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There are plenty of different tools for tracking your moods and emotions. Some prefer to put pen to paper in journals or diaries, while others like logging entries into an app on their smartphone.

Then, of course, there are fitness trackers, which have long been viewed as personal health management tools. The main emphasis of these devices is often on physical wellness: counting daily steps, tracking sleep, and encouraging more movement.

Lately, fitness trackers are also helping users do the opposite: slow down.

These gadgets have begun to integrate new mood-tracking features, like stress management, sleep optimization, breathwork, and mood logging for a more holistic approach to wellness.

No matter which mood-tracking method you prefer, the primary focus is on integrating more mindfulness into your day.

Keep reading to find out if you should make mood tracking part of your daily routine.

Given the current state of mental health in the United States, mood tracking is considered a priority — and it makes sense.

In an online survey, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at anxiety and depression in U.S. adults from April 2020 to August 2022 and found that they were almost four times more likely to screen positive for anxiety or depression than they were in 2019.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental health and wellness, research has pointed to a rise in anxiety, depression, and addiction issues for years prior to the pandemic,” says Mike Gallager, LPCC.

He adds that a number of reasons contribute to this, including the ever-increasing pace of life, the transition to digital-first interactions, changes to diet, and lack of exercise.

How can a mood tracker help you reach your wellness goals?

“It’s important to remain mindful of your stress and heightened emotions, because increased amounts of either can be detrimental to one’s functioning,” says Jennifer Silvershein Teplin, LCSW, a psychotherapist. “When we take care of our basic needs and remain aware of how we’re doing overall, we can ensure a balanced life.”

It may not feel necessary to track your moods to be mindful of them, but Teplin adds that for many people, it’s hard to remember how you felt in a given moment, day, or week, noting that sometimes time seems to blend together.

“By mood tracking, an individual is able to reflect on what they were experiencing in a given moment as well as have a history of what they were experiencing at a given moment in time or a general point in time,” she says.

Teplin tells us that by noticing these different times of the day or how different experiences affect our mood, we’re able to modify or support ourselves in different ways.

“If we’re able to see that mornings, for example, tend to show a lower mood, we can begin trying different things in the morning to raise our mood. Or, if we notice that being around certain people raises our moods, we can make more effort to be around those people more often,” she says.

Benefits of mood tracking

Mood tracking works a little differently than other types of journaling or charting. For example, some people track or log things they’re grateful for and reap the benefits of gratitude, but for some, this practice doesn’t come naturally.

Mood tracking may be easier for some people to do consistently, and newer studies show it may have some promising benefits of its own, although the research is still growing and limited for now.

Who is mood tracking for?

One 2017 analysis of 32 mood-tracking apps found that they’re used by both the general population and those with mental health conditions.

The study found that the general population used these apps to learn about their mood patterns and to help cope with stress. Those with mental health conditions made use of the apps for monitoring symptoms and sharing the information with family or healthcare providers.

A 2020 study on mobile mood tracking found that viewing information on your moods and emotions may boost communication around your mental health, making it a handy tool that can help with discussing your emotions with your mental health care professional if you choose to.

Whether you share your mood data or opt to keep it private, Teplin says mood tracking is for “anyone who wants a better understanding of their emotions and potential patterns that may exist, as well as a space to reflect on their experiences and put words to what they’re feeling.”

There are many different ways you can track your moods. Here’s an overview of some of the most popular methods:

  • Mood journals: Some journals work more like a planner, for those who like to stay organized, while others are set up more like a guided journal. You can learn more about using your mood journal here.
  • Mood tracker apps: These apps are designed to help track feelings, moods, stress, and symptoms of conditions like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and bipolar disorder. Some help you track your activity, sleep, and nutrition, and some offer meditations, breathing exercises, and medication reminders.
  • Fitness trackers and smartwatches with mood tracking and stress management features: These trackers aim to help users slow down by integrating emotional measurement and stress management tools for a more holistic approach to health and well-being.

With plenty of mood-tracking methods out there, we had to set some guidelines for choosing the best across a few categories.

Here are the factors we considered:

  • Price: We included options at a range of price points to suit different budgets. (All of the mood tracker apps are free, but they do include optional in-app purchases.)
  • Type of mood tracker: Our list features a mix of journals and planners, apps, fitness trackers, and smartwatches to help you find the mood-tracking method that works best for you.
  • Features: We looked for products that provide a variety of useful features like reflection prompts, self-care reminders, health tracking, and more.
  • Customer reviews: Each tracker on this list is highly rated by reviewers.
  • Vetting: The products on our list have been vetted to ensure that they align with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. You can read more about our vetting process.

If you are ready to gain deeper insight into your emotional wellness, here are the best mood trackers to have on your radar.

A note on price

General price ranges with dollar signs ($–$$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means that the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher cost.

