Writing for Better Health, Part 2
Before you start writing, set the mood for inner exploration. Take a few moments to relax, get centered and become aware of what you are experiencing internally. You may want to play some favorite relaxing music, do yoga and breathing exercises, or pray before you start. Try to suspend judgement and self-criticism, and allow your thoughts and feelings to flow unrestricted onto the page. You will often be delighted and surprised by the wisdom and insight that you possess about yourself and your smoking.
Some journal exercises that have been helpful to smokers in the quitting process are:
Make two lists of the things that you love and hate about smoking. You might want to put them side-by-side on the page to compare the lists; this particular exercise is more poignant when done this way.
Make a list of all the reasons that you want to quit smoking. This list is invaluable when you are craving a cigarette and cannot remember all the good reasons why you wanted to quit.
Think of at least five blessings that you have in your life and list them each day in your journal. Even if you repeat some of your blessings, it is important to list and appreciate them for that day. This exercise has wonderful side effects in helping to improve your appreciation and awareness of the good things in your life.
Brainstorm a list of activities that will help you cope with cravings, transform unpleasant feelings or manage stress. Try to think holistically, and find a variety of activities that will address different needs and interests in your life.
Brainstorm three lists of personal goals for personal health, personal affairs and relationships, and career or education. Your goals are your dreams, so allow them to soar even if they seem unrealistic at the time.
Write a farewell letter to cigarettes and smoking.
Write a welcoming letter to your new smoke-free self.
Record inspirational sayings and quotations that will keep you motivated to quit smoking.
Write as if your body were speaking to you and telling you what it needs to improve its health from the effects of your smoking. Write about the gift that is present in the challenge of learning how to quit smoking.
Your journal is private writing that is done for your benefit, and not written for an audience. That is why it can be so helpful to you. I like to date my entries so that I can look at them later for a historical perspective on my writing. Your journal will increase your motivation to quit, deepen your capacity to cope with cravings, and make you more self-reliant. As a substitute for smoking, I recommend it highly!