Reading the title of this article, the first thing that comes to your mind is why I should write a mood diary. It may follow up with the thought you don’t have any mood problems and am not suffering from any mood disorders. That may be true but the reason for keeping a mood diary is to help you and figure yourself out as you endure the daily stressors of life and your job as a correctional officer. It is a surefire way of keeping an inventory of your emotions and thoughts so that you can keep track of those things that bother you or make you happy or sad.
Law enforcement officers (LEO) rarely deal with their own emotions. Viewed as a weakness to seek help there are many obstacles to finding out how to manage yourself when under stress or anxiety caused situations. Asking for help is just not a reasonable option given to LEO officers and therefore rarely done to eliminate or diminish the need for exploring the feelings experienced.
Focusing on your moods is different from admitting you have a mood problem. It is nothing like you might think it is but when you write things down and keep an internal dialogue with yourself you may find out things about yourself that can make you better and calmer about how you do your job or handle your personal life. It solves two problems; you don’t have to open up to others and the only one that knows what you write down in the diary is yourself keeping it confidential and for your eyes only.
The diary is a means to identify your wants and needs. You can do this two ways – you can draw how you feel or you can write and articulate your emotions as you experience them in real time. You might be surprised how you would draw out what you are feeling as it helps to reveal how you feel inside your mind and heart rather than focusing on words. It gives you a real link to the reality and use your intuition to make things better for yourself.
There is no format or wrong way to write this journal or diary. It can be done in any format you wish to develop as long as it works best for you. You don’t have to worry about grammar or any other formal gestures or symbols but only how you feel and express yourself. Timing is everything to make it come together for you in an effective manner.
Try to write it or draw how you feel the same day or the next but never wait till you can’t remember how you felt at the time you were doing something or what you were thinking at the time. Try writing questions why you felt the way you did or why you thought the about the issue at hand that triggered your emotions.
Reflect as much as you can. Ask the who, what, when, where, why and how to answer your own questions. If you chose drawing instead of words let your imagery reflect how you expressed or felt that moment that symbolizes your mood at the moment. For example if you are angry draw something that reflects your anger and make it clear to yourself this represents your mood at the time.
Reflections should focus on how you are feeling at the moment. Has anything like this ever happened before that made me feel this way? Why do I feel this way and when did I feel this way in the past. Connecting the dots in your life helps you put together a reflection that can help you to deal with your emotions effectively and composedly.