Category Archives: Tips and Tools

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A toolbox, for all your tools

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Introducing the latest addition to WeFeel – a toolbox with emotional tools you can use on your own or with a care provider. The toolbox was on our project map from the beginning and has been the most requested item as we’ve introduced WeFeel to therapists and care providers over the past few months. Take a look at what the toolbox has to offer and give us some feedback in the comments.

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The landing page for the toolbox

The Toolbox Landing Page

My Goals:
Once you click on the toolbox icon you land here where you get a quick overview of how you are doing on the goals you have set. I find seeing the progress I’m making, and how much more I need to do motivating. This gauge shows the progress over ALL your goals, except the ones you have completed.

Self-Talk Scratch Pad
How we talk to ourselves has a big influence on us. Changing negative self-talk to something more positive is a great skill to learn. This gives you space to jot down things you want to say to yourself to improve that skill. If you’ve got a mantra or affirmation you like to repeat, this is a good place to put it.

Important People and Services
There are people and services you can rely on for help. Since WeFeel is available across many countries, those services can vary. Taking the time to put in services for your area and people you can rely on will help you if you get to a crisis. You might not need to call, just the reminder that they are there for you might be all you need.

Goals

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The Goals page

Goals are ways we improve ourselves. Even if you don’t have them written down, there are things that you want to do, places you want to go, or aspects of yourself that you want to change. Writing them down can be scary because it makes them real, but it also gives you a way to actually accomplish those things. The goals page gives you a place to write down your goals and keep track of your progress.

An important part of being able to accomplish big goals is to break them down into manageable parts. You list them here as sub-tasks, and as you check each sub-task off the progress meter for that goal will go up. You can add or remove sub-tasks as needed, so when life throws a monkey wrench that might have derailed you in the past, you can just make an adjustment to what you need to do.

The free version offers you one goal to track (hey, we gotta eat too!), but in the paid version you can have as many goals and sub-tasks as you want. That gives you the freedom to break really big goals into smaller sub-goals and subtasks that don’t seem too intimidating.

The goals list shows the goal and your next sub-task. Just tap on a goal to see all the details and check off the sub-tasks as you complete them.

Screenshot_20160730-163917Coping Strategies

As you learn to recognize your emotions by tracking them, you will also want tools to help you deal with them. You can create coping strategies on your own or with a councilor, therapist, or partner to have them in place before you feel them. These coping strategies integrate with the emotion tracking side. Whether you record emotions based on a scheduled or random prompt, or are feeling something strongly and decide to record it, a prompt will pop up reminding you of the coping strategy that you enter here.

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A coping strategy pop-up

For example, if you are working on anger management you can put in coping strategies for the various levels of anger. Then when you feel anger, those strategies will pop up and remind you in the moment.

In the free version you can add a coping strategy for your Outlook. The paid version offers coping strategies for Outlook, the 6 core emotions, and the custom items you track.

Medications

The medications page is a place for you to write down any medications and supplements you might be taking. While WeFeel isn’t designed to remind you to take medications, we know it is hard to remember all the complicated names and dosages every time you are asked to provide a list. This lets you have it with you on your phone when you need it.

There you have it — the toolbox in a nutshell. We look forward to hearing what you think of the toolbox and how you use it.


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Visualization to let you see what you feel

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In the world of emotions what you feel right now colors what you remember you felt before. And that’s ok — it is just how the human mind works. Usually this doesn’t cause too much difficulty, until you are trying to work through a complex emotional problem on your own or with a therapist, or if you are suffering from depression, anxiety or other mental illness. If you track your emotions on a regular basis, in the moment, you have a way to overcome that. A paper emotion journal is good for that, but you’ll have to go back through the entries, page by page and even then you’ll only have a feeling of what was going on. This is where WeFeel excels over a paper journal. All your emotion entries in the cloud means we can show them in a variety of ways. For you, that means you can SEE what you’ve been feeling, and so can anyone you share it with.

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The dashboad on a tablet

The dashboard starts off with a view of your outlook trend. By default the dashboard pulls in the last 10 entries, but you can use the filter button at the bottom to choose any number of entries up to 21 or 180* depending on the version you use. More than that, the Outlook trend gives you the ability to see how your outlook has changed over time. Using the other filters with outlook trend will let you see if a specific location or activity affects your outlook. For example, if you have a better outlook in one location than another, you might want to take some time to consider why  this might be and what you can do about it.

Core emotion trends chart

Core emotion trends chart

The core emotion quick summary shows you two things: the strongest amount you have felt each emotion and the average intensity that you feel each emotion. You can get a better view of your core emotions by going to the Core Emotion Trends chart. On a phone, just use the arrow to go to the next page, on a tablet click the straight face icon and you’ll see a chart of how you’ve been feeling. Any filters you’ve set carry through all your pages views. On the core emotion trends pages you can also isolate individual emotions by turning the other emotions off by tapping on them. If you want to get an idea of why you were feeling especially happy or angry, just tap on that bar to see the note you wrote when you added that entry. These controls work the same for the custom* emotions chart.

The word cloud in the Themes from my Entry Notes

The word cloud in the Themes from my Entry Notes

Clicking over to the notes or journals* brings up a word cloud of what you write about most often, either in the quick note on an emotion entry or in a journal entry. The larger the word is, the more often you added it to a note. This gives you a quick way to see the why behind what you are feeling. This provides an easy way to start a conversation about your emotions, especially with a therapist or loved one.

There is a lot more you can do with the dashboard and filters, so we invite you to play around with it. If you find a cool way to see something, please share it with us in the comments.

*These features are part of the paid subscription version.

