Hacking Your Mood with Pacifica

Hi, I’m Ross Nelson, Clinical Psychologist and Pacifica’s Digital Health Consultant and Advisor. In this blog post, we are getting emotional. Okay not exactly getting emotional per se, but I will be examining the function and benefits of answering the seemingly simple question, “How are you feeling?” We will be touching on: what emotions are, the benefits of monitoring mood, and how to begin noticing and keeping track of your feeling using the Pacifica App.

So, let’s kick this off with that question: how are you feeling? It might be a bit of a challenge, but take a moment to ask yourself “What emotions am I experiencing right now?” Am I happy? Sad? Angry? Tired? Confused? or Skeptical?

How are you feeling?

If you were able to identify a feeling…great! If not…that’s okay too! In fact, for most of us, the process of identifying our current emotional states is challenging. Particularly because many of us were never taught (or encouraged) to notice how we are feeling and/or to talk about our feelings. We may also have been taught that emotions are “bad” and that we shouldn’t express them.

So briefly, an emotion (also sometimes called “mood” or “feeling”) is a complex, but natural psychological state or reaction involving one’s own subjective experience, a response occurring inside the body, and a behavioral or expressive response. Over the course of time, emotions have served the purpose of pushing us to either take action or to avoid it. For example when our prehistoric ancestors crossed paths with dinosaurs, they would experience an emotion (such as nervousness), which would then propel them to take some sort of action (i.e. attempt to fight or possibly run away). So emotions, while at times unsettling, serve a wonderful function!

So here are the top 3 reasons why you might want to begin tracking your mood:

  1. Identify Patterns. By consistently documenting our mood, we can start to identify both positive and negative life influences on our emotions.
  2. Helps With Goal Setting. By identifying your mood, you will be able to establish goals for emotional change and choose specific goals tailored to alleviating a specific mood. (i.e. the Pacifica Deep Breathing techniques help with anxiety, but less so when feeling depressed).
  3. Regaining Control. Research has shown that the process of simply checking in with current mood states can helps us feel better about our lives.

So here is how you can start to identify (and monitor) your own mood using the Pacifica App. Like building any new habit, repetition can be very useful. To help remind you to check your mood, Pacifica will send periodic push notifications encouraging you to touch base with how you are feeling.

How is your mood?

These helpful reminders direct you back to the app where you note your current emotional experience. Pacifica offers common mood states that you may experience in a day, but you can also enter in your own identified mood state (by clicking “NEW”).

My mood is great!

If you are having having trouble identifying your mood, try to distinguish if you are feeling on the “Great” end of the spectrum or “Awful” (or somewhere in between). This can be a nice starting place for identification of what it is you are feeling.

This first step of becoming aware of your mood sets the foundation for you to start utilizing tools to help you overcome your stress, anxiety, depression, or any other distress you may be experiencing. We encourage you to practice often and to not judge yourself for having emotions. Simply become aware of what is already taking place.

How have you enjoyed monitoring your mood using the Pacifica App and do you have any tips/tricks for how you become aware of your own emotional states? Please comment and share below!

For questions about mood monitoring, please feel free to contact me on twitter @RossNelsonPsyD.