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Are you struggling to overcome your cigarette addiction? You aren’t alone. The CDC estimates that 34.2 million American adults are regular smokers. Around 16 million people are struggling with a disease caused by smoking or secondhand smoke.
The good news is that 59% of smokers are able to successfully quit. Unfortunately, the process isn’t easy. You need to consider all possible strategies to make your smoking cessation plan a reality. One idea that you might want to try is starting a diary.
Journaling isn’t one of the most common activities for people that want to give up smoking. However, WebMD and other health experts state that it can be very helpful. Lirio Covey, Ph.D., a smoking cessation expert from Columbia University advises patients to keep a journal.
How Can Journaling Help You Quit Smoking?
In 2012, the study combined pharmacotherapy and behavioral interventions for smoking cessation found that behavioral changes could play an important role in quitting smoking because they could help address the psychological element of nicotine addiction. Journaling could be an effective way to accomplish this.
There are several reasons to consider starting a diary when you are trying to overcome your nicotine addiction. Here are some benefits to keep in mind.
You Can Identify Your Triggers Better
You might have a hard time keeping track of your feelings day-to-day. This can make it harder to identify your most common triggers.
You will have an easier time recognizing emotions that tempt you to smoke by keeping a journal. You might have noticed that you have cravings during these periods:
- You are stressed out on your commute to work during rush hour.
- You are enjoying some drinks at your favorite bar with your friends.
- You are on your way to a weekly meeting at work.
- You are having a fight with your spouse about your child’s grades.
You might barely give each of these scenarios a passing thought each day. You might not recognize that they are situations that keep making you want to smoke a cigarette.
You will be more in tune with these feelings if you keep a journal. You can read through it and recognize the situations that cause your cravings to spike. This is helpful because then you know that you need to do something about it, such as using tobacco alternatives from Black Buffalo.
You Can Use Cognitive Conditioning To Make Smoking Seem Less Appealing
Throughout the day, you are going to encounter situations where you have a massive urge to light up a cigarette. As stated above, these situations are often triggered by something other than the physical withdrawal of the nicotine itself. You might be feeling strong emotions that you want to respond to with a cigarette.
You can use a diary to reframe your perspective. You will remember the negative feelings that helped drive your cravings. If you read your journal entries later, you might learn to associate your cravings with the unhappy feelings. This might make smoking feel less appealing.
You Can Be Honest About How Much You Are Really Smoking
It is easy to deceive yourself about the severity of your addiction. You might want to believe that you are smoking less than you really are.
You need to be honest with yourself if you want to overcome your dependence on nicotine. You will have a more accurate recollection if you keep a diary. You should record the number of cigarettes that you smoked every day. You should also keep track of your purchases. It is a good idea to review your journal entries and compare your purchases with the number of cigarettes you have recorded smoking. If the math checks out, then you know that you are keeping accurate records.
When you keep clear records of the cigarettes that you smoke, you will have an easier time identifying moments where you relapsed. This can help you make changes to avoid those moments of weakness.
You Can Learn To Be More Encouraged By Your Progress
One of the great benefits of keeping a diary when you are trying to quit smoking is that you will be able to track your progress. You can compare the number of cigarettes that you smoked months earlier to the number that you are smoking today. If you have a cut back considerably, then you can feel encouraged by your progress.
You can also see how your feelings have improved. You will probably feel less depressed and physically healthier as you cut back. You can read older journal entries to see how much worse you felt as a heavier smoker whenever you need a reason to resist the urge to smoke again.