If you’re like most people these days, you probably find yourself riding this wild, roller-coaster-like wave called life and experiencing many ups and downs along the way. Especially in the midst of the unfolding COVID-19 crisis – you may find that your once simply unpredictable life has now turned completely upside-down. And this, very understandably, can lead to swings in your mood as you adjust to the ever-changing nature of the ongoing pandemic and, well, life as we know it.
Whatever you are feeling, you are not alone. We’re in this together. And even on our most difficult days, we are each all still valuable vessels of life experience, knowledge, skills and tools, that can be shared with others.
With that mindset I’d like to tell you about the mood tracker app Daylio, and how it has positively impacted my daily life since the quarantine started.
Feeling moody AF?
Recently I found myself experiencing what have been, for me, extreme highs and lows. Some days I feel utterly fantastic, with the utmost joy, gratitude, and optimism about life; other days, I sink into a deep, debilitating despair.
In the first weeks of social distancing, this became more and more apparent as I had more time to be alone with myself. I found myself wondering, ‘Is this normal? Do I have mental health issues that are being ignored?‘. With a history of hereditary mood disorders in my family, I decided not to take this lightly and as a first step, began to look for ways to track my mood.
I hoped that a mood tracker would help to give me insights as to my mood patterns, so that I could find out if my mood behavior matched the symptoms of bipolar disorder, a mental health issue my mother had suffered from.
This is when I came across the mood tracker app Daylio in the Google Play Store.
How does it work?
Daylio is a simple, clean and easy-to-use app, that’s main function is to track your mood based on mini ‘diary’ entries; however I’ve found it to have a lot of other useful benefits and functions.
Tracking your daily mood
Daylio works using a simple input method; once or multiple times throughout the day, you simply open the app and choose your current mood. The moods range from positive to negative on a scale from 1-5, and you have the option to customize the emojis, colors and descriptions. I’ve set mine up like so, as these were the moods I resonated with the most:
These five emojis serve to help summarize a wide range of feelings that I experience at any given time. For me, ‘amazing’ is a state of feeling high on life, totally enthralled in what I am doing or experiencing (which I judge to be positive), a sense of bliss, joy, and gratitude, of losing myself in something that I love. On the other hand, I characterize ‘depressed’ for myself as a state of being stuck; temporarily frozen by fear or despair or sadness.
Ultimately, you can decide how you’d like to label your five main moods depending on what you personally experience.
Tracking the associated activities
Next, after choosing how you’re feeling at any given time throughout the day, you simply browse through a list of predefined activities and select the ones that apply to you right now. Have you been reading the newspaper? Working? Playing with the kids? Cleaning the house? Whatever it is, quickly tag it on this screen and Daylio will start tracking those activities in relation to your mood.
Below you can see what this screen in the app looks like for me. It includes the built-in Daylio-suggested activities (such as friends, movies & tv, good sleep, & shopping) as well as some activities that I have added to the app just for me, based on what I find myself doing (bath, writing, overthinking).
Keeping track of everything
As mentioned, Daylio comes pre-built with a list of common activities for you to select. However, you can customize activities by deleting ones you don’t use, editing them, or adding new ones. The point is to personalize it for you, to keep track of the activities that you do on a daily basis.
If you find yourself water-skiing every day, by all means, add that to your list. Whatever activities are routinely done by you – yoga, gaming, running, meditation, tai chi, swimming, scrolling Facebook, talking on the phone, watching porn, gardening, organizing your stamp collection, visiting Grandma, playing frisbee, etc – everything can be added and kept track of via this app.
Literally everything can be added and kept track of via this app.
Staying balanced by incorporating a wide range of activities
Personally I find Daylio’s suggested activities to be very well-rounded and helpful. They include a wide range of activities, categorized into groups such as Social, Health, and Chores.
In this way, Daylio can help you to become aware if you are doing a lot of activities in one category (e.g. eating healthy & working out), but skipping altogether activities in another (e.g socializing with friends and family). So it can help you to stay ‘balanced’ by incorporating a wide range of activities into your daily life (if you so wish).
The process of selecting your mood and related activities, I’ve found, takes less than 20 seconds; then you’re done. This makes the this mood tracker app extremely easy to use and I have found myself logging my mood and activities about 3-6 times per day. And not to worry; if you forget to make an entry, Daylio will send you a reminder at the end of the day.
Adding notes to mark important details
On every entry, you also have the option to add notes. I use this option to add one-off events or any other details which I judge to be relevant to my mood at that particular time. For example, you might make a note that it’s your birthday, that your partner and you had a fight, or that you started a new job or had a baby. The notes feature allows you to record and keep track of your moods throughout any and all, (minor or major) life events.
Personally I also use the notes section to quickly write down emotional triggers. These are any topic or stimulus which makes us feel uncomfortable or elicits a strong emotional reaction. For example, if you find yourself feeling very sad or angry everytime you hear the word ‘blue’; it can be helpful to keep track of how often that occurs, what the associated activities are, and how you make yourself feel.
(Note: if a trigger is a regularly occurring activity, then it would probably make more sense to add this in the Activities section. For example for me it is ‘overthinking’.)
