Monday, March 2, 2009

Mood Manager

I subscribe to The Happiness Institute's newsletter and was intrigued to read over the weekend about a new tool aimed at helping people gain some insight about and control over how they feel called 'Mood Manager'. Well there's a 30-day free trial and what can I say..? I signed up. It isn't downloadable software, instead you sign in to it over the web.

Everyone loves a quiz, especially about themselves, and getting started with Mood Manager involves taking a DASS 21 test (Depression Anxiety Stress Scale). This rates your levels of depression, anxiety and stress over the preceding week and allows you to monitor your responses. There are lots of things Mood Manager doesn't do, and it isn't a replacement for professional treatment if that's what you need, but I'm interested to see whether the process of logging unhelpful thoughts, regularly retaking the DASS 21 test and using the software's tools to analyse some of my thoughts and behaviours will identify issues I haven't previously thought about.

One thing has already come up: on the first DASS 21 test I took my scores were 1 for Anxiety, 10 for Depression and 14 for Stress! Perhaps I've got so used to thinking of myself as being depressed I ignore the possibility that I'm actually more stressed? I wonder if I was to do something about feeling stressed I might feel better all around?

I decided to take advantage of the 30 day trial and use the software to its fullest so every day I'll note how much sleep and exercise I got and how I felt, I'll pay attention to those 'unhelpful thoughts' that drill into my thoughts so frequently, and I'll try to think about what I'm doing. At the end of the month it will be interesting to see if the process has helped me, and whether pulling that information together is something for which I need an on-line programme or whether I can actually do it for myself. And in terms of reducing my stress levels, which I think is important but which I've been putting at the bottom of my list of priorities, I'm going to sort out a schedule for my week that includes at least one thing I really enjoy doing and also fences off time for exercise. I know I feel better when I exercise, but since M was ill last year and I had to stay home with him I have completely abandoned it, and that's silly and something I should sort out.


  1. I'll be interested to hear how this goes. There are things I know I should be doing too! (like exercise!)

  2. I really hope this is helpful to you. I had to do a DASS recently for my GP so that I could get some medicare funded counselling. The counsellor I'm seeing works primarily on the ideas in a book called "The Happiness Trap" by Russ Harris?I was wondering whether you've ever heard of it or tried "mindfulness" as a technique for managing depression?


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