In October I decided to set myself a challenge, inspired by a few things I had read and some unrelated challenges friends were undertaking. Since I was already barely drinking there was no point giving up alcohol, and besides I wanted to do something that was challenging and enjoyable. Eventually I came up with the idea of 30 Days of Post. The challenge was simple: every day I would draw a name from my hat (literally a Brunel top hat) and write a letter to the friend whose name was drawn. I chose hand written letters because they take more thought than an email and feel somehow more special.

It proved trickier than I was expecting, not because it was sometimes hard to find the time to write a letter but also because the letters often turned out quite personal. They became an opportunity to tell those around me how important they were to me and how grateful I was to have them in my life. I also attempted to include something extra with every letter, such as a little drawing or a piece of origami, but this was not always possible.

An anecdotal psychology experiment found that showing your gratitude to others can improve your mood, and that was certainly reflected in my experience. It felt wonderful to scribe those letters, and it made me even happier to see the joy they brought when people received them. I am almost sad now that the challenge is over but I will certainly continue writing letters. However, there is one thing I wish I had done differently: I wish I had challenged everyone to make a list of their own and send some letters.

Having missed that chance, I am challenging you instead. Make a list of friends and family who you could write to and get started. Even if it's someone you live with! It doesn't have to be 30 letters, or even one every day, as long as you are sharing the feeling, but of course if you want to take up the full #30DaysOfPost challenge you are welcome to. I cannot recommend it enough!