This tool will assist with:
- Journaling positives and negatives in each day
- Keeping track of mood / perceptions over time
- Goal setting based around positive thinking
About Life Charge
Life Charge is a simple journaling app, that allows a young person to log positive and negative events throughout the day, while providing each entry with a rating on a 3 point scale. The app uses a battery symbol to visualise the balance of positive and negative moments, as well as a longer term summary provided as a graph. The aim is to provide an easy way for young people to track their day for perspective and reflection.
Where to access this tool
Download for iOS
Note: This app is currently only available for the iPhone or iPod.
When to use Life Charge
The use of journaling has been well documented to provide a young person with insight, slowing down thoughts and allowing opportunities for reflection.
Suitable for use with young people 12+. The app can be used with young people with mood disturbances or to maintain wellbeing. It would suit motivated young people who are having difficulty seeing positives at present and are feeling overwhelmed. It could be used as a way of brief journaling or as homework, by asking the young person to document the positive and negative things that occur in their day.
The app could also be used in the context of variety of work that assists a young person with reflection and behaviour changes, such as mood moderating, addressing common thinking errors, self-esteem etc. We’ll often ask young people to keep various logs, journals or reflections in-between sessions - this simply makes it easier for them.
What young people thought of Life Charge
- Self-explanatory i.e. plus symbol = positive, cog symbol = settings, though it has instructions as well.
- It has a really clean and simple design that can be personalised a little.
- It’s very easy to use, and can be updated really quickly – just a few taps and you’re done.
- It enables you to view a graph of your mood over time.
- Has potential to be used for a variety of things i.e. good and bad moments in life, positive and negative plays in sport etc.
- The features are very limited, so it’s not very exciting to sit down and play with.
- It’s limited by the degree you can rate something as negative or positive.
- Not very customisable for an app that is meant to be all about you.
- It’s not very useful if you’re not working with a professional i.e. if you’re having a lot of negative thoughts over a long time, it doesn’t link you to any information or support.
Professionals’ advice on using Life Charge in practice
This app could be useful in reviewing negativity bias and challenging young people to try and balance their score to keep it in the positive.
Very useful with young people if data can be explored constructively with professionals in the first instance. After modelling how to use it and building understanding of how to use it for learning and progress over a few sessions, young people can then be encouraged to utilise this more independently and creatively.
Be mindful of young people who would struggle to identify anything positive independently, as they could potentially use the entries to reinforce negative mindsets.
I would get them to download it in session and go through it with them to show them what to do. I would let them know our intention for using this tool i.e. an information gathering exercise and for the purpose of this task, not to focus too much on whether the day ends with a positive or a negative charge as we are looking for general themes and patterns rather than how difficult things might be at present.
In subsequent sessions, I would explore what they have recorded to look for themes arising from the negative events in order to work on these and patterns of positive events to try to build on and create more opportunities for these.
Advice from young people
It takes time and effort to use this app as often as needed for it to be effective.
This app could be really useful for a young person to use with a mental health professional. The information stored on the app could be shared during appointments as a point of discussion, or to help a young person open up about things that might be troubling them – it’s often easier to show it, than to say it out loud.
Talk about the ‘share’ function, and when it might be appropriate or inappropriate to use this, especially in relation to social media sites.
This tool was reviewed by Georgia and Michael, young people from the ReachOut.com community. Professional advice was provided by Laura Allison (Psychologist), Joelle Kinsella (Psychologist) and Joy Georgey (Social Worker).