 


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Data in the cloud means it’s everywhere you are

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WeFeel works WITH you and your life. This isn’t an additional thing to buy and keep with you; WeFeel works on the smartphone, tablet, and (soon) desktop computer you already have. So you won’t need to worry about keeping track of or carrying one more thing, or upgrading another piece of technology (updates to WeFeel are included with your subscription). And, WeFeel works with the other “wearables” you own. We currently have support for the Microsoft band. Next up is support for FitBit, Apple Watch, and then other wearables so you’ll have heartrate and other “fitness” information to go along with your emotions.

We want WeFeel to be available to anyone who wants to use it. Currently you can get it on all 3 of the major platforms (Windows, Android, and iOS). And you don’t have to buy it for each one. Your subscription follows you. That’s the beauty of the cloud. Once you login to WeFeel you can access your information and track emotions on your ipod, your android tablet, your windows phone, and (soon) your windows 10 desktop. Or your android phone and ipad. Or… you get the picture.

When you enter information on one device it becomes available wherever you access it. You don’t have to worry about entering information on your phone but not being able to see it on your tablet because the information you enter is stored securely in the Microsoft Cloud and can only be viewed by authenticated access.


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Mix and match emotions

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An emotion entry page with custom icons too.

A core principle of WeFeel is that emotions mix and combine, and aren’t polar opposites of each other.  You don’t have to be somewhere on a scale of sad to happy.  You can be both.

A key principle in our philosophy at WeFeel is that emotions are not considered opposites. One good example of this is melancholy – being both happy and sad at the same time. For example: losing a race to your best friend. You are happy for them and sad for you; at the same time.

WeFeel has 6 core emotions you can track: Anger, Joy, Disgust, Sorrow, Fear, and Love. Where did these core emotions come from? There a wide variety of emotion models and lists that have been proposed by psychologists and research scientists over the years. We took a look at many of them and compared them to see what they had in common and where they are different. And it came down to these 6 core emotions, plus surprise; which you can see is missing from the core emotion icons. We do want to track surprise, but since it is a fleeting emotion (and tracking shouldn’t take the place of or interfere with living your life), future releases of WeFeel will track incidences of surprise with biometrics like heart rate.

But human emotion and life experience is a messy and complicated thing. One way of thinking about emotion refuses to accept that emotion CAN be boiled down to just 6 core emotions. Recently, David DiSalvo wrote about this in Forbes “Let’s talk about your Litost, and Other Emotions We Feel But Can’t Quite Explain”. And this graphic that I came across over a year ago gives a good visual representation. UntranslatableEmotionsinLanguagesotherthanEnglishvsParrottsEmotionClassification_50ffbf93965deThere are so many words, in so many languages, to describe emotion, and each one is a valuable and different experience.

So how does one put the idea of tracking emotion in 6 categories together with the amazingly diverse things that can be felt? WeFeel tackles this in two ways. First, the 6 core emotions are not discreet. You can choose both sorrow and joy. (And if you really want to you can also add anger, fear, love, and disgust. There is not a limit on how many of the core emotions you can choose.) And you can choose a different intensity level for each emotion you select. Second, you can add a note to specify the exact word for what you are feeling. Or, if you don’t know a word for it, you can note the circumstances for what you are feeling.

WeFeel doesn’t limit your feelings. We understand that getting in touch with your feelings can be a complicated process – and we want to make it easier for you. Letting you record a combination of emotions with different intensities is just one way we help you improve your emotional awareness.


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What makes us different?

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There are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of apps out there that claim to make a difference in mental health. Many of them have a very different focus than WeFeel — they want to bring therapy and therapists closer to the people, or provide low-cost virtual therapy options. Some of them are trying to use various biometric data points like breathing, heart rate, and voice modulations to say how you feel. And a few of them let you track emotion in ways that might be similar to WeFeel.

So, what makes us different?

  • A core principle of WeFeel is that emotions mix and combine, and aren’t polar opposites of each other.  You don’t have to be somewhere on a scale of sad to happy.  You can be both.
  • We allow customization of what you track and when you are reminded to track those things.
  • We store data in the cloud so you can have it synced on ALL your devices.
  • WeFeel is as secure as you want to make it.
  • The dashboard provides visualization of your emotions through charts, graphs, word clouds, and more. This visualization can jumpstart therapy and make it more effective.
  • Users can opt-in to share their entries for research.

 

These differences are important to making WeFeel a solution that you can use to improve your life by increasing your emotional awareness. WeFeel isn’t a solution for all the mental health issues out there all on its own. It is a tool that you can use as an individual to better understand yourself. With better understanding you can improve your life and the lives around you. More importantly, WeFeel is a tool you can use with your therapist, whether you are in addiction recovery, individual therapy, marriage or family therapy, or in recovery from other mental health challenges. When you use WeFeel with your therapist you can make sessions more effective, and, we hope, reduce the  number of sessions needed to get to your desired outcome.

 


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Developing Emotional Awareness

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Being aware of your emotions is at the core of WeFeel. There are many reasons for this and one of them is the development of emotional awareness. Basically, you have to know what you are feeling to be able to remain in control. Otherwise your emotions remain hidden from view and control.

I discovered a good resource for emotional development. This site, founded by parents after their daughter’s suicide, hopes to “empower you with the knowledge and support you need to take charge of your life and make healthy choices.” One of the ways they do this is through a toolkit to develop emotional awareness to recognize and harness the power of your emotions.

“Emotions are the glue that gives meaning to life and connects you to other people. They are the foundation of your ability to understand yourself and relate to others. When you are aware and in control of your emotions, you can think clearly and creatively; manage stress and challenges; communicate well with others; and display trust, empathy, and confidence. But lose control of your emotions, and you’ll spin into confusion, isolation, and negativity.”

If you’d like to read more about developing emotional awareness (you could use the WeFeel app to help you along!) then find out more


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