Finally: A Fitness Tracker for Mental Health

Fitness trackers are all the rage these days. They let us track our steps, improve our sleep, and count calories with dizzying precision. Lots of people have used them to great effect in fitness and dietary plans.

But one area that’s been sorely lacking is mental health. For all the methods at our disposal for tracking and quantifying our physical fitness, there really hasn’t been a great way to keep track of our emotional well-being.

Thankfully, a new app called Moodnotes hopes to change all that by encouraging smartphone users to be more aware of their emotions—and the reasons behind them.

Moodnotes

Repetition is the key

Doing something on a daily basis is one of the very best ways to turn a particular behavior into a habit, and it turns out that mental health is no different. Moodnotes works first and foremost by gently encouraging users to chronicle their emotional states every day. It might sound like a bore, or the kind of thing that’s better suited to a tween’s Tumblr ramblings, but don’t judge too quickly.

The app seems fluid and easy to use, which is important for anything you’re expected to use on a daily basis. Users will receive prompts from an animated face that will change states according to the provided information. If you indicate happiness, the face will reflect that. If you’re sad, the background might fade to gray or blue.

But perhaps most importantly, your ritualistic emotional chronicling will ask why you think you feel a certain way. If it sounds like therapists might soon be out of work, you’re only half wrong; like a visit to a therapist’s office, the point here is to encourage mindfulness of the reasons behind how we feel.

After just ten entries, the app will be better equipped to explore correlations, patterns, and fluctuations in your mood, encouraging you to seek out trends that might lead to better habits.

Emotions vs. perceptions

In order to work, two very important teams had to come together to collaborate on Moodnotes. The first is Ustwo, a design studio based in London, which envisioned the app’s clean, welcoming interface. The second is Edrick Dorian and Drew Erhardt, two clinical psychologists. They’re the ones who decided to base Moodnotes on cognitive behavioral therapy, which emphasizes the links between our feelings and our perceptions of the world around us.

The theory goes something like this: as people become more aware of their negative emotions, they’ll be better empowered to actively pursue more positive mindsets and behaviors, essentially giving them the tools to adapt to difficult circumstances.

How to get the app?

Moodnotes has made its digital debut on the iOS platform. The creators have vowed to keep a close eye on whatever community springs up around the app, in order to continue offering improvements and guidance.

If you’re wondering what Moodnotes will cost, I can put the mystery to rest: the app is available now on the iOS App Store for $3.99, which may or may not be within the “impulse buy” threshold. Consider the alternative, though, which likely would have been some kind of “freemium” setup or involve a subscription model. The creators hope that the relatively low price point and lack of any kind of ongoing commitment will encourage people to make the app a regular part of their day.

After all, the benefits of journaling are well known thanks to insightful scientific studies. Journaling can help people achieve greater self-awareness and improved governance of their emotions. Still, putting pen to paper each day in the pursuit of mindfulness might seem like an unnecessary chore for some; after all, it’s easier to numb your feelings than learn to deal with them productively. This is the reason why just about every pleasurable past-time on planet earth comes with some kind of disclosure about the complications that can arise from abuse. Immersing ourselves in life’s offerings is fine from time to time, but getting lost in our vices can be devastating.

The creators of Moodnotes understands this, and have designed the app to cater to people of all stripes and situations. More than anything, they’re out to prove that a measure of self-awareness doesn’t have to be a scary thing.

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