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How to nudge your way to happiness. Friday May 6, 2016

Caroline here, with some news about our original co-founder Jon Cousins, who moved on from Moodscope in 2013.

It was Jon's personal battle with depression that led him to devise Moodscope. Jon has maintained his pursuit of tracking (and lifting) mood, and has just written a book called "Nudge Your Way to Happiness," that cleverly combines these two ideas.

I asked Jon to tell me a little about his approach to writing it. Here's what he said:

"First and foremost, thanks so much for allowing me back onto the Moodscope blog for a day. I also want to say an enormous "well done" to your brilliant team of contributors who keep it running seven days a week. I have to say, it's a huge pleasure to read the posts, which I still do just about every day.

Looking back to when we started Moodscope, it was mainly because a hospital psychiatrist asked me to keep a record of my mood for three months, but gave me no way to do so. I therefore turned an existing and respected mood test into a kind of playing card game I could carry round in my pocket, using it to rate my mood every morning.

In the book I tell the extraordinary story of taking these cards to an appointment with another psychiatrist at the same hospital, only to be initially greeted with what I can best describe as hostility. He implied I was doing something dangerous.

Wait, what?

Apparently he believed patients couldn't be trusted to play a part in managing their own mental health. I know he was the psychiatrist and I was the patient but quite honestly, it made me wonder who was the crazy one.

If you suffer from low mood, OF COURSE it makes sense to look after yourself.

Sorry for shouting, but if you don't do it yourself, who else is going to?

I've kept up my mood tracking now for nine years, and it still really helps. I've also been able to build up a range of actions I can take when I need to give myself a lift, and others that help me maintain my mood when - for once - it's better.

"Nudge Your Way to Happiness" is a 30 day workbook that combines a tracking system that enables you to rate and record your wellbeing every day with "nudges", some of those simple and practical actions I've learned. You can take them immediately and they're designed to really help you. Best of all, a bit like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book, you're directed to a nudge that's been tailor-made for your current level of wellbeing.

With three possible nudges for each of 30 days, I've calculated that there are over 205 trillion combinations possible, just about guaranteeing that everyone who uses the book will get their own personalised experience."

We think Jon's book is great and could help many of our members. It's now available on Amazon:

Kind regards

The Moodscope Team

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Rachel Fri, May 6th 2016 @ 6:05am

The links don't work can we have another please or the title so we can look it up?

Eva Fri, May 6th 2016 @ 6:44am

Hi it's called Nudge your way to happiness (in top paragraph) links working for me.

Fantastic achievement Jon, I shall purchase this next pay day, looking forward to trying out the nudges.

Paul Fri, May 6th 2016 @ 7:34am

It's great to hear John is doing well, I often wonder how he has done since handing the reins over.
The book sounds just what I need.
If you are reading this John well done you for starting moodscope and good luck with book I hope it's a huge success you deserve it.


Zareen Fri, May 6th 2016 @ 8:01am

I found that Jon Cousins narrative of how he began Moodscope excellent. Sometimes professional pyscatrists perhaps don't want patients to help themselves as they are afraid to loose control & they may like a top-down approach in managing their patients. Maybe they have a vested interest in keeping them dependent!

Hopeful One Fri, May 6th 2016 @ 8:01am

Hi Caroline- great to get some news about Jon since he left Moodscope. He has obviously been busy. I will see if my local library can get me that book. The "mood" section of my book shelf is pretty full so Jon has some competition for shelf space I am afraid!

Here is a short laugh- one is never completely dressed without a smile on one's face.

A doctor says to a man, "You want to improve your love life? You need to get some exercise. You need to run ten miles a day." Two weeks later, the man called the doctor. The doctor asks, "How is your love life since you have been running?" He says "I don't know, I'm 140 miles away form home!"

