Different Triggers

Anxiety, depression, and any other mood disorder can be triggered by a plethora of perceptions and outside influences.  There are so many different, small things that can begin a spiral into a bad mood or intense anxiety, and it can sometimes be very difficult to label one specific thing as the reason for your issue.  The Mood Triggers app can do this for you, so you do not have to worry about why you feel the way you do!  There are a multitude of different triggers this app might identify as influencing your mood, such as: helplessness, hopelessness, self reported arousal, fatigue, avoidance, heart rate, and so many more.  Once you are able to identify what triggers your anxiety or depression the most, you will be able to work towards getting better by focusing on the most prominent triggers.  

You will also have something to focus on in therapy, and when your therapist asks how you have been, you will have a much easier time answering.  You will have been tracking your mood very regularly, which will help you to recall almost exactly how you were feeling throughout the week, and better yet, why you were feeling that way.  There are a myriad of possible reasons you are feeling the way you feel, but the Mood Triggers app will help find the most dominant problem that you can work on in therapy and in everyday life.  

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Arousal and Anxiety

The Mood Triggers application allows you to report your arousal levels.  Arousal is often a physiological sign of your anxiety, and can be distracting when you are trying to focus.  Your muscles may be tense, your hands might begin sweating, your heart rate may speeden; your body will be focusing on the arousal from your anxiety, which will distract you from what is more important.  Using the app to track your arousal levels will you help you to see if this is a strong contributor to your anxiety, especially in comparison to helplessness, fatigue, hopelessness, avoidance, or anything else.  Once you are more aware of your physical symptoms of anxiety, you will be able to focus on fixing that.  If physiological arousal does seem to have a strong effect on you or is a regular occurrence, tracking it will help your therapy sessions become even more beneficial.  You will be able to tell your therapist exactly when (and why) you were feeling so anxious at the time as well as what symptoms were experiencing.  Through discussing your body’s arousal, you will be able to find and work on techniques that will work on calming your physical body, and in turn, calming your mind.

Hopeless Can Trigger Depression

One major symptom and trigger of depression is hopelessness.  With depression often comes a lack of belief in positivity, such as thinking that the world is monotonous and always will be monotonous.  This can lead to further depression because of the way it may lead you to act.  If you think you will never succeed in life, then you may become apathetic towards your schoolwork or your job, which could lead to poor results.  These results could then lead to further hopelessness, and it will just become a nasty cycle.

However, there is a way to stop this cycle.  With the Mood Triggers App, you will be able to identify what is the main cause of your unhappy moods.  While the app will not fix your moods for you, it will help you to identify that hopelessness (or a variety of other things) is causing you to feel more depressed.  With this information, you can focus and try to work on the thoughts you allow yourself to believe, as well as talk to your therapist and work with him/her on certain mechanisms to help you become more hopeful.  

Personalized To You

The Mood Triggers app quickly becomes personalized to you.  Because you will be filling out surveys every hour, the app will become familiar with what is the main trigger of your anxiety or depression, and will have charts available to you, so that you can see what you, specifically, need to focus on in order to work on getting better.

This factor of the Mood Triggers app is also very beneficial for therapy.  The app will give you some aspects that you need to work on, such as “avoidance” or “helplessness”.  Once you have this information easily identified for you, which can be hard to do on your own, you will have something to focus and work on with your therapist.  

Identifying what is triggering your anxiety or depression can be difficult, but it is the most important step in getting better.  Because Mood Triggers is personalized to you and helping you improve, it provides information on what is the most triggering, as well as what is the least.  The app helps you learn more about yourself and your anxiety/depression, so that you can become the healthiest you!

Making the Most of Therapy

Sometimes in therapy, it is difficult to talk.  Maybe you had a long list of things you wanted to discuss and you’re drawing a blank, or maybe the week you’ve had hasn’t been quite as stressful to you.  Either way, you might end up spending 30 minutes of the hour just sitting in silence, not sure of what to say.  However, with the mood triggers app, you could have something right in front of you that you could discuss.  Furthermore, this log will just be on your phone, so you will likely already have it with you and will not have to remember a journal.  You will easily be able to look at how your moods have been fluctuating since your last session, which will allow you to make the most of your therapy session.  Your therapist will also get a good look at your sleep and step intake, as well as see highs and lows of your anxiety/depression throughout the week.  This will not only allow each session to help the best it can, but it will also allow your therapist to know enough about your patterns to be able to help you significantly in just a few weeks!

Fatigue Can Trigger Anxiety

Many people who experience anxiety or depression are experiencing it because of fatigue.  However, this can be a difficult trigger to identify, especially if you aren’t constantly aware of how much sleep you get at night.  However, the mood triggers app can help you to know if fatigue (along with many other possible triggers, such as avoidance or helplessness) is the reason for your anxiety.  The app will be tracking your sleep, as well as how you sleep, and will therefore be able to tell you if your fatigue is a trigger.  Furthermore, because the app tracks how well you sleep, you will have the information to learn if the main issue is how you sleep (for example, if your sleep is very restless), and if you should be changing that in any way.

 

This information is also useful for a therapist or psychiatrist to help you the best way they can.  How well and how much you sleep can directly impact your anxiety and depression, so a psychiatrist may recommend taking melatonin (which actually has some antidepressant properties!), or something that will allow you to sleep better and lessen your anxiety or depression.

 

Whatever is triggering your anxiety or depression needs to be recognized before you can do anything to fix it; otherwise, your attempts at getting better will not be attacking the true problem.  Mood triggers can be the first step to getting better, as it will help you to identify why you feel how you feel!

Checklist for Using Mood Triggers with Therapy Clients

Interested in using Mood Triggers with your clients, but want a checklist describing how to use Mood Triggers to clients?

Here’s a client sheet that you can give to clients about Mood Triggers.

  • I want to monitor your anxiety and depression in your daily life to better understand what’s driving your anxiety and depression uniquely.
  • To use Mood Triggers, you will need an Android device (iPhone version coming soon).
  • The first time you use Mood Triggers you will be asked to complete some demographic questions, questions about when you go to bed/wake up, and anxiety and depression. This should take about 5-10 minutes, and you’ll only need to complete it once.
  • I’ll ask you to use the app for one week
  • During the week, the app will prompt you once per hour during the times you indicate you will be awake.
    • I want you to try to complete as many of the prompts as possible as it will give us a better understanding of your anxiety and depression.
    • The hourly prompts should only take about 1-2 minutes to complete
    • The hourly prompts ask a lot about different things that trigger different people’s anxiety and depression (for example, avoidance, heart rate).
    • We want to see which triggers are the most important for you.
  • During the week the app will also automatically log your sleep and steps.
    • To log the sleep, make sure to plug your phone into a charger, and set the phone next to you in bed. As soon as the screen is off, the device is charging, and it’s between the times you indicated you’ll be asleep, sleep tracking will automatically start.
  • In our next session, make sure to bring your Android device back into the session. I’ll want to look over your anxiety, depression, and health behavior, and look over your results to see what’s driving your anxiety and depression.

Link to Mood Triggers on the Google Play Store