Self Reflection

Sometimes self reflection can be difficult, and if you don’t have to, it is easy to never do it.  However, with the Mood Triggers app, you will have guided self reflection (potentially every hour) through the surveys.  This will help you to notice patterns of thinking you may not have noticed otherwise. This self reflection that Mood Triggers will help you with is part of reaching the first step in getting better: recognition.  Once you have been self reflecting and recognized a problem in your thinking, you may be able to catch yourself with a thought process that is contributing to your anxiety or depression. It may not be easy to stop the thoughts immediately, but being able to recognize this thought and perhaps even say to yourself, “no, this is not rational,” or something along those lines, will help improve your mood drastically.  Furthermore, the self reflection you will be engaging in will help you have better ideas of what to say about yourself in therapy. Self reflection will allow you, as well as your therapist, to better improve your mood and overall well-being!

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Control in Anxiety

Control can have a significant impact on mental wellbeing.  It is easy to feel as though you are hopeless, with minimal control in regards to the events that happen to or around you.  This external locus of control can lead to feelings of anxiety, as it is easy to feel like other people have control over your life.  This takes away feelings of independence and self efficacy, and can cause learned helplessness – the way things are is the way things will always be.  For example, if you believe you are just simply bad at science, it is possible that you will accept no control and have no improvement in your abilities.

However, this helplessness can be changed – once you are aware of the issue.  The Mood Triggers app will help you take the first, very necessary, step to improving the idea of control you have over your life: noticing that it is a problem.  Among many survey questions, some ask about the amount of control you have had in recent events. The app will be able to tell you if hopelessness (and lack of control) is something that really impacts your mood.  If it is, you will have gained some insight to your feelings and will have something to focus on in therapy or in simple self help/self improvement!

Feeling Tense in Correlation to Anxiety

Among many features of anxiety comes tense muscles.  Tenseness may not be something that is regularly thought of in correlation to anxiety, but it is definitely something to be aware of.  The Mood Triggers Application asks a variety of questions about anxiety, one of them being “How tense do you feel right now?”  Being asked to think of your physical body features is one way to be more aware of the symptoms that come with your anxiety, which will in turn help you to better control your mood.  Furthermore, you will be able to track what types of situations lead to the variety of symptoms you encounter.  For example, writing an essay may make you very tense while preparing for a presentation may make you shaky (which is a focus of another anxiety question).  This knowledge will help you to focus on all anxiety triggering events in their own way, as not every circumstance will lead to the same feelings and physical manifestations.

Weather and Mood

Among the large variety of aspects tracked by Mood Triggers is the weather.  It is very easy to have your mood affected by the weather, such as being in a worse, sadder, mood when the day is rainy and being in a more upbeat mood when the day is sunny.  Your mood is also liable to change with the season; in the winter, when it is colder and dark earlier, you may be sadder than you are in the summer.  This is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is an extremely common disorder.  There are specific therapies designed to combat SAD, such as light therapy, but the only way to know you need to use a therapy specific to the environment is by properly tracking your mood. With Mood Triggers, your mood, the weather, and many other factors to your mood are kept in one spot, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of your mood and its influencers; you can just check your phone!

Mood Tracking

The Mood Triggers application prompts you hourly to take a quick survey.  Within this survey, there are many questions that focus on your anxiety, depression, and triggers.  However, the most helpful aspect to this app is that it only asks about the past hour, as you would have taken the survey an hour before.  This makes the app more accurate in figuring out what is truly triggering your negative emotions because it is specific and regular, rather than general and only when you feel anxious or depressed.  Being consistent with the surveys will allow you to have a very accurate reading of when you are feeling anxious or depressed, and why you are feeling that way.  

When reflecting on your past week or two in therapy, it can be very difficult to remember exactly how you were feeling.  If an emotion was prominent you may recall it, but it is much easier to discuss how you feel in the moment than to remember all the emotions you had in the past week.  This is where the Mood Triggers application can come in.  You will remember how you felt every day throughout different times and parts, so if one day or one time period is causing you extreme stress, you will be able to properly identify it and discuss it in therapy to get better.

Hourly Surveys

The Mood Triggers app helps you help yourself.  With hourly prompts, you do not have to put effort into trying to remember to input your feelings.  Rather, the application will simply remind you that it is time to take a survey.  All you have to do is click on the notification, take a minute to reflect on your mood, and let the app do the rest.  The regularity of the survey is also important in tracking your mood, as it sees how your mood changes throughout the day.  If you are just reflecting on your mood at the end of the day, you will not have the full context; you will probably only remember the more intense moods and how you are feeling in the current moment.

This is ideal for when you’re trying to learn more about your mood, but don’t have lots of time to really sit down and reflect.  The app will gather all of your data, and simply tell you what may have the most triggering effects on your mood.  This is really important when you are trying to get better, because you cannot get better if you don’t know what you need to focus on, or what has the biggest impact on your mood.

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.