Sally Fri, May 6th 2016 @ 8:06am

The two books of Jon's I ordered came yesterday. I can't wait to get reading my copy. The other is for a friend who doesn't know she's being gifted it yet. Jon is an amazing guy, and has done a lot of good to me and others in sharing so generously his ideas and lively and perceptive messages. Many has been the day when I have been impatient to receive Jon 's blog, and I couldn't believe my ears when I heard him years ago interviewed on a radio programme and his ideas for Moodscope sounded the very thing I needed!! It was truly amazing that someone out there had perfected this idea for self helping moods that was so very user friendly and, what's more , that he was prepared to share it with the public at large . Saving the likes of me time, money, and further distress! Armed with a self help tool, I feel in control of my own moods and no psychiatrist is going to be sending me down the wrong track, or doctor filling me with unnecessary medication, because I am aware of what is causing low moods and high moods in a way I never was to the same extent before... Jon, you deserve a medal. I am sending you a big virtual one. It is so heavy and glossy you will have to find an extra strong hook to hang it on, and it is made of pure gold. Enjoy!! Xx

Vincent Sat, May 7th 2016 @ 4:40am

Good points!

The Gardener Fri, May 6th 2016 @ 5:37pm

I like the concept - have kept diaries for 30 years - looked back to this time last year - life just as bad - still here - but I'm a year older, and Mr G's atticude much worse - I KNOW he's ill, mentally, but watching the physical deterioration, not necessary, and knowing he can't wait for me to wheel him around is grim - my physical energy is being sapped by mental stress. The positive cards get low scores because I KNOW that enthusiasm will get me nowhere but frustration

LillyPet Fri, May 6th 2016 @ 6:41pm

Hi TG, You have achieved so much during that year, as hard as it has been. You have had to dig deep to get by and I for one am glad that you are able to take us with you as you go. Sending warm wishes. LP xx

Vincent Sat, May 7th 2016 @ 4:47am

I am sorry for what you have been through. But don't give up, life will get better for you sooner or later, just hold on.

LillyPet Fri, May 6th 2016 @ 6:30pm

Hi Caroline,
Jon's book is winging it's way to me as I write!
Moodscope's moodtracking cards are so easy to use and by observing my patterns, I find it easier to pinpoint the very understandable reasons rather than making them about things that are "wrong with me". The visual charts make it easier for me to see what my own norms are and taking some control over remaing around there.
finding the Moodscoper community and the daily blogs has been a huge bonus. I'd like to add my thanks too for all your hard work Caroline.
I'm enormously grateful for Jon's inspired creation and agree that from his blog I'm sure the nudging workbook will be a very practical and user friendly resouce.
It's a beautifully warm and sunny start to the weekend in London. Feeling blessed :) LP xx

Suzy Fri, May 6th 2016 @ 7:00pm

Yay!! What a treat to have Jon back for a day. Ahh. So, so pleased to hear of his book. All the very best to him. :-D

the room above the garage Fri, May 6th 2016 @ 10:50pm

Thank you Jon, you gave us a place to belong, a very big deal for many of us. Wonderful to hear from you again. Love ratg X.

Vincent Sat, May 7th 2016 @ 4:35am

First, thank Jon for writing this book. If only there is a kindle or PDF version that I can download from authorized websites after buying it, because it is a little trouble to purchase a book from in China.
second, I read the limited pages on amazon, I found Jon mentioned he take the test he made for himself in the morning, while I have been take test on Moodscope in the evening, because I think my mood state in the night can better reflect the quality of today. You know, Moodscope can just save the last test score for each day, and the test score will be different if we take the test in different time within a day. So when would you guys like to take the test? why?

LillyPet Sat, May 7th 2016 @ 7:57am

That's a really good point Vincent. I take it in the morning only because it's easy to remember and convenient. I'd have to change my routine to do it in the evening, but my scores would probably be better as I still feel very tired on some mornings. Thanks :) LP

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope Sat, May 7th 2016 @ 9:25pm

Hi Vincent, we would recommend taking the test in the mornings because then the events of the day won't affect your score. For some this isn't possible as there's not time, so if you can't take it in the morning, take it whenever is best for you. As you said, the most important thing is to take it at the same time each day so that you are comparing like with like. Kind regards. Caroline

Vincent Sun, May 8th 2016 @ 9:38am

OK, Thanks!

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