What is a mood log?
A Mood Log is a tool for identifying the relationships between your feelings (in this case anger) and the thoughts, situations, and mood states that lead to those feelings. There are some mood logs below that you can print out and use, but first I’ll provide an example of how they can be used.
How do you use a mood log?
Imagine you have a really important appointment coming up and a friend has offered to give you a ride. You are nervous about the appointment so you remind your friend repeatedly in the days leading up to it. On the day of, you are starting to feel a little nervous about it but decide not to remind them again (you don’t want to be annoying since they are doing you a favor). At the time you arranged for them to pick you up, though, they are not there. You become concerned but give them a few minutes before texting them. After about five minutes when they still aren’t there, you text them politely with “you on your way?” to which they respond with “wait, I thought that was tomorrow!”
To diagram this situation via a mood log you would keep track of the following (see here for a description of how these items fit together):
- Your emotions and their intensity
- The provocation
- How you felt before the situation (i.e., the pre-anger state)
- The thoughts you had about the provocation (i.e., your appraisal)
A mood log entry for this situation might look like this:
Over time, keeping a mood log will allow you to see patterns that emerge regarding your anger. You might recognize, for instance that your angry often emerges over situations where people let you down or when you are already feeling anxious or worried. You can also add or remove categories if you want to focus on different parts of your anger patterns (e.g., you could add a “behavior” column to focus on what you do when you are angry). They can also be used for other emotions like sadness, fear, or even happiness. You just fill them out at the end of the day and focus on the emotional experiences you had that day.
Downloadable Mood Logs
While you can easily create your own if you would like, here are a few examples with some standard columns.