Moodnotes review: Keep track of your feelings
If you’re already counting your daily steps, tracking sleep cycles and monitoring everything from food intake to body temperature, you’ll be well acquainted with the idea of the “quantified self” – the notion that data-gathering can help you achieve and maintain physical wellbeing.
Thriveport’s Moodnotes is a simple tracking app that extends the idea to emotional states. Created by Ustwo, the development team behind the beautiful, mind-bending game Monument Valley, its interface is very straightforward: opening the app reveals a friendly-looking graphic of a face. With a quick swipe up or down, you can match the face to your current mood. Then you’re asked to log how you’re feeling, on a seven-point scale from terrific joy to dire despair.
The next stage draws on techniques from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). If you’ve indicated a negative mood, Moodnotes invites you to describe your thoughts and to consider whether you’ve fallen into one of 14 common “thinking traps”, such as “mind-reading” (jumping to conclusions about other people’s thoughts), “catastrophising” (blowing events out of proportion) or simply failing to see the positives in a situation. If you’re firmly in the smiley zone, the app invites you to reflect again, in order to encourage happy-making thinking habits. You can then rescore your feelings and note whether you feel better. Once you’ve used Moodnotes for a while, you can use the timeline view to track how your moods have changed over time.
Beyond that there are no other features: it’s pretty simple. But the intuitive interface makes Moodnotes a friendly and attractive way to track your mental wellbeing. While the app lacks an official medical endorsement, the CBT techniques it draws on are recommended by the NHS to combat stress, anxiety disorders and some types of depression.
The only question is whether it will appeal to you, which may depend on your level of faith in self-quantifying. Unlike a health-monitoring device, Moodnotes has no way to automatically detect your mood, or to tell you what your thinking trap is – and there’s no fixed schedule for using it either. To get the best out of the app, you’ll really need to want to use it, even more so than a wearable fitness device that to an extent does the measuring for you. Still, it’s well designed and can certainly be helpful. For the low price, it’s well worth a try for anyone who wants to start managing their moods.