Quantified Self Experiments / Tracking - Mood

Why to track?

Establishing a balance between positive and negative emotions is essential to be happy in long term. Domination of negative emotions leads us into depression, anxiety disorders, poor sleep, excessive fatigue, chronical stress, lowered productivity etc. In contrast, domination of positive emotions makes us happier and leads away from chronical diseases and increases quality of life.

What can we do to combat these issues and be more happier?

  1. Measure our mood - emotional status
  2. Measure how different factors affecting mood
  3. Implement factors increasing our mood and happyness

Analyzing emotions can answer important questions:

What to track?

There is not too much options to measure emotions / mood. Most of them comes from Psychology questionnaires. In my experience, using a single scale item for single subjective domain doesnt have enough sensitivity to find small and moderate effects. This is why physiologists using a wide range of questions in their questionnaires.

PANAS is a Positive and Negative Affect Schedule which was extensively used in research and validated [1] [2] [3]. Short form is also presented [4], but since 20 items in my case is really fast answered (1-1.5 minute daily), i'm not using short form - the more items you have, the more sensitive the final index will be. There are other good alternatives, for example Profile of mood states (POMS) is also popular [5].

Idea of tracking positive and negative emotions looks simple & interesting for me and i've decided to stick with main PANAS domains: Positive Affect (10) and Negative Affect (10). Recently i've added a Attentiveness, Serenity & Fatigue domains to complement my morning sleep questionnaire.

How do i track?

I'm using PANAS every evening. Full questionnaire (28 items) takes about 2 minutes for me (sometimes even less).

Answer of single question look like this (example from another questionnaire)

Tapping on a button adds result into database. For casual users there are questionnaire apps available with features like custom questions and export data into csv . Google sheets can be another option.

Here is how PA and NA looks like for a long period of time with daily resolution.

What factors can affect mood?

When you have some data of your sleep, activity, food, supplements etc, you can check out how they affect your mood.

I've already checked how training load affect my positive emotions and found a good correlation. Analysis will be posted soon.