In 2015, one of my colleagues founded Cogtoolz, a company that creates academic and wellness planners which include tools from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in their design.


One of the self-care tools that Cogtoolz uses is called GRAPES. GRAPES is an acronym that stands for these categories:

  • Gentle with self
  • Relaxation
  • Accomplishment
  • Pleasure
  • Exercise
  • Social

GRAPES can help make feeling good a daily habit. It serves as a simple reminder to take steps towards physical activity (exercise), commit to completing a task whether big or small (accomplishment), interact with one person or more (social), etc.

It can be helpful for people dealing with anxiety, depression, stress, or anyone looking for some balance in their daily routine.



I wanted to show examples of how GRAPES can be used in daily life and thought about creating an image series called “#selfcare.” I used Canva to add the text. All of the images were ones I had taken and were already stored on my computer.

These images (or similar ones) were initially posted on Instagram, but I plan to post them and later additions to the Cogtoolz Tumblr with more details as a caption.


  • In hindsight, I don’t think the hashtags (#cogtoolz and #grapestool) at the bottom are needed since Instagram and Tumblr incorporate tags into their captions. I might remove these.
  • In lieu of #cogtoolz, I could include the logo instead.


This post is originally posted by Tiffany Lagare on Context and Conditions.

Losing weight, getting organized, and saving money tend to top the most common new year's resolutions. We are quick to think about our physical health (which of course is extremely important), but let's not forget to add some mental health goals for the new year! This is your year for better self care! It can be anything from keeping a gratitude list, joining a support group, making time to relax each day, doing daily mindfulness exercises, or improving your sleep! Think about strategies that keep your stress and anxiety levels at bay and that help you feel more peace. It's not too late to include mental health in your 2016 goals! In fact, it's never too late! #mentalhealthgoals

#wellness #selfcare #selflove #mentalhealth #hope #inspiration #stress #anxiety #depression #bipoloar #ocd #ed #mentalhealthawareness #newyearsresolutions #health #goals #cogtoolz


November 03, 2015


Our busy lives, often times, don’t allow us to see the greatness of our accomplishments. In our daily runs for checking tasks off of our due lists and being bombarded with reminder messages from our coworkers, friends and family members of more to do lists, we forget the simple recognition of who we are and what we have already achieved just this very day.

We compare and contrast and compete and convince ourselves that we have not done enough! The spiral of not doing enough turns into not being enough, leaving us with a mentally exhaustive state of loneliness, disappointment, frustration, and hopelessness.

What if for a moment we step back and take a break? What if the thought of not being enough is just a story created based on everyone’s expectations of us and who we should be? What if we are not just good enough but great! Gratitude is the simple realization and appreciation of our greatness with all the flaws, all the imperfections, who we are or are not. Feeling grateful for whatever exists in this very moment and whoever you are in this very moment cultivates happiness, optimism and empathy! Practice this every day and see how much more energetic you feel each day!

Let’s start now:
What are you grateful for today?!

Written by Paddy

Toolz Box

Hello Cogtoolz Comrades! If you're looking for more resources on how to use the toolz in your planner, check out our Toolz Box on our website. You'll find information on GRAPES, Thought Records and Tracking, Depression and Anxiety scoring, and more! You can also find the Safety Plan for download, under Resources. Have ideas for more tools? Or, want to share your own examples? Let us know! You never know who you may help by sharing your story.

- Christina


My name is Gianna and I am a teen. I am experiencing one of the most crucial points in my life. I am growing and discovering more about myself every day and I am building the person I am to become. At this time, caring for my mental health is a very important task. After reading ten of the facts I learned about mental health at this crucial time of being a teen I hope you will see the importance too.

  1. One in five young people suffer from a mental illness.
  2. Of those teenagers, only thirty percent will be diagnosed and will be able to receive proper care.
  3. Around 20 to 30% of teenagers will experience one episode of major depression before reaching adulthood.
  4. Teenagers with undiagnosed mental disorders are at risk for committing suicide, for doing self-harm, for dropping out of school and for spending time in juvenile detention–for over ninety percent of individuals who commit suicide are reported to have suffered from a mental disorder.
  5. Therefore more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease
  6. Approximately 1 in every 12 children and teenagers exhibit self-harm and over ninety-five percent of these cases are due to a mental illness.
  7. Over 50% of teenagers with severe mental illnesses drop out of high school.
  8. About 95% of children in juvenile detention suffer from a mental disorder and may times suffer from more than one disorder.
  9. Today in America, 4 million kids and adults suffer from a serious mental disorder.
  10. But unfortunately, only four percent of the total health care budget is spent on protecting the mental health of the American citizen. [i]

Being a teenager is tough. If you are experiencing any symptoms of a mental disorder, know that in no way are you alone and that there are many people that want to help. Always be kind to yourself and make sure to properly care for your mental health. For more information on teen mental health check out the Teen Page on the Cogtoolz website.

For relief, check out the apps Pacifica and Mindshift as tools for self-help. However in no way does this replace seeing a physician or professional mental health. For more immediate relief call the suicide hotline at 1 (800) 273- 8255.

[i] Citation: "Federal & State Policy Legislation." NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI, July 2010. Web. 12 June 2015.

What is Grapes?

June 12, 2015


It’s the simple things that end up making big differences! Whether you are looking for more balance in your life or you are having a hard time getting out of bed because of depression, scheduling activities for yourself can help increase your energy and improve your mood. Take time for yourself to practice good self-care. GRAPES is an activity scheduler that can help you keep track of your progress and give you a sense of accomplishment. There are 6 types of activities and they can be as simple or as challenging as you make it.

Remember, it’s about progress, not perfection! Do your best to do most tasks each day. If you can’t, pay attention to specific areas you may be missing and aim to do those more the next week. Even if you don’t feel like doing something or you have very low energy, going through the motions will eventually help your mood to improve. So, what is GRAPES exactly? 

GRAPES is an acronym that stands for:

  • Gentle With Self
  • Relaxation
  • Accomplishment
  • Pleasure
  • Exercise
  • Social

Each day, choose a simple activity from each of the different categories. GRAPES is great for anyone, but particularly can help with those who experience anxiety and depression. Here’s an example:

G – Reflect on an enjoyable moment

R – 10 minutes of meditation

A – Make a healthy meal

P – Watch a movie

E – Go for a 20 minute walk

S – Invite a friend for lunch

Check out this video for more examples! Or click here for a free PDF that you can print out. Give GRAPES a try! If you’ve tried it, tell me what you think!

Check out this article in the Daily Aztec! At that time, we entered the competition as “GRAPES Planner”. We are so honor to be part of the Zahn Innovation Center at SDSU!

Keep it Simple

June 05, 2015


“Doing GRAPES every day seems so overwhelming!”

You can start your daily GRAPES with very simple tasks. With time, you’ll progress and aim to do more. Eventually, you might even start doing GRAPES every day, naturally. Start somewhere. Start easy. If you’re having difficulty getting out of bed or out of the house, here’s an example of some tasks to get you going:

G – Forgive yourself for something

R – Tense and relax your muscles while in bed

A – Grab the mail from outside

P – Listen to a favorite song, or sing it yourself

E – Do some stretches in bed

S – Wave hello to (or smile at) a neighbor

Think: Action over Motivation. Sometimes waiting for the motivation, keeps us at a stand-still.

Once you start to do some of these things, even if you don’t feel like it, you’ll start to increase your energy, improve your mood, and gain back some enjoyment that you may have lost. It may take some time to do all your GRAPE tasks each day and move on to more challenging tasks. If you can start simple and keep it realistic, you’ll start to feel changes within yourself soon enough.