[App Fridays] Journaling app Daylio lets you track daily moods and habits and helps improve mental health


Daylio is a journal, mood tracker and diary rolled into one. Insights into your personality and behaviour are laid out in the form of data charts.

What is journaling? Of course, we know what it entails. But, is there a cogent definition?

One creative writing guide describes it as “a written record of your thoughts, experiences, and observations. You can write in your journal daily, or only when you feel the urge.”

Some of us have journals that we religiously write in every night, but in the age of the internet, journaling has taken on a new avatar. Gone are the ‘Dear Diary’ entries, post-its, and calendar highlights. Daily records are now kept on mobile phones, and personal diaries have been replaced by journaling apps.

While there is no accurate estimate on the number of people who use journaling apps, the downloads on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store indicate that these are fairly popular, especially among millennials who really do have a lot to document about their fast, eventful lives.

Scores of journaling and mood-tracking apps have flooded the app stores. It is almost hard to pick one because they all look good, are well-designed, and serve more than one purpose. Plus, most of them are free.

Daylio, a mood-tracking journal and diary, is one such app. It enables you to maintain a beautiful private journal “without having to type a single line,” as the description on iTunes claims. It works as a journal that displays your mood and behaviour patterns, helps you find correlations between activities and moods, alerts you on possible mental illnesses, and more.

Last month, prior to World Mental Health Day, Google listed Daylio in its Editors’ Choice section. It is also one of the top apps in the lifestyle category on Play Store. Daylio has recorded over five million downloads on Android, and is rated 4.8 out of 5 on both iTunes and Play Store.

Daylio marries the old-world charm of journaling with the new-age convenience of emojis, hashtags, reminders, alerts, and calendar trackers.

Your inputs — emojis and icons, no words — are collected, analysed, and then displayed in the form of beautiful data charts that reflect your daily, weekly, and monthly moods, their fluctuations, and cause-effect patterns in behaviour. Daylio essentially helps you address the question — is your life in balance or do you need to make tweaks?

Therapists have now started recommending journaling apps to patients. Researchers say these apps make people more proactive and productive, and help them understand their own selves and personalities better.

We spent some time using the app.

Daylio lets you start without any email or mobile number sign-in. Clearly, that’s a winner in times of the insecure internet.

You pick a language, first. There are more than 20 to choose from.

It’s a no-frills app. So, the very next page asks you to enter ‘mood’. Time and date are auto-selected. Users just have to choose an emoji depending on how they are feeling that day, that time.

Besides the five preset emojis that appear on the homepage, Daylio also lets users edit moods. You get to pick from a range of free as well as paid emojis.

To avail unlimited moods, infinite reminders, automatic data backups, multiple colour themes, and an ad-free experience, you can upgrade to Daylio Premium. It is a one-time purchase product available at Rs 199 in India.

Besides moods, you can also add your daily activities to the journal. Work, friends, date, sport, party, movies, shopping, dining, and more - take your pick, and click on the suitable emoji. Here too, you can add your own activities, along with a ‘note’.

Depending on your entries, the app allots you mood badges such as Going Strong, Mighty Streak, Busy Bee, Colourful Life, What a Year, and more.

Next is stats - the most attractive feature of the app. Users can browse through charts on average daily mood, monthly mood, monthly activity count, achievements, and so on.

These charts allow you to gauge you mood swings, fluctuations in behaviour, monotony of life (are you picking the same activity every day?), etc. and help you make the desired changes.

You can click on the ‘Calendar’ option and get a month-wise record of your moods for all 30 days. For people who cannot make an entry every day, Daylio allows you to go back in time for missed entries.

In Settings, you can opt for reminders, and set a time for it too. You can check your weekly reports and achievements, change language, colour themes, as well as export entries (premium feature though) to PDF or Excel sheets.

Lastly, you can scroll through your list of daily/monthly entries. The app prompts you to add multiple entries in a day that helps you work on your lifestyle better.

Should you get Daylio?

You totally should.

It is undoubtedly one of the top journaling apps out there. What makes it worthwhile is that it is not just a mood-tracker, but a habit-tracker too. And its ability to match moods with activities on a day-to-day basis offers great insights into your mind, body and soul.

You can actually bring about lifestyle changes if you diligently use Daylio. So, for instance, if you tend to be bored or ‘meh’ at certain times of the day, you can consciously divert your attention during those times, and pick up an activity that uplifts your mood.

Or, if there is a certain activity, say movie watching or late-nights at work or eating out, that you’re doing too much of (your calendar entries will tell you all), you can choose to bring about changes. It will not only lead to different mood entries, but also lesser mood swings and overall better mental health.

So, what are you waiting for?