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Last Updated on February 25, 2018

The Magic of Marking down Your Mood Every Day

The Magic of Marking down Your Mood Every Day

Let me ask you a question: what emotions did you experience today? Were you happy? Sad? Frustrated or anxious? Recalling your emotions from the last 24 hours is pretty easy but what about yesterday? Or last Friday? It starts to be a bit hard. What if I’m asking you about last month?

Emotions affect us every minute and every second. When you feel anxious at work, you’re more likely to make mistakes and it’s harder to come up with great ideas. When you’re frustrated for unknown reasons, you lose motivation and would just like to lie on your bed doing nothing. When you’re angry with someone, you unconsciously treat others angrily too. Losing track of emotions means losing track of all these. You’ll never know the reasons and patterns and hence never be to solve the issues and improve the situation.

Emotions should be approached like money

People treat money with so much importance yet they can be so dismissive of their emotions and how they affect them. When we have less money than we’d like, we’ll automatically tune our spending and keep track of where it’s going and how much we have – adapting our spending habits accordingly. In other words, if one doesn’t keep track then there’s no way to tune and improve it.

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This is how emotions should be approached. By putting the same importance on how we feel, acknowledging why we feel a certain way and what’s caused it, we’re able to tune better into identifying and handling emotions in a more positive way.

3 things to mark down every day

Throughout any given day, write down the following:

  1. Your general emotion of the day
  2. The events of the day
  3. The link between your emotion and what happened

You’ll notice your emotions fluctuate on different days. This is completely normal. After all, we’re human and it can be difficult to control what happens to us and how we respond to them so it’s important to give yourself a bit of understanding.

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      Because of this, it’s impossible to always maintain a happy mood so don’t put pressure on yourself to consistently feel positive emotions.

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        Once you start tracking your moods and the events of the day you can start to see the connections between them. Reviewing your emotions means being able to see what exactly makes you happy, anxious or sad. You might not know rainy days make you sullen before. You might not be aware initiating a greeting to your neighbor can make you feel energetic for the rest of the day until you mark all these down.

            You can use excel or mood apps such as Mr Mood which can help you see correlations more clearly. Try it out for a few days but keep it general – try to not rate your mood by the hour as it’s more likely to fluctuate in smaller time frames. Instead rate your overall mood of the day along with the events that occurred.

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            Over time, although fluctuations still exist, you’ll see your mood is boosted overall as you cultivate more positive experiences and curb negative ones once you identify what they are. Previously bad weather made you feel sad, now you still feel a bit sad but you know how to make fun out of it by staying at home doing things you’ve always wanted to do but postponed. Previously you would only be happy when your manager noticed your efforts and recognized you. Now you realize how important recognition is to you after marking down your mood every day. And you’ve decided to recognize yourself whenever you think you’re worth it, even if no one noticed your efforts.

              “If you want to change the visible, first, change the invisible.”

              You’ll find that taking care of your invisible emotions actually means taking care of every aspect of your life. That’s the magic.

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              Brian Lee

              Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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              Published on June 22, 2018

              5 Relaxation Meditation Techniques for When You’re Stressed to the Max

              5 Relaxation Meditation Techniques for When You’re Stressed to the Max

              Saying you’ll avoid stress is like saying you’ll avoid sweets for the rest of your life; unlucky for you, it probably won’t happen. And while that sounds like a losing battle for both the chocoholics and the super stressed out there, it’s not all bad news. Even though stress is something we all get hit with on occasion, and many times when we aren’t expecting it, we’re lucky enough to have a few tools out our disposal to help combat that gripping feeling of helplessness.

              Meditation assists a great deal in battling the daily grind, and while I highly suggest making it a regular practice, not all of us are at that point in our lives. But there are other smaller techniques we can utilize to battle the overwhelming feeling we can often get when the stress is getting the best of us.

              Keep in mind, all of the following can be done on the spot in an instant to help put you in a more relaxed state. It doesn’t hurt to try them out — it could be a game changer in your day. These techniques below will help you achieve relaxation no matter where you may find yourself when stress hits hard.

              1. The 16 second rule

              If you could take just a few seconds to shift gears, would you consider that impossible? That’s a trick question — because it’s not.

