“Mood apps” are a thoughtful breakaway from the traditionally best-selling apps available for iphones and androids.
Ever since smartphones flooded the marketplace, there’s been a deluge of apps to fill all possible needs and appetites for games, photography, music and more.
But mood apps are among the first and most important to offer us a glimpse of what apps can do to improve our physical and mental health and welfare.
So many modern-day ailments, as well as behavior that is abusive to ourselves and/or others, are linked to stress, moods and emotions: insomnia, obesity, depression, high blood pressure, fatigue, anxiety, alcoholism, drug addiction, mania, to name a few.
In general terms, mood apps allow you – or your patients – to use a combination daytimer/calendar/notebook built into a smartphone to track life’s stressors and record them to see how they relate to episodes of, for example, binge eating, drinking or drug abuse, depression, lack of sleep, mania, and so on.
You can record your feelings throughout the day (e.g. contentment, mania, anxiety, depression), as well as keep notes on activities such as diet and exercise, taking daily medication, relaxation.
Some apps allow for you to report with whom you spent time on a given day as well as where you went. The latter can be a general location (e.g. from New Jersey into NYC) or more specific (to the university, to the gym, visited your mother).
The best mood apps allow this data to be turned into graphs, which can be emailed directly from the smartphone to the health professional doing the follow-up.
Over time, this data can reveal a multitude of new information.
For example, it might show that a regular bi-weekly hospital visit to an aging relative causes a great deal of stress, leading to insomnia and recurring depression.
Or it might show that taking night classes and going to the gym, combined with using the daytimer to remember to take prescribed medication, has helped increase self-confidence, self-esteem and improve one’s mood.
Or an increase in drug or alcohol use may be found to be linked to visits to specific neighborhoods.
Of course, these are only examples to highlight the possibilities offered by the new smartphone mood apps.
Since we all have stress and ups and downs in our moods, using a mood app as a daily journal can help us all to have an ongoing insight into our physical and mental health.
In our opening Mood Apps post, we began to outline some of the reasons why such technology can be beneficial for so many people. And to highlight some of the features that can help improve your life.
One of the problems in making your selection: you want a mood app without much of a learning curve, otherwise you may never get around to using it.
It has to be simple enough to be user-friendly right out of the box. You should download it to your iphone or android and immediately feel at home using the major features in the first few days of trying it out.
The manufacturers recognize that this sort of simple and friendly interface is key to their success…
– so some of them have added music
– some have made their app an interactive game
– but most of them have limited their features in an effort to create an app that’s easy to learn and use.
Thus, in choosing the right mood app for you, you have to consider what features each app has, but it’s also equally important what features each app is missing.
By compiling a list of the best features and the missing features, we’ll be able to narrow down our list of Mood Apps to the one that’s best for you.
To do our research, we are going to examine the pros and cons of the top mood apps currently in existence.
We will incorporate the best of the pros, and reverse the most significant cons, so all become features of the mood app we create.
Have you used a mood app? We welcome your comments.
In each of the following posts, we will detail one of the top mood apps.
We will include features of the app, what critics say is missing from the app, our notes on the app and, finally, which pros and reversed cons we feel should be incorporated to build a better mood app.
- – displays date and time
- – enter # of hours of sleep
- – enter choice of 3 types of stressors: work, health or relationship
- – enter type of medication
- – enter daily mood by color – depression (blue), anxiety (yellow), mania (red)
- – rotate phone to see moods charted on graph
- – charts can be emailed directly from iphone to doctor
- – lacks details for you to accurately chart your history
- – entry can only be made once daily, so you can’t record mood swings throughout the day, quality of sleep, other types of stressors and moods, if medication taken morning and night, etc.
- – doesn’t provide for where you are or whom you are with
- – could use a daily journal/diary or, at least, a way to keep notes.
- – little online information. Website is still under construction.
