I’m sure you’ve seen some sort of mood tracker floating around the web if you’ve been searching about bullet journals. They’re usually those colorful spreads with cute doodles flying around the page. If you want to make one but lack artistic skills, I went around the net to find out the best way to make one.
What is a bullet journal mood tracker? A mood tracker on the bullet journal is a spread where one can track their mood throughout a period of time. It gives an overview of how they felt and gives them a way to process their experiences. Combined with the benefits of a bullet journal, it is an effective way to practice mindfulness.
If you’ve seen them around the web, don’t let the colorful shapes and drawings make you think that it’s just a silly spread that’s like a coloring book. It’s a proven and effective way to monitor your attitude and thought patterns. In addition to how to make a mood tracker, I’ve also included the benefits of doing one.
Introducing The Mood Tracker
One of the first things you’ll encounter, when you search for mood trackers, are the colors.
You might notice your search results looking like a nice hodgepodge of wonderfully colored art, of random scribble of smiling faces and frowning doodles. Don’t let this fool you, this tool is effective.
All the color and doodles are part of the practice of mood tracking. The art coming out is a way to let the user find an outlet and a creative way to express themselves.
Is the art not your style, or maybe your not confident with a pen? It’s okay.
The mood tracker is flexible and always unique to the individual. If you’re like me, who has no artistic skills, then you’re in luck. Starting one doesn’t require art skills or a practiced template.
In fact, many minimalists in the bullet journaling community practice this same exercise.
All you need to remember is to stick to the basics, and whether your artsy or not, you’ll be fine.
Also, the mood tracker isn’t necessarily exclusive to the bullet journal. This can be done independently of it, with a separate piece of paper.
However, you’ll be missing out on the benefits of bullet journaling, and how those advantages can enhance your experience with the mood journal.
If you’re new to bullet journaling, or just stumbled on this article on your search for a mood tracking tool, then let me explain.
A bullet journal is a planner system that prioritizes productivity and mindfulness. It’s a minimalist practice that can be done with any notebook, but more artistically inclined users have used it as an outlet for their creativity as well.
It’s a flexible tool and it’s components greatly vary according to the user.
You can plug and play any collection of your choosing, and as long as it works, there is no wrong.
Its analog nature is something that a lot of people liked as well, finding it a chance to disconnect from social and digital media.
The paper is definitely a refreshing view from the screen of your phone.
The bujo community took advantage of the benefits of both and used the mood tracker in conjunction with the bullet journal. Since then, the mood tracker has been associated with bullet journals and has been a great presence in the online community.
That’s one of the beauties of bullet journaling. Because of its flexible nature, the system can evolve and take different forms depending on the needs of the community.
Benefits Of Tracking Your Mood On A Bullet Journal
One of the core principles of the bullet journal has always been mindfulness.
The original creator of the bullet journal, Ryder Carroll, developed the system during his time in high school and college.
Diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder(ADD), he found it hard to keep up with school work, and his anxieties and stress kept piling up, cluttering his brain.
Since having discovered this system, he claims that it has significantly reduced his stress and helped him keep up. It’s a claim that has been corroborated by the bullet journaling community.
How does it help?
Well, the system offers you plenty of chances to look at your day, week, month, or even year at a glance. You can see what you have in store, or what has transpired, and also what is happening now.
Having this overview and having the benefit of a different perspective often gives you the chance to answer the question, “Was this thing or task worth the time I put in it?”
That simple question lets you take so much control back into your life, it frees up so much time, energy, and emotional investment.
What’s more, is that you have complete control of the notebook. If you need an outlet to unleash your creativity, then have at it, and combine it with a practice that can help you organize as well.
It’s a win-win.
Now the mood tracker came in later.
Separately, the mood tracker has been used to monitor how an individual is feeling. It’s not as simple as having a bad day and writing it on there for a nice looking piece of paper.
It’s something that allows you to take into account how you have felt, and hold it against the week or month and process why you were like that.
It gives you a chance to be more mindful and practice how to improve your mental state.
Simply put, the mood tracker lets you become more aware and accountable for how you feel. It gives you a chance to improve yourself and become a better, well-rounded person.
Combining both will enhance each of their benefits.
As I said, the way that the bullet journal works is by giving you an overview of what you have done during the course of owning the journal.
This is done by rapid logging, it’s a method where you write all that has happened in the day as it happens. It can be anything, like notes, thoughts, ideas, or events.
So, by having a mood tracker in your bullet journal, you can now explore more of the details of what has transpired.
I’ll explain more of it once you’ve learned how to do the actual mood tracker in your bullet journal.
How To Make A Bullet Journal Mood Tracker
Don’t let the works of art going around Pinterest and Instagram intimidate you. The mood tracker can be as simple as you want it to be. After all, most of what we put inside of our bullet journal is a reflection of ourselves.
