Tools to Help You Monitor Your Anxiety
A while back, I wrote a post on monitoring your anxiety. Monitoring your levels of anxiety gives you concrete information to share with your health providers. It lets you know, at a glance, how your treatment is working.
There are different ways of monitoring your moods.
HealthCentral.com offers Mood 24/7. This service is based on technology licensed exclusively from Johns Hopkins University. It allows you to monitor your anxiety level each day using your cell phone. Once you sign up for the service, you will receive a text message, at the time you selected, each day asking for you to rate your mood. If you don’t send a text message back, you’ll be reminded later to do so. You are able to share your mood tracking with your doctor either by entering his code (if he is registered with the service) or putting in his email address to send him an invitation to view your mood chart. You are also able to view and print your mood chart at any time.
Some people prefer charts, with extensive information on their anxiety level, their immediate situation, foods they ate and how long they felt anxious. The Depression and Bipolar Alliance offers a printable calendar. By completing a calendar, you can see patterns to anxiety or if there are situations that are consistently triggers to anxiety attacks, such as lack of sleep or stress at work. Sometimes, viewing your anxiety symptoms over a month or two gives you a different perspective than taking each anxiety attack as a separate incident.
You can create your own chart using a calendar and marking each day what medication you took, what you ate, what was going on in your life and your anxiety level. Some of the things you want to keep track of:
- Rate how intense your anxiety is
- How long did the panic attack last?
- What were you doing right before the panic attack?
- What happened on days you did not feel anxious?
The problem with keeping a chart is remembering to do so. It is difficult, especially if you are feeling anxious all day, to remember to fill out the information on your calendar. That is where services such as Mood 24/7 help. The text message takes just a moment to reply to and receiving the message is a reminder to track how you are feeling. While this service isn’t as detailed as a chart or calendar, it can provide important information to your health care team as to whether treatment is effective and what target areas you need to continue to work on.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.