Keep a smile file

There's negativity coming at us all the time, whether in the form of bad news, complaints, or criticisms. One of the best ways to counter bad news and bad situations is to identify a positive counterfact and reframe the experience. One of the best ways to counter complaints and criticisms is to keep a smile file.

What's a smile file? A place - physical or digital - to keep things that make you smile and feel good. I have a few different types of smile files.

I have a folder in my email inbox labeled LIFT that contains emails that give me a lift when I read them - compliments or nice thank you emails I've received from clients or co-workers. I've created this type of folder on the past several jobs I've had and it really helps. Just reading one or two of these reminds me I'm doing okay. Sometimes just remembering they're there makes a situation better.

I also keep a photo box of cards and notes I've received over the years. What a joy to flip through those items on a day when I'm feeling low. Keeping kind notes helps protect against loneliness: although there are several friends I wish I saw or spoke with more often, looking through these helps remind me of the strength of some long-term friendships. Not getting a lot of notes these days? You might want to save screen shots of nice texts you've received or save photos of happy times on your phone. And you might want to send out some nice notes yourself. 

One last type of smile file I keep is a list of things that can instantly lift my mood such as funny or inspirational YouTube videos, links to energizing songs, and favorite quotes. Need some quotes to get you started? Check out my new page at

Who is responsible for your happiness? You are. Create a smile file to give yourself a positive place to go when you're feeling low.

Photo by Andrew Pons on Unsplash

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