Moods, we all have them at different degrees- why not chart them! They tell us we are happy, sad, angry, hopeless, or fearful and many others. Moods can be like colours- some colours we don’t understand what they are made up of. The trick is understanding what are moods are telling us. Check out this website. It gives the hidden gifts of each emotion. https://karlamclaren.com/start-here/
If you have charted a bad mood above 4 then it’s something to pay attention to. 1-4 level is normal, you need some anger and fear and others.
By charting it helps you see what exact days you were good or bad. This puts things in context. Also there are various things you can do (activities/jobs/CBT) or take (diet/vitamins) that can rebalance your mood and ways of thinking about things. As thoughts ultimately create chemicals.
As a scientist, you are conducting a project on a patient (yourself). If you start feeling better you may notice that you start under estimating the scale (1-10) of distressed mood. This in itself will help give you a happier perspective. At the end of the month you can draw up a graph by taking the average daily mood and charting the 8 base moods over a 28-31 day period. This will give you valuable information about your fluctuations.
What may have caused these fluctuations, whether different seasons have impact, or how you dealt with specific stresses. If the same stresses come up in the future you can refer to your CBT diary to see if the same solution works, and so on…
An example of January 2020 finished chart. Ready for analysis and graphing.
Triggers are slightly different from mood charting. Mood charting is a general habit and discipline whereby you can also give an over view of state of mind. For example today I was calm and hopeful or bored but safe. Trigger charting is when someone or something triggers you so that your mind goes to a stressful place and your eye starts twitching.
It is important to rate the level of distress of the trigger when it happens (1-10). You then buy a blank diary (no dates just lined paper) and you write in detail the thing that triggered you and why. Write the entry number on the chart and on the CBT diary with specific dates so that you have an ongoing record. You are having a conservation with yourself.
The funny thing is the person that sorts themselves out and comes up with the right answer isn’t often the therapist it’s you. This is the idea behind CBT become your own therapist.
After you put in the details of the trigger, put down another way of looking at event, add the complexities and decide on a solution or a series of solutions. And write what you’re going to do.
Re-record the level of distress. I have found that the second time after I record the level of distress is much lower than the first. Do you find this to be true? Give it a go,… If not there could be more complexities to the problem or your chemistry could be out and you need things like diet, meds or vitamins/sport.
An example of January 2020 finished chart- ready for analysis and graphing. Any score above 4 is not so good unless its happiness or trust. But overall January wasn’t too bad!!
- Identify situations or conditions in your life that trouble you. …
- Be aware of your emotions, thoughts and attitudes about these problems. …
- Look at whether you have negative or distorted thinking. …
- Re-model negative or distorted thinking.
Here’s an example of prompts for a CBT entry, it’s easier to buy a diary and do it yourself.
When you get into the habit of CBT you are becoming your own therapist and learning to self sooth. Also similar problems that crop up may be able to be dealt with quicker as you may have discovered solutions in your CBT diary after writing and evaluating the stresses. Eventually you may do this automatically. However, always good to have people you trust to talk things through and bounce around ideas.
Problem and details: Write down as much details of the trigger as you can. How it makes you feel, think, behave and why it effects you. Is it always effected you? What else happened and rate your MOOD SCORE in trigger chart.
Write a series of solutions or different ways to view the problem. Is it a real problem or imagined problem. Either way, write down what how you are going to solve it constructively and without harm.
Re-evaluation and mood score
How did the situation or event, act go. What worked, what didn’t. How could you have improved the situation. What are you going to do next time this occurs. Re-rate the mood. Is it lower than before? Or higher? Do you need to rethink solution.