This year I decided not to wait until November to get on the thankfulness bandwagon. At some point toward the end of September I rediscovered the stack of Thank You notes I had acquired over time and decided that it would be a good idea to put them to use, thus spawning October's challenge.
My goal for the month was to send out 2 boxes worth of Thank You notes to people in my life, essentially thanking them for being in my life and for the role they've played in making me who I am. I have been trying to make a point generally to actually share with people more of the things that I think and feel about them. Things like, "I'm proud of you." or "I appreciate you." or "You did that thing really well." I think that so often we think these things but they never get communicated to the other person, which is a shame because they are so nice to hear and can be so meaningful. I liked this challenge as a very concrete way to continue to push myself in that direction.
In the end I wasn't quite able to finish out both boxes, though I got very close. It was an interesting exercise to think about who in my life I appreciate enough to send a card to that also wouldn't find it socially awkward. It can be a fine line. At any rate, it was really nice to spend the month on the lookout for things and people to be grateful for. It also felt really good to explicitly tell people why I am grateful for them, especially people that I've never really told in person. It feels good to know that they know now.
Overall, I would consider this month a success. If you're looking for something geared toward being more mindful and developing a more positive attitude in your life, I would highly recommend some kind of gratitude practice. Even just looking for small things to be grateful for can have a big impact over time as your biases start to skew towards noticing more and more of the positives that are often overlooked in favor of focusing on the negatives. Confirmation bias, it's a thing and it, like any other power, can help or hinder in our lives, so we might as well use it to our advantage. Consider it a brain hack.