Generally, list prices range from $0–$389.99, though this may vary depending on where you shop.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $100
  • $$ = $100–$300
  • $$$ = over $300

Best mood journals

Mood Tracker Planner

  • Price: $
  • Dimensions: 6 x 8.38 x 1.5 inches (15.2 x 21.3 x 3.8 centimeters)

This 12-month weekly wellness planner is a good option for those who prefer writing notes instead of logging them in an app. It looks and works much like a regular planner but also includes features like color-coded mood wheels to help you track your emotions, and charts for tracking your habits and goals.

Thanks to its double spiral design, this journal lays flat while you write, so jotting down your reflections is smooth. It comes with two sheets of stickers that feature self-care reminders and handy calendar labels for events, days off, and more.

Amazon reviewers give it high marks for organization and say it helps with stress and anxiety. They also note that it’s convenient that it functions as both a mood tracker and regular planner, so they can keep everything in one place.

The brand says the pages are made from smudge-free paper and are fully recyclable.


  • mood tracker and regular planner all-in-one
  • reasonable price point
  • highly rated by Amazon reviewers


  • can’t track heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and stress levels like smartwatches and fitness trackers

Erin Condren PetitePlanner Self Care Journal

  • Price: $
  • Dimensions: 8.25 x 5.75 x 0.25 in. (21 x 14.6 x 0.6 cm)

This journal has a colorfully designed cover and a built-in pocket. That said, it’s also a little less subtle, as the cover also features a quote about happiness. Still, users may find it helpful for reflecting throughout the day since it includes prompts for monitoring mood and sleep patterns, setting intentions and goals for your day, and more.

This may be a good choice for people who want to test the mood-tracking waters since it’s only a planner for 7–8 weeks instead of a full year like other planners.

Like the other mood tracking journal on our list, it comes with stickers, but these appear more general, and it includes just one sheet of them.


  • reasonable price point
  • portable, sleek design
  • prompts for reflection, self-care, mood tracking


  • only tracks 7–8 weeks
  • design aspects may be too flowery for some people
  • can’t track heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and stress levels like smartwatches and fitness trackers

Best mood tracker apps


  • Price: free (in-app purchases available)
  • iPhone rating: 4.7 stars
  • Android rating: 4.3 stars

This app is designed to help users learn how to build awareness of their moods and manage stress and anxiety. The app’s free features include a mood and gratitude journal for charting emotions and reflecting on things to feel grateful for.

The app’s developer says that all data is encrypted and securely stored. You can also export your entries if you’d like to share them.

If you choose to opt for the premium version, you’ll have access to a number of other features, including:

  • sleep, nutrition, and exercise tracking
  • unlimited goal setting for activities you’d like to do more often
  • tools for mindfulness, breathing exercises, and grounding exercises
  • personalized reports that can help you identify patterns
  • passcode protection

Although the free version of the app gets you mood and gratitude journals, you’ll need to pay for premium features to unlock personalized reports, breathwork, mindfulness, mood insights, and more. This costs $10 per month or $40 per year in the U.S.


  • gratitude and mood journal included
  • highly rated by users
  • may help manage stress, anxiety, and more


  • free version only includes journals, no extras
  • free version doesn’t include passcode protection


  • Price: free (in-app purchases available)
  • iPhone rating: 4.8 stars
  • Android rating: 4.7 stars

Designed for easy mood tracking, this app allows you to log your moods in two taps by selecting an icon for your mood and activity. The app then creates reports based on your entries, and displays them in easy-to-understand charts.

It’s also popular for customizing your experience — you can select emojis, icons, and color themes.
The app allows you to create a personal identification number (PIN) number for viewing your entries so you can make sure they stay private.

On the flip side, if you’d like, you can share your statistics with friends and convert your entries to PDFs that you can share or print should you need to.

The brand also says your data is secure and not accessible by any other apps or processes. You can back up your data to Google Drive or the cloud through encrypted channels.


  • best for fast and easy tracking
  • customizable
  • save and share information
  • data is secure and backed up


  • may not be best for those who prefer to do more written reflections


  • Price: free (in-app purchases available)
  • iPhone rating: 4.8 stars
  • Android rating: 4.4 stars

Those who experience bipolar disorder may find this app helpful for monitoring and tracking symptoms. Of course, it’s meant to be used as a tool alongside bipolar disorder treatment options and is not a form of treatment on its own. It may also help track depression, PTSD, and anxiety disorder symptoms.

Like the other apps on this list, the idea is that you can identify patterns and possibly prevent triggers by tracking symptoms. The app even features weather and daylight tracking so you can see if different weather patterns have an effect on your mood.

This app allows you to create, send, and print PDF reports that may be helpful for your doctor or mental health care professional. Secure encrypted password authentication should keep your information safe.

Mood tracking, charts, printable reports, and reminders are free, but to unlock the app’s full features, there’s a $1.99 monthly (or $9.99 yearly) cost.


  • may be useful for people living with bipolar disorder
  • highly rated by users
  • secure encrypted password authentication
  • can be used on desktop browser


  • must subscribe/pay for full features

Best fitness trackers and smartwatches

Fitbit Sense 2

  • Price: $$
  • Battery life: 6+ days

An innovator in the tracking device space, Fitbit’s latest fitness tracker can measure heart rate, skin temperature, blood oxygen levels, and stress levels.

