Mood-Log

Mood-Log – get in touch with your emotions.

Mood-Log is an app designed to help you keep track of your emotions as they change throughout the day and from day to day. You do this by creating new Mood-Log entries, recording any emotions you are currently experiencing and logging other information about yourself. You can use Mood-Log as a journal to keep track of events in your life and watch for connections between your daily life and the emotions you experience. A summary page and charts show you what’s happening over time. You can send email reports from within Mood-Log and you can set reminders that will prompt you to create a Mood-Log entry at different times in the day.

Each Mood-Log entry you make allows you to record your feelings in a particular moment. You are presented with a screen showing faces with associated moods and you can pick all of the faces or words that best match your emotions in that moment. Emotions are organized by color, but you can turn colors off if you find that distracting:

 

  • Green – Love
  • Orange – Joy
  • Purple – Surprise
  • Red – Anger
  • Blue – Sadness
  • Yellow – Fear

Organizing by color is similar to Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions, although I use different colors. The categories come directly from Parrott’s Primary Emotions.

The emotion list in Mood-Log can be organized by category, alphabetically, or in random order. If you’re having trouble determining your current emotion, seeing a random display of faces can help you pinpoint just how you’re feeling. If you find the faces distracting, you can turn those off and just see the words for the emotions. If you aren’t sure of the definition of a particular word, hold your finger down on the word and tap “Define” to see a dictionary definition. A slider at the bottom of the screen allows you to show more or fewer choices for each category of emotion.

The Motivation for Mood-Log

One morning I woke up early and could not get back to sleep. My body was tense, and I didn’t know why. I asked myself how I was feeling, and was surprised to find I didn’t have an answer to that question. I honestly didn’t know what emotions I was experiencing in that moment. It occurred to me that this has happened many times before; I had a pattern of not being aware of my own emotions. I decided that I wanted to change this about me.

I looked around for books and apps to help me understand my emotional states.  I thought it might be helpful if I could just gather a list of emotion names, and I created a simple web page that let me check off any that applied to me in that moment. That worked for a while, being able to put a word onto how I was feeling, but it was still missing something. I really wanted to pick from a list of faces. Unfortunately, most of what I could find were very cartoony faces (like the face emojis) or photographs, and they usually only covered a small subset of emotions. In the hopes of creating something better, I decided to embark on an effort to draw the faces myself.

I looked through books on illustrating and cartooning to find a way to depict a face in a simple, but expressive form. The best reference for me was Drawing People by Joumana Medlej because it had pages showing heads depicting many different emotions, indicating which parts of the expression were most important in defining the emotion. The artist even made an awesome poster with all the faces linked together to show the relationships between the emotions, which I found extremely helpful. I learned from those faces and slowly created my own faces, one unique face for every emotion in Mood-Log.

I drew the faces slowly over a period of months while I was doing the engineering work on the Mood-Log app. It became an art project and engineering project at the same time. I found that drawing the faces and testing the app as I was developing it helped me become more aware of my own emotions, and better able to recognize emotions in others, so it also turned into a self-improvement exercise. I learned that it’s possible to be feeling many things at the same time, even seemingly contradictory emotions. I learned that there are no “good” or “bad” emotions. And as I learned, I used this knowledge to improve Mood-Log.

I wanted Mood-Log to be neutral, in that it doesn’t try to make you feel one way or another. There are many apps already available to help you with that. And I didn’t want Mood-Log to try to guess your mood. The point of Mood-Log is to help you understand your emotions for yourself. It gives you enough structure to get you started, but the rest is up to you.

I sincerely hope it can help you in the ways it helped me.