Mood and Anxiety Chart

How to Track Your Moods

Tracking your anxiety.
Tracking your mood and anxiety can help you gain a clearer picture of your progress.. Photo © Microsoft

If you have been diagnosed with panic disorder, your doctor or therapist may ask you to try to keep track of your symptoms, mood, sleep patterns, and experiences with medications. Keeping track of this information can assist you in managing your condition by providing you and your doctor with a clearer picture of your progress. Tracking your recovery process can also help you maintain success after treatment and prevent a relapse of your symptoms.

What is a Mood and Anxiety Chart?

A mood and anxiety chart is a type of journal or diary used to track fluctuations in your moods and anxiety levels over time. This chart can also be used to keep track of your symptoms, medications, triggers, coping techniques, sleep patterns, major life events or changes, and any additional items that relate to your condition.

This information can then be used to help you and your mental health provider in further understanding patterns in your mood, anxiety, and other symptoms. Additionally, your chart can be used to monitor treatment progress, noting how fluctuations in mood and anxiety are related to changes in medications or use of self-help techniques.

How Can I Get Started?

Charting your mood, anxiety levels, and other symptoms is easy once you create a system that works for you. The following lists some simple guidelines to get you started on tracking your progress:

Mood and anxiety charting can be done in a journal, diary, spiral notebook, or even plain filler paper. Calendars also make great charts, allowing you to simply add a few words for each date. If writing seems tedious to you, you might want to consider talking into a tape recorder or other type of recording device.

Whether speaking into a recorder, typing on your computer, or writing on paper, it is important that you chose a method that will be convenient for you to maintain.

The type and amount of information that is most relevant for you to track can be determined between you and your doctor. A basic mood and anxiety chart will include information on how you were feeling that day. You really only need to write down a few words to capture your mood. For example, you may right down “happy” or “nervous.” Also indicate if your mood changed throughout the day, such as “woke up anxious, but felt calmer in the afternoon.”

Aside from your mood, you should also track your current life events and changes that potentially influenced your mood and anxiety, such as a disagreement at work, preparing for a move, or struggling with financial issues. Other information that may be helpful for you can include charting your sleep patterns, frequency of panic attacks, side effects of medications, or use of relaxation techniques.

Each entry should also include the date, so that you will be able to look back and witness your progress over time.

Now that you have decided how and what you are going to track, you will need set aside time to work on this activity. In order to be the most helpful, tracking must be done on a regular basis. To gradually ease into tracking, try charting your information on a weekly basis. The more information, the better understanding you will have, so try to eventually chart every couple days or daily if you can.

  1. Determine Your Tracking Method
  2. Decide What Information To Track
  3. Start Tracking

Other Considerations

  • If you accidentally skip some days, try to fill it in as soon as you remember. However, if you can’t recall exactly how you were feeling that day, then you are better off keeping those days blank and returning back to your regular schedule.
  • Initially, you may not notice any patterns or interpretations. Another person may be able to see something that you are possibly missing. It can be very helpful to review this information with a therapist or trusted love one.
  • Don’t tuck your charts away and forget about them. Rather, review them every 3 to 4 weeks. Notice if you are experiencing a pattern of increased panic and anxiety, as this can be a sign of a relapse in symptoms.
  • If there is a pattern of worsening symptoms, your doctor or therapist will be able to help you make adjustments to your treatment plan that will assist you in more effectively managing your condition.

Sources:

Burns, D. D. (2008). Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. NY:Avon Books.

Burns, D. D. (2007). When Panic Attacks: The New Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life. NY: Broadway Books.

Greenberger, D. & Padesky, C. (1995). Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think. NY: Guilford Press.

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