and Impairment Scale” or (OASIS). The one that I use for depression is called “Overall Depression Severity and Impairment Scale” or (ODSIS). Both are easy to look up and really helpful in tracking the growth of depression and anxiety every week.
I would recommend all of these methods when it comes to tracking thoughts and moods. If you write down your thoughts it gives you the ability to look back on the week and seek changes in the days that follow. Always be honest because journaling is there to help you. Tracking your mood helps you figure out where you are at in the present day and even over the last week.
These are things that have helped me, are there things that have helped you when it comes to tracking your thoughts and moods?
Photo Credit: Ian Schneider