Writing in my journal is part of my morning routine. Each day upon awakening, I grab a cup of coffee and head to a quiet spot for a little reading, meditation and journaling. Typically, I turn on some classical music and gaze out at the trees and garden outside my window for a few minutes. I purposefully focus on taking a few deep, even breaths before plunging into a short reading from an inspirational book. I meditate on the reading and drink a little coffee as I let my brain wake up.

Once my brain is fully engaged, I write a three item gratitude list and do a free write of whatever comes to mind. For me, this practice allows me to process and let go of many of the stressful things I encounter in my daily life. I am able to clarify actions I need to take or let go of things that are ruminating in my mind. I have kept a journal at least sporadically, since I was 12, but this daily practice of journaling with the gratitude list became a daily activity for me when my life was particularly challenging during my separation and divorce from my first husband in 2007.

Most of the time, I meditate and journal in a specific chair in a small bedroom I reclaimed for myself as a 50th birthday present. I call this space my refuge. It is only a 9 x 11 bedroom, but has given me a space to center, develop my personal yoga practice and write both in my journal and through class assignments from Life in 10 Minutes and Cindy Cunningham Writes.

Over the years, my journaling style has changed. Initially, I wrote only when something big was going on in my life that I wanted to process, or when I was on vacation and had extra time. For decades, the walks I took on the beach during family vacations led me to write long refelctive entries. I also noticed that my journaling increased when I meditated regularly or spent time in nature. In many ways, it feels like journaling is a way for me to connect with my higher power and to listen to the still quiet voice within that I can only hear when I am able to silence the noise around me and in my head.