Symptom tracker

Use the symptom tracker worksheet to identify when and where your most troubling symptoms occur and how effective you are in coping with them.


Distressing symptoms can take many forms. In depression, symptoms could include episodes of hopelessness and rumination; in anxiety disorders, it could include avoidance of feared events or situations or unnecessary safety-seeking behaviours; in generalised anxiety disorder it could include worry and indecisiveness; in post traumatic stress it could include intrusive memories, flashbacks or nightmares; in OCD it could include intrusive thoughts, urges, doubts or images and the associated rituals and compulsions that you feel obliged to perform; in insomnia it could include not being able to get off to sleep, having broken sleep through the night, or waking early and not being able to get back to sleep; in physical health problems it could include pain or fatigue.


Whatever the specific symptom, one of the ways in which CBT can help you to gain control over troubling symptoms is by keeping a record of when and where the symptom occurs, how you tried to manage the symptom, and how effective you were in tackling it. This record starts by providing a baseline for how often and how severe your symptoms are. If you regularly record your symptoms and your coping behaviour, over time this can help to increase your confidence that you can manage both the symptoms and the distress associated with them.


Start your symptom tracker diary by recording the date and time when you experienced the symptom. Then record the situation you were in and what, if anything, appeared to trigger the symptom. Write down in as much detail as you can what the symptom was and how it affected you. Record how distressing you found the symptom and how long it lasted for. Then write down how you tried to cope with the symptom, which could include strategies you and your therapist have devised in your CBT sessions. Record how effective your coping behaviour was and, finally, your reflections or observations about the symptom and how you coped on this occasion. Over time you will see how keeping a record of your symptom episodes, and the ways you cope with them, help you to become more effective in managing symptoms.


Show instructions
Symptom episode 1
Trigger: where were you and what was happening that could have triggered your symptom?
Symptom: what was the symptom that you experienced?
Coping: what did you do to try to cope with your symptom?
Observations: what are your reflections on this episode and how you coped with it?
Symptom episode 2
Trigger: where were you and what was happening that could have triggered your symptom?
Symptom: what was the symptom that you experienced?
Coping: what did you do to try to cope with your symptom?
Observations: what are your reflections on this episode and how you coped with it?
Symptom episode 3
Trigger: where were you and what was happening that could have triggered your symptom?
Symptom: what was the symptom that you experienced?
Coping: what did you do to try to cope with your symptom?
Observations: what are your reflections on this episode and how you coped with it?
Symptom episode 4
Trigger: where were you and what was happening that could have triggered your symptom?
Symptom: what was the symptom that you experienced?
Coping: what did you do to try to cope with your symptom?
Observations: what are your reflections on this episode and how you coped with it?
Symptom episode 5
Trigger: where were you and what was happening that could have triggered your symptom?
Symptom: what was the symptom that you experienced?
Coping: what did you do to try to cope with your symptom?
Observations: what are your reflections on this episode and how you coped with it?


You can email the details of the form to yourself (or your CBT therapist, if appropriate), print it out, or download it as a pdf. If you want to save your entries so that you can work on them later, you can click "Save". You can delete your settings by clicking on "Cancel" when the page is reloaded and they will be deleted automatically. You can also click the "Clear" button at any time to reset the form and delete your saved data. Saving the data uses local storage, which means your data is never passed to us. Some browsers do not allow local storage. If you have a problem saving, check whether a different browser, or a different device, might work better. Your confidentiality is very important to us so your saved data will never be sent to us or shared. If you use a shared device, or think that another person might get access to it, please consider the risk of accidentally breaching your own privacy before choosing to save, email or download your use of these resources.