This tracker features an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor, which is a type of scan that analyzes the activity of your autonomic nervous system. Research from 2018 found that using an EDA scan accurately predicted stress levels about 80% of the time.

The Sense 2 can also perform EDA scans continuously, which is an upgrade from the previous version.

Using the EDA scan results, the Sense 2 learns when your body is stressed, giving you the opportunity to pause in those moments and possibly identify triggers. You can get notifications that can remind you to get some physical activity or lean into breathwork.

The Sense 2 also tracks additional health metrics like heart rate variability (HRV), which can give you insights into how your body is responding to stressors.

Of course, you can also log your mood for reflection and pattern identification using the “Reflections” feature of the Fitbit app.


  • all-day stress tracking
  • sleep tracking
  • reminders for exercise and breathwork


  • some users prefer the first generation Fitbit Sense

Amazfit Band 5

  • Price: $
  • Battery life: 15 days (up to 25 days in power-saving mode)

This budget-friendly fitness tracker has a nice number of health-tracking features, built-in voice control, and features a slimmer design than the other trackers on this list.

The Band 5 offers continuous heart rate tracking, sleep quality monitoring, and menstrual cycle tracking. Other features include:

It also includes stress monitoring and provides breathing exercises and other suggestions for reducing your stress levels.

With Amazon Alexa voice control capabilities, you can easily ask questions, set reminders, and create lists to help you reach daily goals.


  • stress monitoring
  • sleep quality monitoring
  • built-in Alexa
  • long battery life


  • doesn’t include as many reflection and mood logging features as the other trackers on this list
  • some users report having issues syncing the device with the Zepp app

Apple Watch Series 8

  • Price: $$$
  • Battery life: 18 hours (up to 36 hours on low power mode)

The newest Apple Watch model comes equipped with even more features designed to streamline most of your daily activities. You can also choose from a range of different bands, colors, and watch faces, so it’s highly customizable.

In addition to all of its convenient, high-tech aspects like on-watch calls and texting, it includes a slew of health-monitoring features like temperature sensing, SpO2 level measurements, and heart rate monitoring. It can also perform an electrocardiogram (ECG), which can help assess heart health.

Using the Mindfulness app, you can use the “Breathe” feature to access guided breathing sessions, which may help with stress management, or you can choose the “Reflect” option to take time to pause and reflect on recent activities, thoughts, and moods.

You can also set “Breathe” and “Reflect” reminders, and the watch will keep track of how long you’ve spent on these activities with the “Mindfulness Minutes” feature.


  • long battery life
  • Mindfulness app reminders to pause and reflect
  • measures blood oxygen levels and other indicators of heart health


  • expensive

Teplin recommends trying out multiple types of mood trackers to find which works best for your lifestyle.

If it seems like you might forget about your mood-tracking journal on your desk but can’t ignore the mood-tracking app on your phone as you swipe by throughout the day, then opting for the app might make the most sense for you.

Wearing a tracker on your wrist like an Apple Watch or a Fitbit may be more convenient for people who tend to be on the go, or who also want to track additional health and well-being metrics — but these come at a much higher cost.

Teplin stresses that consistency is key, so it’s important to pick a tracker that you’re most likely to use regularly, and to make sure you’re charting not only your negative emotions but the positive ones as well.

“I often find individuals mood track when they’re feeling a negative emotion, but this does not enable them to see the full range of emotions or the patterns they’re experiencing,” she says.

So, it’s best to choose a tracker that you’ll remember to use, both during lower moods and higher ones.

How do mood trackers work?

Teplin says mood trackers enable you to note your emotions and feelings in a given moment. Journals, apps, and smart gadgets like watches or fitness trackers are wellness tools that allow you to stop what you’re doing to log your mood, emotions, feelings, etc.

Some people find that mood tracking can help them identify what triggers a certain mood or emotion.

What is the best way to track your mood?

The best way to track your mood is by doing it consistently. Teplin explains that tracking your mood daily, or multiple times a day, will allow you to see patterns throughout your week, month, year, or any other time frame.

When it comes to the specific method of mood tracking, like using a journal or app, you may want to try a few different options to find what works best for you.

Is mood tracking a good idea?

According to Teplin, mood tracking “is a great idea for anyone who wants to better understand their mood or emotions throughout their days.”

She says this can allow you “to make shifts for more positive experiences based off of the data you receive from mood tracking.”

Managing stress, anxiety, and sleep can help you have a more holistic approach to mental health and wellness.

Fitness trackers are now equipped with tools and features, such as sleep tracking, guided breathing sessions, and reminders to pause and reflect that can help you on your wellness journey.

You can also log your moods through free apps on your smartphone or by writing them down in mood journals.

Keep in mind that these are all still just monitoring tools — they shouldn’t take the place of other mental health resources like therapy, if it’s available to you.

If you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition, consider speaking with a healthcare professional to learn about available treatment options.