2) Paper or Dry Erase Board. Some people keep a dry erase board or a pad of paper handy. When experiencing a significant mood shift, this is noted on the board or paper (whether a good, bad, or neutral mood). It may take some practice, both to remember to write the mood, and to remember to check for updates. Some partners will have a cue for updates — some use a red or blue piece of paper, putting it down next to the partner as a way of saying, “Check the board,” if the partner is unable to speak about the issue in the moment.
3) Color Magnets. Usually done on the refrigerator, some couples will assign colors for moods. When moods shift, a magnet of the color representing their current mood is placed in a designated spot on the refrigerator.
4) Formal Mood Alert. This can be effective both in communication between parters and as a personal relief for bad moods. The formal alert involves writing the emotion associated with the mood (angry, frustrated, sad, annoyed, etc.), and then writing a paragraph about what the issue is. This both informs your partner of what’s going on, and also helps externalize the issue, rather than keeping it inside and ruminating on it.
A word of caution: Understand that your partner may not be perfect at filling the role you need in the moment. You may want your partner to listen and talk with you to help you calm down. But from experience together, your partner may know that he or she gets pulled into the mood too easily and joins in, which actually brings conflict to the situation. Rather than stay and talk to you in those moments, your partner may opt to leave the room in order to keep things under control. This can be recognized as a positive relationship move, even if it means being unable to fulfill the ideal role in that moment.
Generally, the toughest part of the adding the mood alert is remembering to update the alert regularly, especially when in a dysregulated mood. But with practice it can become second-nature, and hopefully remove unnecessary conflict from your relationship.