The best place to start making one is always the basics, here are the steps:
- Decide on how long you want to track your mood
- Take as many blank pages from your journal, proportionate to how long you have decided. This is usually one or two pages depending on how you want to make it.
- Number and label the pages
- Log in into your index
- Make a key by listing down the moods you want to track and assign symbols or letters to them. For example: H = Happy, N = Neutral, S = Sucks.
- Once you have your Key and period of time, make a table with the same number of columns as for how long you have decided. For example, If you’ve chosen a week, then make a table with 7 columns
- Make a row below. This is where you will log your key symbols.
- As the week goes on, log your mood in the table
Congratulations! You’ve just logged in your first week of a mood journal!
That wasn’t too hard, right?
I’m sure that there are nicer looking ones out there, but this basic table is the basic principle of how it works.
For more creative spreads, here’s a video of how to do it from YouTube:
Now comes the reason why you combine your mood tracker with your bullet journal.
So, it’s all there. Your daily log you’ve got through rapid logging, and your mood tracker throughout the week, now what?
Well, now’s the time you run your moods through what happened during the week and find patterns that made you feel that way.
This will give you a concrete idea of why you felt a certain way you did.
So for example, on Monday you logged in S (sucks) in your mood tracker table. If you run it through your daily log, you might see that on that day you forgot to wake up and got late for work. The boss took notice and called you out for it.
Of course, you now know that being late and getting called out was the reason it was S on Monday. What can you do now? With the data of your daily log, you can now go back to Sunday.
What did you do on Sunday that made you wake up later than usual?
Maybe it was going out late with friends, if so, run it through the other times you were late for work, is it the same reason? Did it all happen because you took longer than usual getting home the night before? If yes, then you know now a certain pattern in which your life revolves around.
With that pattern exposed, now you can do something about it.
That’s the main purpose of having the mood tracker in your journal. It lets you act and hold yourself accountable through the data you have collected yourself. There’s no one else keeping track except you. If you have written it yourself, then you have no choice but to swallow your pride and do something about it if you really want to improve.
Tips On Making A Better Mood Tracker
While we’re done with the basics, here are some tips that can make it a better experience all around.
- Give it time
- Printables and Stickers
- Have fun with it
- Theme it up
- Have Goals
Give It Time
It’s important that when doing this practice, you give it the time it deserves.
Logging in your moods from day to day doesn’t take much, but analyzing your patterns is.
If you really want results, you have to honestly give it the time, energy, and respect that it deserves to make an actual difference in your life.
You have to face yourself, no matter how awkward or disappointing it would be. Only when you do this, is when you are truly going to break some ground and improve your overall state of being.
Printables and Stickers
This is more for the less artistically inclined.
Around the bujo community, there are printables and stickers being sold online. These are things you can stick to your notebook which will allow you to have certain collections pre-designed.
Printables are often bigger but have to be stapled or taped into your notebook. Stickers, well… you stick them.
So if you do not have artistic skills, and you’ve don’t particularly resonate with the minimalist way of doing things, this may be your best bet.
These are usually cheap and are very accessible.
Have Fun With It
The purpose of this exercise is for you to be happy, ultimately. So remember to have fun with it along the way.
Draw doodles on the page, paint on it, or right quotes that resonate with you. Even if it doesn’t look as nice as those on the internet it’s okay. What’s important is that you do it, and get results.
Theme It Up
For the more artistically inclined, this is mostly for you.
For those who aren’t, try looking for printables and stickers that fit the theme you want it to be.
Your day may suck, but the page doesn’t have to be, right? This is in conjunction with having fun with it.
Overall, a more positive experience will encourage you to continue the practice. This is the key to doing it in the long term.
You have to have goals when doing something like this.
For example, say you have a color-coded mood tracker. Red is for bad, while blue is for happiness.
If you notice you have more red marks in your month than blue, then for the next month try targeting having one more blue mark than the last month, and keep going.
If you do this, you’ll find you’ll be marking more blue days than you ever thought you could.
Given all the benefits, are you willing to try this out?
I haven’t really tried this yet. Mostly, I do brain dumps because I was under the impression that they had the same effect.
After having learned a bit more about it, I think I have to give this a chance too.
The research makes a lot of sense, and it’ll allow me to really understand myself more.
Self-awareness is something everyone can benefit from. What’s more, is through self-awareness, extra personal relationships improve as well. It’s like self-care for the sake of other people too.
So if the benefits are something that you want to take advantage of, I suggest you hop in and try it out!
By the way, if you want to learn more about brain dumps, you can check it out here.
Here are some creative ideas around the web too. I hope you get some ideas from these!