Setting up goals
One of my favorite features of the Daylio app is that it allows me to set (and therefore helps me to achieve) my daily goals. It works quite simply; you can mark any activity as a goal. The app will keep track of how many days in a row you achieve that goal (your ‘Streak’), remind you to get your goals done each day, and eventually provide you with some stats about your goal completion progress.
Personally I have tried many apps to help me adopt healthy habits every day – and none have been so easy to use or effective as Daylio.
For example, at the moment my ‘quarantine’-time daily goals in Daylio are:
- Eat fresh fruits & veggies
- Get some fresh air
- Read or listen to an audiobook
Everyday, a notification pops up on my screen reminding me to get these done. I don’t always achieve all of my goals each day, and I don’t make myself feel bad about that – this is not about success or failure. In my opinion, simply the intention to do these things, combined with a reminder and app to hold me accountable, increases the likelihood that I will do more activities that I judge to be healthy and good for me.
Here’s an example of the insights the app offers me about my ‘Get some fresh air’ goal:
As you can see from the green and blue circles in the calendar above, I was mostly feeling ‘Good’, and one time ‘Amazing’, every time I went outside and got some fresh air. This goal encourages me to visit my local park, and this simple activity has the power to greatly improve my mood and well-being!
Compiling entries over time
So to recap, to use this mood tracker app, all you need to do is log your mood and activities at least one time per day. Each time you do this, the record will be added to your Entries log. You can view all past entries on the Entries page in the app:
Here you can edit or delete past entries as necessary, and this can serve as a ‘diary’ to look back on your mood over the past days, weeks and months.
Viewing stats and calendar
The real magic of this mood tracker app comes from using it regularly over a long period of time – you will start collecting fascinating data about yourself, insights which can help you to take control of your mood, rather than it controlling you.
With every new entry, Daylio will compile, analyze and display the data (in ways which you can then make meaningful for you) in the Stats and Calendar sections.
The Stats page gives you a detailed overview of all the statistics related to your tracked moods and activities. Here is just a sample of some of the helpful insights you can find on these pages (based on my data in the app):
From the insights above, you can see that:
- Activity Count: My activities with the highest occurrences are moving, eating fresh fruits and veggies, and working. (Looks like my goals are working, eh?)
- Mood Count: Most of the time, I tend to describe my mood as ‘good’.
- Average Monthly Mood: So far I’ve been in a better mood in April, than I was in March.
- Mood Chart: For the past two weeks, my mood has not fluctuated very much, and has stayed pretty consistently good.
- Influence on Mood: Using my phone in bed is associated with a worse average mood (3.0) than when I am not doing that activity (3.8). (Incidentally when my mood dropped to ‘okay’ earlier this week, I was using my phone in bed.)
In the calendar section of the app I can find more information and stats about my moods and activities over time.
In this section I can see:
- Daily moods and average daily mood
- Moods associated with an activity, visualized over time
- Moods associated with a group of activities (such as ‘Social’), over time
- One mood visualized over time
- Advanced stats on each activity or mood, including:
- The frequency of that event
- The longest period I experienced that activity or mood
- Related activities
- Occurrences during the week
There is also a weekly report which you can view at the end of each week.
A note on Daylio premium
In general the Daylio mood tracker app is free; so cost should not prevent you from using the app. I used the free version for about a week or so, until they made me a special offer and I upgraded to premium. I only paid about 11€ for premium for one year, which to me, is totally worth it. With the premium upgrade, I was able to
- better personalize my moods
- add an unlimited number of goals
- remove ads from the app
- probably have access to more statistics, but I am not sure 🙂
All in all, I can definitely recommend the premium version of the app if you are interested in setting daily goals for yourself and tracking your mood in the long term.
Benefits and uses of Daylio
Daylio’s developers designed the app to be versatile, so you can use it to track whatever you like. Using Daylio over time, it can help with:
- Anxiety and stress relief
- Mental, emotional, and physical health
- Depression and overcoming challenges
- Finding out what makes you happy
- Discovering patterns in your mood behavior
- Forming new healthy habits
- Self-awareness and reflection
Check out what YouTuber Eric Wen has to say about using Daylio when he was depressed/in a funk:
Daylio is very highly rated in the Google Play and Apple App stores, with 4.7 and 4.8 out of 5 stars respectively. I think this is a testament to the number of people who have benefited from using the app.
You can use the links below to download and get started with Daylio now:
Embracing the natural ebb and flow of life
No matter whether you are feeling awesome, or battling depression, it’s important to keep in mind: this is not permanent. Moods, circumstances, and well, everything, is changing all the time.
What goes up, must come down, and vice versa. This is not bad news but a blessing – no unpleasant situation, mood, feeling or thought can last.
Rather than getting caught up in, and identifying with, changing circumstances, it can be helpful to take a step back and just watch what is unfolding with curiosity, without judgement.
For me, being able to do just that (not being in a ‘good’ mood all the time), is the ultimate goal.
Don’t forget to breathe, get outside, eat something good for you, move, connect with others, and do whatever else nourishes your body and soul. ❤️
I hope you liked this article about the mood tracker app Daylio! Do you have any experience with this app? Comment below!
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