Writing for Better Health, Part 1

Keeping a journal is a healthy substitute for smoking, and a very effective self-help tool. Current research reveals that keeping a journal is not only good for your soul, but good for your health as well. Writing in personal journals and diaries is an ancient activity. Much of our understanding about everyday living, historical events, and philosophies comes from journals dating as far back as the Greek and Roman eras. St. Augustine, Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Darwin and Winston Churchill all kept personal journals.

Leonardo da Vinci carried his journal with him everywhere so that he could record ideas, impressions, observations, jokes and fables as they occurred. His journals are a delightful mix of art, science, philosophy and whimsy.
An old friend of mine used to tell me that “writing crystallizes thought,” helps us to understand ourselves more clearly, and makes dreams become reality. With journal writing, you can explore a variety of personal issues that promote or hinder your efforts to quit your tobacco habit. It is not limited to a single topic or a single result, and there are no rules. It is an activity filled with creativity, insight, empowerment and fun. Your journal is a sanctuary where you can truthfully write about your thoughts, feelings, relationships and experiences. Recent research has shown that journal writing relieves stress and helps to alleviate the progression of illnesses like arthritis and asthma. In my personal experience, keeping a journal has been an invaluable tool for understanding and solving problems, setting and accomplishing goals, and expressing my creativity and spirituality. Journal writing reveals what it means to be the person you are at the time you are writing. The process of your growth toward becoming an ex-smoker will be reflected within its pages.

To start, first choose something to use for your personal journal. Your journal could be a three-ring binder (which works well because it is easy to add or delete pages), or you might want to go to a bookstore or art supply store and buy a book with blank pages. Many attractive blank-page books are produced just for journaling, and it is fun to have a special book just for this purpose.

I recommend keeping your journal in a hidden place where people will not be tempted to read it. By doing this, you can be sure of your privacy and feel free to write openly and honestly about whatever you want.

Find nice places in which to write. When the weather is nice I love to sit on my porch in the morning, and in the winter I love to sit by the fireplace and write at night. You can also draw, add pictures or photographs, mind-map, or used colored pens or pencils to make your writing more fun, meaningful and insightful. Be spontaneous and do not worry about making corrections or revisions.

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