What made you smile today?

Ruth Ridgeway
Urban Flower Studio

For years I’ve studied Positive Psychology.

I adore it’s teachings (it's changed my life), and yet there is one part - no matter how hard I’ve tried with it - that just hasn’t ‘clicked’.

That thing? Gratitude.

It wasn't only through Positive Psychology, but also friends, mentors, coaches and other peers would tell me over the years how much they loved writing a gratitude list each day and why it’s made such a difference to their own lives.

Feeling like I was missing out on something big, I kept with it - trying it in different and varying forms over the years...

I heard about making a list of ten things each day, so I (at first) tried that.

Finding it a heavy chore to do (and not feeling the ‘big change’ like everyone else), I gave myself a break and tried to come up with just three each day.

I then gave myself an even bigger break and decided to try to come up with just one real, meaningful one each day.

I tried taking photos each day instead of writing.

I tried reading them back to see if I could get that warm ‘grateful’ glow on the inside, and yet… Nothing.

And some point I decided to purely be kind and stopped forcing something that clearly wasn’t for me (as amazing as it was for others). 

It led me (by chance) to come up with my own question...

"What made you smile today?"

(...or this week, or this month…)

It didn’t matter if it was something big or something small, or even if it was just a tiny slither of something beautiful in an otherwise crazy, tough or demanding day - just, what made me smile?

Sometimes I wrote about spending time with a friend, or the extra big hug I received from my guy that made me feel safe and loved.

Sometimes I wrote about feeling the sun on my face that afternoon, or being able to go outside for the first time in months without a coat.

Sometimes I wrote about seeing my clients do/achieve something, or seeing a notification in my inbox that another copy of my book had sold.

It felt so much lighter (and so much more fun).

And, I noticed that the more I focused on what made me smile, the more I sought out even more experiences and moments like this, and the more I’d go on to create them (rather than wait for them) knowing how much they did make me smile.

If gratitude list writing is for you - PERFECT. 

If it’s not, that’s ok too. 

Maybe you’ll come up with a question or your own or maybe you’ll borrow mine (feel free to).

Maybe sometimes it’s not about being ‘grateful’ for the life you have, but creating one that makes you smile.

With love (and the biggest of smiles),

Ruth Ridgeway

PS... You can totally switch this question around and ask it in the morning too. Just word it…

“What would make you smile today?”

...and go do/add that into your day. Maybe it’s an extra long hug with a loved one, taking yourself to your fave bakery for lunch, or bunking off work early to steal a whole delicious hour to yourself.

These little things add up, and even though they can be just the tiniest of changes... They can change everything (and in the most beautiful of ways).

PPS... Want more joy (and smiles) in your day every day? Then you might want to consider joining The Lifestyle Designers Club. It’s an online community I run for women who want to enjoy more freedom, more self love and more joy everyday.

You’ll find info on how to join us (and see how others lives are changing) over here.