Do you accept the 200 Gratitude Challenge? What is the 200 Gratitude Challenge? It is sitting down to do a type of active meditation whereby you list 200 people, things or concepts that you are thankful for as you review the past year or thinking about a new beginning to 2021.

It is always important to start something new with excitement, and a positive outlook. But considering the year most of us had in 2020 that may seem a difficult task. So, when all else fails, we always have gratitude. It is one of those things that just opens you up. You may be experiencing a more difficult emotion like, anger, frustration or even sadness especially as we consider the challenges of a pandemic and its effect on our daily lives. But, once you set your focus on gratitude, it’s as if a slight crack is opened through a window. Even the darkest of rooms will be infiltrated with light by just a small ray or a stuffy room be revived by the tiniest gust of air through a small opening.

This is how the concept of gratitude opens us up and shifts mood and energy.  This is why although it may seem silly, this is actually a very helpful exercise to change the current mood and uplift the spirit as we start the New Year.

So how easy or hard is this challenge? When I first started, the most important people in my life filled the top spaces. One thought led to the next and it was easy. Right around the 47 mark is when things began to get interesting. When words like “fan”, and “humidifier” were added as I scanned the room I was in. And of course I thought, these are very important as I began to rationalize their value granting them a spot on this list. Then you wonder if you can even think of 150+ more things to write about! But then you get a burst of ideas and off you go. Some were so deep that I even shocked myself. The most important part of this exercise is that you take time out of your busy day to purposefully think about those things that you realize you are grateful for in this moment.

One thing is for sure, at the end of it, you will feel a sense of accomplishment. This is a good feeling to kick off the New Year for sure. If that weren’t reason enough, you will notice that there are many things to be grateful for even as we, collectively, lived through the hardest year of our modern history.  In 2021 keeping gratitude handy for those difficult days can be a lifesaver.

Have fun with this and may you be well.

Yessica D. Avancena, LMFT, MBA, CMT