Using Moodscope for mood tracking


#1

I’ve been using Moodscope to track my mood for the last year. This is the only quantified-self approach to tracking my emotional state that I’ve found long-term worthwhile[1].

Most other apps that support mood tracking just as “How was your day?” and ask you to rate 1-5 on a classic Likert scale. That kind of prompt seems to prime for the outside view of my life. I implicitly substitute “How was your day?” with the questions “Am I alive, healthy, employed?” and then stoically answer 3 every day, while missing macro trends towards what Venkatesh Rao calls “failed reality maintenance”.

Instead, Moodscope presents a panel of 20 specific emotions and asks you to rate how much you identify with each from 0 to 3. The increased specificity has helped me catch problematic ruts in my state-of-mind, at the cost of 1-3 minutes of my morning routine[2]. If I consistently rate “irritable” above 0, I know I had better focus on sleep hygiene and more exercise. If “hostile” is trending, I had better do some journalling and reframe whatever family or work situations are on my mind.

This is my last year of ratings:

The folks behind Moodscope have been running it on the side for 10 years, but they have a crowdfunding campaign going right now to fund improvements to the interface. Please give it a try and consider supporting them.

[1] I found Moodscope via Alex Vermeer’s excellent “Life Hacking” page. He has since removed the reference to Moodscope (I’m not sure why), but he has plenty of other good tips.
[2] I have “take mood inventory” in my Complice dailies and of course I keep myself accountable for doing it with Beeminder.


#2

I agree that a single linear scale is unhelpful; even if you’re not judging by an extremely low bar, it’s just hard to collapse so many different emotions into a single number. And that single number’s not going to be all that helpful for troubleshooting moods later – a week of being really angry is different from a week of being really sad, which is different from a week of sometimes being angry and sometimes being sad.

I found Clue (a period/fertility tracker) simpler to Moodscape but similarly helpful for figuring out my mood patterns; it has 4 binary moods you can pick (you can pick as many as you want): happy, sad, sensitive, and angry. It’s obviously focused on identifying hormonal mood effects, but I found it useful enough to be able to say “did I experience these emotions strongly today?” instead of trying to rate my day overall. (And of course, yes, I beeminded “Fill out Clue” every day"!)


#3

I’ve been using Daylio but this looks way nicer for what I want! Thanks!


#4

I should clarify that the chart up above is not from the Moodscope user interface; I made that with R and ggplot2 from a CSV export of my tracking data.

They do have similar visualization, but only for the last 30 days of data.

Moodscope also generates a composite mood score (on a 0-100 scale) from the mood panel. It’s still a linear scale, but because I’m not rating on that scale directly it manages to be more useful and representative of my emotional well-being.


#5

I ended up making a PANAS Google Form. I’m going to code up a little Google Apps Script to email me my score when I submit.


#6

I wish it were possible to track my feelings automatically, and alert me when I need to go take a deep breath.

(The food industry tracks microemtions in product development.)


#7

Haven’t tried it myself, but I think that’s the premise of the Spire stress tracker.