We know mental health is something we ought to talk about more.
These conversations shouldn’t just be reserved for times of crisis either. For when stuff has spiralled out of control, when we need to reach out and ask for help.
Instead, it needs to be an ongoing conversation. A regular check-in where we explore how we're doing, where we need extra support, and when we’re doing really well. Acknowledging this enables us to stay healthy and puts us in control of our thoughts and feelings, rather than the other way around. It can prevent little niggles from escalating into more serious issues, and ensure we have a strong support network around us.
“How are you?” is a question we get asked all the time. And it’s absolutely meaningless.
It’s a platitude, a polite conversation starter, and we stop paying attention to it.
But we shouldn’t.
The reason is simple. If we don’t understand how we are and what is making us feel happy or unhappy, then it’s very difficult to improve things.
Our happiness levels fluctuate depending on our circumstances, tiredness levels, stressors, and a whole range of other factors. We won’t be happy all the time. There will be days when it comes easily and days where it’s as difficult as nailing jelly to a tree.
It’s important to get a really good understanding of yourself in order to properly look after yourself, so I was super excited about trying out the new Moodbeam One. The wearable device captures our emotions, acting as a thought provoker, conversation starter and wellbeing manager. It arrived a month ago and has been on my wrist ever since.
So, initial impressions…?
The set-up was nice and easy, taking about ten minutes to sort. It’s comfortable to wear and it looks pretty sleek. A white wristband with two buttons – yellow for positive emotions and blue for negative ones. Press the button throughout the day to log your mood and the app will do the rest, giving you a visual snapshot of your mood.
You can choose what the buttons mean to you. For me yellow signifies happiness, and blue is for negative emotions, more specifically anxiety, fear and dread. This makes the trends more meaningful to your personal situation. To give this a bit more context, there is the option to add details in the app to explain why you pressed yellow or blue. I found this really helpful when analysing it later.
I like patterns. I journal, which allows me to make sense of my thoughts, feelings and behaviours. If I notice a pattern I can figure out the reason behind it and then take action. Straightaway I could see how the Moodbeam would help. I’ve never managed to reliably track my emotional state before and watching it evolve in real time in the app would give me some really helpful data to work with.
The theory made sense. As for the practice?
The data it captured helped me uncover blind spots that took much longer when I put pen to paper. I could look at my day and identify what was triggering negative emotions, but also what was causing the positives. From the data I’ve collected I’ve already been able to adapt my sleep routine and also managed to have some really in depth conversations about where I am.
Sometimes I find it difficult to make sense of emotions. They can be chaotic and messy, and trying to unravel them is hard. Feelings are a fluffy measurement and mean different things to different people, but the Moodbeam acts as a great conversation starter and has allowed me to better explain how I am doing to others.
A huge benefit I wasn’t expecting was that it’s really helped me check in with myself more regularly. Rather than diary dumping in the evening, I spend more time throughout the day casting a magnifying glass over how I’m doing.
Before I tried the Moodbeam I thought I was pretty good at this. The problem is that life happens. I get busy. My mind jumps from one project, to the next meeting, to what I’m going to be having for dinner without taking a break. With the Moodbeam on my wrist I now take a few moments out to explore how I am feeling at regular intervals during the day. This offers me more clarity and a greater perspective, and lets me know that I’m still on track. A really handy feature is the prompt that gives you a little nudge at certain times of the day. This reminds you to check in periodically and allows you to build up a more consistent picture over time rather than just pressing yellow or blue when you recognise a particular feeling.
One month of Moodbeam and I’m really looking forward to the next. It’s a useful device and I’m sure there are plenty more benefits I’m yet to uncover.
If you want to learn more about Moodbeam you can check out their site here. And if you want to try it for yourself get a 5% discount with the code dbrown5.