Everything I learned from tracking my mood for a year

In 2019 I used a “pixel-a-day” spread in my journal to track my mood. To keep it simple I used five colors/moods total with no more than two moods/colors in one day. Two colors in one day usually meant mood swings occurred.

My moods or options for filling out the pixel grid were a mood for the day to summarize how I felt in general. My scale is great, good, average/usual, meh/difficult, and terrible. I did not have a terrible day all of 2019. To be fair I didn’t have anything terrible happen like deaths or break ups or family dinners. Take what you can get. The difficult days usually ended up being when I was having a difficult time coping with my mental illness symptoms. Sometimes the difficult days had triggers like being sick and sickness had more of an effect on my mood than I realized.

I also set up a pixel-a-day tracker for my chronic fatigue. It tracked my fatigue in a similar fashion with a scale of low, usual, bad, and terrible. (Low being good.) I was surprised to find that higher levels of fatigue did not automatically negatively affect my mood like being sick seemed to. I learned that taking a b12 supplement did make a big difference in my fatigue and possibly in my mood. CBD oil might also help me with mood swings.

So the biggest thing I learned is that bad days are never as bad as they seem when you’re in the middle of them. I thought for sure at the beginning of 2019 I’d end up with at least one terrible horrible no good very bad day (who gets the reference?) but I was wrong. Next is that a little part of me enjoyed tracking my mood and fatigue because I could see how my mood and mental illness symptoms improved through the course of the year with work and medicine as well as what helped my fatigue. Sort of related is that looking back at the graph is a reminder that bad moods and difficult days don’t continue forever and even small things can make it better.

And some days I found myself grudgingly admitting I had a good day, despite something that happened to make me feel bad. There’s research that says the brain remembers bad experiences better than good experiences and I feel this acutely. So for 2020 I’m trying to be… more objective? More open minded about rating my moods and we’ll see if that affects the year overall or not.

Overall the pixel-a-day tracker for a journal is fun and as long as you limit the options it’s quick and easy to do every day.