Nurture your mental health by tracking your mood

According to the World Health Organization, mental health is "a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community." [1] Positive mental health is a resource that strengthens the ability to function, deal with stress, perform meaningful work, and contribute to broader collective goals. [2][3]


Well-being can be defined as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.” However, it is still crucial to understand that the well-being concept is much more than just moment-to-moment happiness. [4] Bearing this in mind, the New Economics Foundation has described well-being as the way people “--feel and function, both on a personal and a social level, and how they evaluate their lives as a whole.” [6] Researchers from different disciplines have examined different aspects of well-being that include, for example, physical well-being, economic well-being, social well-being, life satisfaction, and fulfillment. [7] These various aspects of well-being and their related elements can overlap, be closely linked, and affect one another.





Self-Monitoring


The interest in self-monitoring and the use of mobile apps for promoting health has grown exponentially in recent years [8]. The massive growth in the wellness industry has had its contribution to this trend. In addition to observing and recording eating, sleeping, media consumption, fitness and workout performance, even productivity, mental health monitoring has become a trend of its own as well. [9]


Tracking health related data helps users to gain awareness about their health, establish the correlation between the tracked data and their health conditions, and proactively engage in healthcare management [10]. Mood tracking is a positive psychology technique for improving mental health, including the tracking, recording, and analysis of a person’s mood. Mood tracking can be seen as a self-help method for people suffering from mood disorders such as anxiety, clinical depression, and bipolar disorder. Self-tracking mood helps users increase their knowledge and awareness of mood patterns, proactive self-regulation of their emotional well-being, and thus help maintain emotional well-being [11][12].


A common and traditional form of mood tracking is via pen and paper: journaling. But let’s admit it—not everyone has the free time to actually write in a diary every day.


Today’s mood tracker apps are a welcome addition to diary selection. They are often more convenient, quicker, and effortless to use and offer many possibilities that a traditional pen and paper cannot offer. Research suggests that mood tracker apps are a helpful and safe way of offering support for people to manage their thoughts of self-harming and develop a strategy to avoid this behavior. [13]



Interested in tracking your mental health?


Last autumn, Medified conducted a survey on mental health issues in collaboration with Nyyti ry – a society promoting Finnish students’ mental health and learning ability.

The study aimed to examine students' attitudes towards mental health, mental health care, and utilizing mobile solutions in mental health treatment. [9] The majority of respondents (n=147) were young adults between the ages of 18-24 (54%) and 25-30 (30%), most of whom (90 %) had experienced mental health issues during the last 12 months. The survey revealed that the greater part of the respondents (63%, 5, 31%, 4) was interested in tracking their own mental health. [9]



SOURCES


  1. “Promoting mental health: concepts, emerging evidence, practice: summary report.” (2004). The World Health Organization, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in collaboration with the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) and the University of Melbourne. https://www.who.int/mental_health/evidence/en/promoting_mhh.pdf

  2. “Mental Health.” YTHS/FSHS, Finnish Students Health Service, 2021. Accessed March 3, 2021. https://www.yths.fi/en/health-information/mental-health/

  3. Creek, J., & Lougher, L. (2011). Occupational therapy and mental health. Elsevier Health Sciences. 19.

  4. Pinto, S., Fumincelli, L., Mazzo, A., Caldeira, S., & Martins, J. C. (2017). Comfort, well-being and quality of life: Discussion of the differences and similarities among the concepts. Porto Biomedical Journal, 2 (1), 6-12.

  5. “What is wellbeing, how can we measure it and how can we support people to improve it?” Mental Health Foundation, 2015. Accessed March 5, 2021. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/blog/what-wellbeing-how-can-we-measure-it-and-how-can-we-support-people-improve-it

  6. "Measuring Wellbeing: A guide for practitioners". New Economics Foundation, 2012. London: New Economics Foundation.

  7. “Well-Being Concepts.” CDC, 2018. Accessed February 20, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/hrqol/wellbeing.htm

  8. Stoyanov SR, Hides L, Kavanagh DJ, Zelenko O, Tjondronegoro D, Mani M. Mobile app rating scale: a new tool for assessing the quality of health mobile apps. JMIR mHealth and uHealth. 2015;3(1):e27.

  9. Ryff, C. D., & Keyes, C. L. M. (1995). The structure of psychological well-being revisited. Journal of personality and social psychology, 69(4), 719.

  10. Li I, Dey A, Forlizzi J. A stage-based model of personal informatics systems. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems; 2010 Apr 10; ACM; pp. 557–566.

  11. Church K, Hoggan E, Oliver N. (2010). A study of mobile mood awareness and communication through MobiMood. InProceedings of the 6th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Extending Boundaries; ACM; pp. 128–137.

  12. Gay G, Pollak JP, Adams P, Leonard JP. (2011) Pilot study of Aurora, a social, mobile-phone-based emotion sharing and recording system. doi: 10.1177/193229681100500219. PMID: 21527101; PMCID: PMC3125924.

  13. Grist, R., Porter, J., & Stallard, P. (2018). Acceptability, use, and safety of a mobile phone app (BlueIce) for young people who self-harm: qualitative study of service users’ experience. JMIR mental health, 5(1), e16.

  14. A mental health survey for students. Nyyti ry & Medified Solutions Oy, Autumn 2020.

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