A strong, well-thought contender in this category, particularly for its ability to turn daily moods into graphs that can be emailed directly to the doctor from the patient’s iphone. However the once-daily entry is limiting and the app lacks much of the “who, what, when, where, why and how” to make it a true Mood Reporter.
Mood app creation:
Benefits of the Mood Reporter app which can help us build a better mood app:
- – you can enter your moods by color – depression (blue), anxiety (yellow), mania (red)
- – if you rotate your phone you can see your daily moods charted on a graph
- – these charts can be emailed directly from your iphone to your doctor
Drawbacks of the Mood Reporter which can teach us how to build a better mood app:
- – entry can only be made once daily – Solution: allow for multiple entries throughout the day; provide a daytimer, journal and/or notebook.
- – only shows 3 moods, 3 types of stressors, type of medication – Solution: allow for more moods and mood levels; show quality of sleep, more types of stressors, if medication taken morning and night.
- – doesn’t provide for where you are or whom you are with – Solution: allow for reporting of more details: who, what, when why, how.
- – little online information – Solution: provide a website with information and video tutorials.
- – a mood app developed by two clinical psychologists, MoodKit is a unique and comprehensive program designed to help you apply the principles and techniques of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) – one of the most effective and scientifically-supported methods of psychotherapy – to your everyday life.
- – with four integrated tools – Activities, Thought Checker, Mood Tracker and Journal – MoodKit helps you to engage in mood-enhancing activities, identify and change unhealthy thinking, rate and chart mood across time, and create journal entries using custom templates designed to promote well-being.
- – innovative design enables it to be used on its own or to enhance professional treatment.
- – includes over 150 recommended activities for mood improvement – complete with examples and tips – which can be tailored to individual needs.
- – offers email, text, and Facebook sharing of activities, plus iPhone calendar integration.
- – step-by-step guidance to identify, evaluate, and modify thoughts to reduce distress.
- – easy entry of daily mood ratings – with 7- and 30-day display chart options (exportable) – and associated notes.
- – saves all notes to a central location for viewing, sharing, or printing.
- – over a dozen custom journal templates with prompts to guide entries.
- – add your own mood improvement activities and journal templates.
- – educational information and “how to” guidance provided throughout.
- – MoodKit’s interface can be a bit overwhelming at first, if only because the app is so comprehensive.
- – because of all the information, plus detailed instructions, often the type is quite small.
- – also, you are never returned to where you left off, so it can be frustrating to always wind up at the main menu every time you restart the app.
- – although this app is fine to help anyone through everyday ups and downs, it’s not really directed towards people suffering from severe mood swings or disorders.
Despite any complaints, this is a very impressive app that can help relieve stress, achieve goals and enjoy a happier life. The more you use it, the more you will benefit. However, once again, you should perhaps look at different mood apps if you suffer from serious depression, anxiety or mania. Consult your doctor.
Mood app creation:
Benefits of the MoodKit app which can help us build a better mood app:
- – a mood app developed by two clinical psychologists, MoodKit is a unique and comprehensive program designed to help you apply the principles and techniques of Cognitive Behavior Therapy
- – four integrated tools – Activities (over 150 mood-enhancing activities – complete with examples and tips – which can be customized for individuals), Thought Checker (to identify and change unhealthy thinking), Mood Tracker (to rate and chart moods across time) and Journal (to record daily entries), plus exportable 7- and 30-day charts.
- – communication of data by text and email.
- – app offers one of the most complete collections of educational information and “how to” guidance for users which can also be customized for doctors/patients.
- – company makes the best use of website and promotion through online videos.
Drawbacks of the MoodKit app which can teach us how to build a better mood app:
- – not intended for use by people with severe mood swings. Solution: upgrade content for use by all levels of mood tracking and disorders.
- – interface is not user-friendly enough. Solution: when users switch on app, have them return to previous screen (where they left off). Edit text for larger type and easier comprehension. Instructions can be online, rather than filling space on the app.