Mood Meter

mood meter chart

The mood meter was created by the psychologist James Russell in order to identify emotions and to reduce misinterpretation.

What is a mood meter?

A mood meter is a tool or visual representation that helps people identify their emotional state. It is designed to provide insights into one’s emotions and help promote emotional awareness and regulation. It is basically a graph that measures two key attributes of any mood: energy and pleasantness. This simple matrix gives us a way to categorize hundreds of moods into four key types depending on their levels of energy and pleasantness. For example, if you’re experiencing a high energy, very unpleasant feeling, you would look at the 1st quadrant. Are you enraged, or merely angry? These distinct shades of emotion have very different implications on how you feel.

Quadrant 1: High Energy and Low Pleasantness (e.g., angry, stressed)
Quadrant 2: High Energy and HighPleasantness (e.g., happy, cheerful)
Quadrant 3: Low Energy and Low Pleasantness (e.g., lonely, disgusted)
Quadrant 4: Low Energy and High Pleasantness (e.g., loving, relaxed)

Mood meters can also consist of a graph or grid that categorizes emotions based on their intensity and valence (positive or negative). A common type of mood meter is the “mood wheel” or “emotion wheel,” which divides emotions into different categories and shades to represent their varying intensities. These wheels can be used to pinpoint and label how someone is feeling at a particular moment.

The concept of mood meters is often used in therapeutic and educational contexts, such as in psychology, counseling, and emotional intelligence training. By using mood meters, individuals can better understand their emotional fluctuations and develop strategies to manage their feelings in healthy ways.

Mood Meter Chart

Free printable mood meter that you can download as an image or a PDF chart. Print the chart in color or black and white.

mood meter chart
mood meter
ruler mood meter


Understanding Emotional Patterns – RULER Emotion Method

In the book “Permission to Feel”, the author, Marc Brackett Ph.D., presents the RULER method.

RULER is an acronym for five important skills:
  1. Recognize your emotions.
  2. Understand what caused the emotion.
  3. Label the emotion (you can find it in the mood meter above to help you label it). Labeling strong emotions with accuracy makes them less scary.
  4. Express the emotion in accordance with cultural norms and the relevant social context.
  5. Regulate your emotions. Regulating emotions is not about suppressing them. It is about fully accepting them and learning how to live with them in a productive way.

The first three skills allow us to practice identifying our emotions. The last two allow us to develop the skills needed to deal with them.

What are the Benefits of Using a Mood Meter?

Using a mood meter can offer a range of benefits that contribute to emotional well-being, self-awareness, and improved interpersonal interactions. It can facilitate a deeper connection with your emotions, foster personal growth, and contribute to healthier relationships with yourself and others. It’s a practical tool for enhancing emotional well-being and developing emotional intelligence. Here are some key benefits of using a mood meter:

  • Enhanced Emotional Awareness: A mood meter helps you become more attuned to your emotions. It encourages you to regularly check in with yourself and identify how you’re feeling, fostering a deeper understanding of your emotional states.
  • Improved Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence involves recognizing, understanding, and managing your own emotions as well as the emotions of others. A mood meter can contribute to developing emotional intelligence by helping you identify patterns in your emotions and those of others.
  • Effective Emotion Regulation: By tracking your emotions on a mood meter, you can identify triggers that lead to certain emotional states. This awareness empowers you to regulate your emotions more effectively, using strategies like deep breathing, relaxation techniques, or engaging in activities that help shift your mood.
  • Healthy Communication: Understanding your emotions and being able to label them accurately can lead to better communication. When you can express your feelings clearly, it becomes easier to convey your needs, concerns, and thoughts to others, enhancing interpersonal relationships.
  • Stress Reduction: Monitoring your emotions with a mood meter can help you recognize when stress is building up. With this awareness, you can take proactive steps to manage stress before it becomes overwhelming.
  • Conflict Resolution: Improved emotional awareness and communication can contribute to more effective conflict resolution. By understanding your emotions and those of others involved in a conflict, you can approach disagreements with empathy and find mutually beneficial solutions.
  • Personal Growth: Consistently using a mood meter encourages self-reflection, allowing you to identify personal growth opportunities. As you become more aware of your emotional patterns, you can work on areas that require improvement and celebrate progress.
  • Mindfulness and Present-Moment Awareness: Using a mood meter encourages you to be present in the moment and engage in regular self-assessment. This mindfulness practice can help you become more connected to your thoughts and feelings.
  • Better Decision-Making: Being in touch with your emotions can lead to more informed decision-making. When you understand how your emotions might influence your choices, you can make decisions that align with your values and long-term goals.
  • Positive Outlook: As you track positive emotions on a mood meter, you’ll likely experience a boost in mood. This positive reinforcement can help cultivate an overall positive outlook on life.
  • Goal Tracking: If you’re working on improving certain emotional aspects of your life, such as reducing anxiety or increasing joy, a mood meter can help you track your progress and make adjustments as needed.
  • Empowerment: Using a mood meter gives you a sense of control over your emotional experiences. It helps you recognize that you have the ability to influence and manage your emotions, leading to a greater sense of empowerment.