              Enter the 16 second rule. Davidji, a well-known meditation expert, broke it down very simply: take 16 seconds, whenever you need it, to reset yourself. Whether you need a moment to calm down, to tone down the anger, or get into the present moment, following this simple process causes a small “pattern interruption”. What’s a pattern interruption? Think of it as a reset button, or saying no when you usually say yes. Anything that causes you to snap out of the pattern you’re in and refocus.

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              Simply breath in for a count of four, hold for a count of four, release for a count of four, and you guessed it, pause for a count of four. Four minor steps at four seconds each, and you’ve got a 16 second reset. Use it whenever you need a moment or feel overwhelmed.

              2. The finger trick

              This trick can also be done absolutely anytime you want; on the subway, at your desk, or even waiting in line for lunch. If your mind is getting the best of you, simply place your thumb on the side of the bottom of your middle finger (closest to the base of the finger) and close your eyes. Then, breath in and out slowly a few times while putting light pressure on the middle finger with your thumb.

              You should feel a slight head-rush or ever-so-small light-headed feeling when following these simple steps. Once you open your eyes, you feel a renewed sense of calm.

              3. Deep breaths

              This is yet another simple exercise that can be done on the spot, anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed with what life’s throwing at you.

              Your eyes can be open or closed, but the idea is to inhale as deep as you possibly can. At first, you’ll probably feel your chest expanding and opening up as you inhale fairly deeply. But if you continue inhaling past that point, make it your mission to slowly expand your stomach with the last bit of that inhale.

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              You might temporarily look like you just ate Chipotle’s largest burrito, but it’ll only last a second. If you can do this for five or ten breaths, you’d be surprised how relaxing it is. Most people, unfortunately, don’t breath deeply enough on a daily basis. It’s time to change that.

              4. Be grateful

              This one is a classic, and for a good reason.

              You need to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, and the best way to do that is to consistently note what you’re grateful for in your life. In order to do that, you have to actively think about the things that support it.

              It can be anything from physical to mental, to intangibles like relationships, family, the work you do, or really just about anything.

              Can’t find three things? You aren’t looking hard enough. I guarantee you that they’re there, and in plenty more numbers than three. The reason we don’t actively take note of what we do have is because we’re so busy comparing our lives and possessions to everyone else, there’s literally no time left to “stock your own shelves”. Social media, my spicy friends, can be the devil.

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              Watch it carefully.

              5. Visualization

              Our brains are super powerful. In fact, scientists are still actively trying to understand our brains; there’s a lot we don’t even know.

              They’re so powerful, it turns out, that we can ultimately create situations and have our bodies respond accordingly, without the situation actually occurring. Confused? Here’s a great example: imagine you have to give a public speech. Before you even get up there to deliver the speech, you already know what happens. Your palms get sweaty, your heart rate increases, you feel weak and nauseated.

              But wait, you haven’t even given the speech yet. Your brain has successfully tricked your body into thinking you’re seconds away from getting in front of that crowd and spewing out your monologue.

              We can see how powerful it actually is. Now it’s time to use the brain’s power to your advantage, but this time in a good way.

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              Close your eyes and put yourself in a situation that you find peaceful. Is it sitting on a porch by the lake? Is it sitting on the beach, overlooking the ocean? Is it on top of a mountain soaking in the incredible valley view?

              Whatever it is, really put yourself there. Feel the breeze. Smell the air, whether it’s tinged with the salty ocean or crisp pine from the forest. Hear the sounds. See the sights. Get into it. You can snap back to reality in a couple minutes, but in the meantime, you’re there — wherever you choose.

              Once you make it back to the actual present moment, you’ll feel more relaxed.

              Go on and be calm

              The bad news is that stress is real and it’s nearly impossible to shed from your life. To try would be fruitless; life is about navigating those moments as they arise.

              The good news is that there’s a multitude of tools at your disposal to help you in the moments where you’re feeling overwhelmed. You just need to be aware of them and realize they’re not hard to implement.

              So the next time you’re feeling like the stress has gotten the best of you, try to use some of the techniques above. Whether it’s one, two, or all five, you’ll feel more relaxed and calm as the day wears on. Besides, knowing that you have the power to reset your day at any time should give you confidence that stress, while rough, is only temporary.

              Featured photo credit: Isabell Winter via unsplash.com

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