Leah Dieterich began writing one thank-you note every day, each addressed to someone or something she was grateful for. From thanking tiny hairs that are so satisfying to pluck to thanking a bee for stinging her face in the same spot where she already had a swollen lip, Dieterich finds something – anything – to be grateful for every day. 

She published this little book full of her letters of gratitude, “ThxThxThx: Thank Goodness for Everything,” and it is a delight. But that’s not what inspired me to write today. 

When I first learned about this book a few years ago, I went to the address thxthxthx.com, which I had heard was the site of her thank-you-note-a-day blog. Only the blog wasn’t there. The page was blank other than plain, black text reading “ThxThxThx Book” in the middle of a white screen. 

Years later, it is still blank. I know this because even though I sometimes decide to get super organized and close almost all the tabs on my phone, I never close this one. And so, on many days, the first screen I see when I click on my phone’s browser is a stark, white screen with only “ThxThxThx Book” appearing. Whenever I see it, I pause for a moment before opening a new tab. And in that moment, I challenge myself to think of something small I’m thankful for before the new tab opens. Here are the small things I wrote a mental thank-you note for today: 

Thank you, small, sour blueberries, for making the big, dusty-colored, sweet ones taste even better.

Thank you, world, for aligning exactly 14 hangers in the laundry room to perfectly match the 14 shirts needing to be hung up from the dryer.

Thank you, windy day, for making the water in the pool look like the smallest waves in the ocean and reminding me of a beach vacation.

Thank you, stern warning message on my laptop, for telling me I need to stop and plug in and giving me a reason to take a break.

I’ve noticed that in these small moments, when I pause to notice what’s right and good, I feel a sense of calm. And that feels nice.

What might you pause and say “ThxThxThx” for today?

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.