How to use a mood meter?

Using a mood meter involves a few simple steps to help you identify and track your emotional states. Here’s a basic guide on how to use a mood meter effectively:

1. Familiarize Yourself with the Mood Categories:
Understand the different categories or dimensions of emotions that the mood meter uses. Emotions are often divided into quadrants based on their intensity (high or low) and valence (positive or negative). Common categories include:

Quadrant 1: High Energy and Low Pleasantness (e.g., angry, stressed)
Quadrant 2: High Energy and HighPleasantness (e.g., happy, cheerful)
Quadrant 3: Low Energy and Low Pleasantness (e.g., lonely, disgusted)
Quadrant 4: Low Energy and High Pleasantness (e.g., loving, relaxed)

2. Print or Download a Mood Meter Tool:
Print our free mood meter or download it to your PC or phone.


3. Reflect on Your Emotions:
Throughout the day, take a few moments to pause and reflect on how you’re feeling. Consider the emotions you’re experiencing and their intensity. This step requires mindfulness and self-awareness.

4. Locate Your Emotion on the Mood Meter:
Determine where your current emotion falls on the mood meter. Is it in the high or low intensity range? Is it positive or negative in pleasantness? Find the corresponding quadrant.

5. Mark Your Emotion:
Mark the area on the mood meter that represents your current emotional state. This can be done by shading or coloring the appropriate section on the black and white version or marking the colored version.

6. Track Changes Over Time:
As you continue to use the mood meter throughout the day or week, you’ll create a visual representation of your emotional journey. You might notice patterns in when certain emotions arise or how they shift over time.

7. Reflect and Learn:
Regularly review your mood meter entries to gain insights into your emotional patterns. This self-reflection can help you identify triggers for certain emotions and develop strategies for managing them more effectively.

8. Practice Emotional Regulation:
Once you’re more aware of your emotional states, work on regulating your emotions. If you find yourself in a high negative state, for example, you can use techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness, or engaging in activities that bring you joy to help shift your mood.

9. Adjust as Needed:
Feel free to adjust your use of the mood meter to fit your preferences and needs. You can use it multiple times a day or just once, depending on how closely you want to monitor your emotions.

Using a mood meter is a tool for self-awareness and self-care. It can be especially helpful in building emotional intelligence and managing stress, but it’s important to complement it with other strategies for overall well-being.

Incorporating a Mood Meter into Daily Routine

Incorporating a mood meter into your daily routine can be a powerful way to enhance your emotional awareness and well-being. Here are some practical steps to help you integrate the use of a mood meter into your day-to-day life:

  • Choose Your Tool:
    Decide on the type of mood meter you want to use. This could be a printable feelings chart, the emotion code chart, wheel of emotions, feelings wheel, a mood ruler, a digital app, or even a simple journal where you draw your own mood meter.
  • Set a Reminder:
    Select specific times during the day when you’ll check in with your emotions using the mood meter. This could be in the morning, before meals, or before going to bed. Set alarms or reminders on your phone to prompt you.
  • Morning Check-In:
    Start your day by assessing your mood. Take a few moments to reflect on how you’re feeling and identify the dominant emotion. Mark this emotion on your mood meter.
  • Throughout the Day: Continue to periodically check in with your emotions. Whenever your reminder goes off, pause and use the mood meter to note your current emotional state. This helps you track changes and patterns.
  • Use Natural Triggers: Associate mood meter checks with specific events or transitions in your day. For example, you might use transitions between work tasks, meals, or breaks as cues to assess your emotions.
  • Journaling: Consider keeping a mood journal alongside your mood meter. Write a few sentences about why you’re feeling a particular way or what might have triggered the emotion. This adds depth to your emotional self-awareness.
  • Reflect on Patterns: Review your mood meter entries at the end of the day or week. Look for patterns in your emotions. Are there specific times or situations that consistently lead to certain feelings? Reflect on the insights you’ve gained.
  • Adapt as Needed: Be flexible with your approach. If you find that certain times of day work better for mood checks or that certain tools are more effective, adjust your routine accordingly.
  • Pair with Mindfulness Practices: Combine mood meter checks with mindfulness exercises. Take a few deep breaths or practice a short mindfulness meditation when you assess your emotions. This can deepen your self-awareness.
  • Practice Gratitude: Include a small gratitude check-in alongside your mood meter assessment. Note one thing you’re grateful for. This can help shift your focus toward positivity.
  • Share with Others: If you’re comfortable, discuss your mood meter journey with a friend, family member, or therapist. Sharing your emotional experiences can provide additional insights and support.
  • Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge your efforts and progress in using the mood meter. Celebrate moments when you effectively regulate your emotions or gain new insights about yourself.
  • Adjust Your Routine: Over time, adjust your routine as needed. If you find that your emotions are consistently in a certain quadrant, you might want to focus on strategies to shift your emotions in a more positive direction.

The goal of incorporating a mood meter into your daily routine is to foster emotional awareness and growth. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the journey of discovering more about your emotions and how to manage them effectively.

Consistent use of a mood meter can be incredibly insightful when it comes to understanding emotional patterns and gaining a deeper awareness of your own inner landscape. Here’s how using a mood meter can help users identify emotional patterns, recognize triggers, tendencies, and shifts in emotional states:

1. Tracking Changes Over Time:
Regularly logging your emotions on a mood meter creates a visual representation of how your emotional states change throughout the day, week, or month. This visual record allows you to spot trends and fluctuations that might otherwise go unnoticed.

2. Identifying Highs and Lows:
With a mood meter, you can see when you experience emotional highs and lows. This awareness can help you understand the situations or events that lead to these fluctuations, allowing you to build on positive moments and develop strategies to manage negative ones.

3. Recognizing Emotional Triggers:
By reviewing your mood meter entries, you can start to identify patterns in your emotional triggers. Certain situations, people, or environments might consistently lead to specific emotions. Recognizing these triggers empowers you to either avoid or manage them more effectively.

4. Noting Tendencies:
Mood meters help you recognize emotional tendencies—whether you tend to feel anxious in the mornings, joyful after exercise, or frustrated during meetings. Recognizing these tendencies can guide you in creating a daily routine that supports your emotional well-being.

5. Uncovering Underlying Causes:
Through consistent use of a mood meter, you might uncover deeper reasons for your emotions. For instance, you might realize that your irritability during certain tasks is linked to stress or a lack of sleep. This insight allows you to address the underlying causes.

6. Charting Emotional Responses:
Over time, you’ll notice how you respond emotionally to different events or challenges. For example, you might realize that you frequently feel stressed when facing tight deadlines or overwhelmed when faced with uncertainty.

7. Shifting Emotional Set Points:
Regularly using a mood meter can help you work on shifting your emotional set points. By identifying negative emotional patterns, you can develop strategies to break free from them and cultivate more positive emotional states.

8. Improving Emotional Regulation:
As you become more aware of emotional patterns, you can develop targeted strategies for regulating your emotions. If you notice a pattern of anxiety before public speaking, you can practice relaxation techniques or positive self-talk to manage that emotion.

9. Enhancing Self-Compassion:
Recognizing emotional patterns can foster self-compassion. You’ll see that experiencing a range of emotions is normal and that you’re not alone in your struggles. This can help you treat yourself with kindness during challenging times.

10. Making Informed Choices:
Understanding emotional patterns helps you make informed decisions. For example, if you know that you tend to feel more creative in the evenings, you can schedule creative activities for that time.

11. Enabling Personal Growth:
Identifying emotional patterns is a critical step toward personal growth. Armed with this self-awareness, you can consciously work on changing unproductive patterns and developing healthier emotional responses.

By recognizing patterns in your emotions through the use of a mood meter, you gain valuable insights into your internal world. This knowledge empowers you to make intentional choices, manage your emotions, and ultimately lead a more balanced and emotionally intelligent life.

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