Index

  1. Introduction
  2. Menu
  3. Core Data
  4. Stay Well Strategies
  5. Triggers
  6. Symptoms
  7. Notes
  8. Customization
  9. Charts and Reports
  10. Research
  11. Notifications
  12. Feedback
  13. Rating the App




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1. Introduction

Optimism is a quick, easy to use app that is powerful for helping you understand your mental health. It is used by people managing depression, bipolar and other conditions, for maintaining good health, and as a self-help tool.

Optimism helps you to keep a detailed record of all things that affect your state of mind. By monitoring patterns in your life you can identify negative influences that you need to avoid, early warning signs that your health is deteriorating, and the inputs and activities that benefit you most.

Optimism works as a standalone app, or in conjunction with the Optimism Web App and desktop software.




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2. Menu

All of the screens in the app are accessed from the Menu menu.


Optimism Main Menu

By pressing the "Change" button in the top bar you can select any date in the past to review your records for that day.




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3. Core Data

The core fields measure your mood, how well you coped with circumstances during the day, amounts of exercise and sleep, and the quality of your sleep. There is also a field for recording whether you took medications (if relevant) below the visible screen. All of your entries to the Core Data screen are displayed in the charts and reports.


Core Data

The Customize button in the top toolbar accesses another screen, where you can change the field labels to suit your own circumstances. As an example, if you are more interested in tracking your mood throughout the day than how well you coped or the quality of your sleep, then you could change the first 3 labels to "Morning Mood", "Afternoon Mood" and "Evening Mood".




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4. Stay Well Strategies

In the "Stay Well Strategies" screen you can record things that have benefited your health during the day.

Stay Well Strategies


The screen is populated with some common wellness strategies. The Customize button in the top toolbar accesses another screen, where you can change the field labels to suit your own circumstances. There is more information on the Customize screens in section 8 below.

With each strategy that you select you have the option of adding a "rating". This quantifies the extent to which the strategy applied for the day. As an example, you might record the number of glasses of water that you drank.

All of the records that you enter in the Stay Well Strategies screen, including ratings, are displayed in the reports.




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5. Triggers

In the "Triggers" screen you can record the things that negatively affected your mental health during the day, i.e. things that "trigger" symptoms or produce the early signs of a problem.

The screen is populated with some common triggers. The Customize button in the top toolbar accesses another screen, where you can change the field labels to suit your own circumstances. There is more information on the Customize screens in section 8 below.

As with the Stay Well Strategies screen, for each trigger you have the option of adding a "rating". This quantifies the extent to which the trigger applied for the day. As an example, you might experience stress at home which you know can set off a decline in your mood. On a day in which you experience stress you would select the field "Stress at Home" and optionally quantify the level experienced by adding a rating of 1 to 10.

All of the records that you enter in the Triggers screen are displayed in the reports.




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6. Symptoms

In the "Symptoms" screen you can record the symptoms, or early signs of a decline in your health, that you experienced during the day.

The screen is populated with some common symptoms. As for the "Stay Well Strategies" and "Triggers" screens, the Customize button in the top toolbar accesses another screen to make changes to the fields. There is more information on the Customize screens in section 8 below.

For each symptom you have the option of adding a "rating". This quantifies the extent to which the symptom applied on that day. As an example, you could record the level of irritability that you experienced during a day by selecting "Yes" for the "Irritability" field, and apply a rating on the scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is very low and 10 is very high.

All of the records that you enter in the Symptoms screen are displayed in the reports.




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7. Notes

The Notes screen is for keeping a daily journal, or to add additional information to expand on your entries on the other screens.

All entries to the Notes screen are displayed in reports.




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8. Customization

You may find that some of the fields in the default setup are not specific to you, and there are other things more relevant that you would like to track. Making changes to the fields is possible through the Customize screens. These are accessed from the toolbar in the Core Data, Stay Well Strategies, Triggers and Symptoms screens.

Core Data customization is touched on in 3. above. The following notes relate to the Stay Well Strategies, Triggers and Symptoms screens.


Customize screen


In the Customize screens any of the field labels can be changed. If you have already entered records into a field, and then decide to change its label, you will be asked if you want to keep or delete your past entries for that field. You may want to email yourself a report first as a permanent record before deleting the entries permanently.

Fields can be turned off using the "Display Field" switch. Any that are turned off will not appear elsewhere in the app.

In many cases you will find that applying a rating isn't intuitive, in which case you can turn off the corresponding rating slider (using the "Slider" switch). Any sliders that are turned off won't appear in the app (e.g. the "Adequate Sleep" field shown in section 4 above).




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9. Charts and Reports

The Charts provide a good visual summary of the information entered in the Core Data screen. By looking across dates you can get a snapshot of how your mood and your ability to cope with life (or your resilience) has changed over time. Direct comparisons can be made with exercise, amount of sleep, and quality of sleep. A small capsule icon is displayed under the bottom chart for each day that you checked "yes" to the question "Did you take your medications?" There is a small pen icon for days in which you have made notes. These notes are displayed in Reports.

Charts

The reports provide another way to view your data. They include all of the entries that you've made to the app for the date range that you select.



Reports

Your charts and reports can be sent in PDF form to any email address. This gives you the option to view and print them in a larger format, and easily share them with a mental health provider if desired.




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10. Research

Optimism Apps is committed to contributing to mental health research. We are currently collaborating with George Washington University in a study on the impact of mood charting on the clinician-patient relationship (therapeutic alliance). A message appears on the Research screen, asking users to consider volunteering for this study.




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11. Notifications

In the Notifications screen you have the option to set up periodic reminders to use Optimism. These reminders are triggered at your selected times if you do not already have the app open.

Notifications screen


Reminders can be set to once each day at a time that suits you, or at more frequent intervals.

You can change the style of alerts and turn sounds and badges on or off, in the Notifications screen of the device's Settings app.




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12. Feedback

Questions and comments about Optimism are warmly received. The feedback button in the bottom toolbar of the main screen opens an email message addressed to the developer. You will receive a reply to any email within 12 hours.




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13. Rating the App

This Optimism iPhone app experienced persistent connection problems in versions 1.0 and 1.1. A small proportion (but significant number) of users had a poor experience of the app, and as a result it has a very poor rating on the App Store.

If you are benefiting from using the app then please consider rating it on on the App Store. This will help its overall rating to more closely reflect this version rather than the earliest ones.

The other Optimism Mood Chart apps are now free, so please visit our website for more information.

Thanks.