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Smoking Cessation Health Center

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Stop Smoking by Writing

How I wrote my way out of smoking -- online.

Writing Helps You Deal With Emotions as You Quit Smoking

Writing not only helps you identify tough times and roadblocks to quitting, it may also help soothe your emotions as you quit smoking. Some researchers are now studying how useful it is to have an expressive diary or other options for getting out your emotions -- like a blog or online forum -- while kicking the habit.

"One thing I know is that writing things down in whatever form you choose really helps. It makes you more committed to the cause and gives you an outlet when things seem grim or impossibly difficult," wrote Tony, one of two British friends who chronicled their quit journey online at "Help Me Quit Smoking."

"We know that the practice of writing down your feelings is very therapeutic for certain conditions and addictions, particularly if they are fueled by emotional factors," says Lirio Covey, PhD, director of the smoking-cessation clinic at Columbia University in New York.

Tips for Writing to Help You Stop Smoking

How can you make the most of journaling, blogging, emails to friends, or other ways of writing about your experience to help you stop smoking?

  • Don't do "parking lot journaling." Covey notes that some of her patients would fill in their stop-smoking journal in the parking lot before coming to see her. The journal is about you, not about getting a gold star from your doctor!
  • Periodically review your past entries, emails, or forum posts to see if they contain clues to your smoking triggers. If you broke down and had a cigarette on Sunday, how were you feeling? What were you doing? Write about what you can do to prepare for the next time you feel that way.
  • Take advantage of online communities for support. In addition to the ALA's Freedom From Smoking program, you can seek support on WebMD's Smoking Cessation Message Board or post your own journal at Quit Smoking
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Reviewed on January 07, 2010

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