Daily Challenge: Take More Photos

Good morning (or afternoon, or evening, depending on your locale), my readers!

Today’s daily challenge will hopefully get you out of the box and thinking. Instead of a writing challenge, it’s a visual challenge. All you need is a camera – be it from a cell phone or other mobile device, or an actual camera, it doesn’t matter.

Your challenge for today is to take photos. If you had to describe your day to someone using ONLY photos – not words – what would you choose to photograph? How about if it was limited to 10 photos, or even five, or maybe just one?

Photography is a beautiful way for us to appreciate the world around us and the experiences we have in our lives. Some photographs can speak volumes; some have massive amounts of detail, while others are so simple yet say so much.

Some people might say that a photograph is nothing compared to the real experiences of life, and that’s definitely true. After all, seeing photos of your all-time favorite band in concert can’t even come to close to providing the true experience of being there in person: the music, the people, and that palpable taste in the air of the excitement and energy all around. A photo of a wedding can capture the smiling bride and groom, but it can’t capture the complete feelings of love and pure joy that surrounded the happy couple.

Photos are great for capturing moments, and if done right, they can capture emotions, too. But to make myself clear, photographs aren’t substitutions for real life experiences, and I’m not trying to speak as though they are.

This challenge is really about opening up your eyes to really experience your day in a visual manner, and to figure out how to best express that day to other people. Personally, I usually take photos to serve not as memories, but to jog MY memory in reflecting back on experiences I’ve had. If I think about a vacation I took years ago, I may not remember every experience, but looking back at photos brings up all sorts of swell memories, inside jokes, flashbacks of conversations, etc. It enhances the memories that I’ve already gotten.

So don’t use the photographs as an excuse to not fully enjoy or experience your day — but use them as a way to frame the context of your day.

Daily Challenge: Be Positive

Going along with one of this week’s earlier challenge — to smile — today’s challenge is related. Just two words to guide you through your day: be positive.

Realistically, this might be easier said than done sometimes. Not every moment in life is a happy one, and it’s perfectly normal and acceptable to be sad, angry, or any other range of emotions.

But sometimes – at least in my personal experience – it’s easier to be negative than positive. For instance, if you try out for a part in a musical — it’s sometimes easier to say “Well, I probably won’t get it” than to be positive and think “I kicked ass at that audition, I think I’ve done well!” That line of negative thinking drags you down, and sets you up with no expectations. While the positive thinking COULD lead to disappointment if you don’t end up getting the part, the negative thinking is doing you absolutely no good.

So today, be positive. Think about the good things in your life, rather than the not-so-good. Think about how great it is that you woke up this morning. Think about what you have in your life that many others may not have in theirs. Consider the idea of going through your day with a positive attitude, looking on the brighter side of things. Make a conscious effort to be positive today and see where it gets you. And smile! 🙂

Daily Challenge: Meditate For Ten Minutes

This isn’t the first, nor the last, time I’ll mention meditation on this blog. I think the importance of meditation can’t be understated. Whether you do it daily, weekly, or just once in a while, meditation allows you to focus on your breathing, calm yourself, and take a break from the outside world to bring a sense of peace to your life.

Today’s daily challenge is a simple one: meditate for 10 minutes.

Super easy to do, right? It’s just ten minutes out of your day — just 10 minutes of the 1,440 minutes each day offers us, which is not an unreasonable request.

Whether you choose to do this when you wake up in the morning and before you begin your day, when you’re ending your day and heading to bed, or in the midst of your day, is completely up to you. Each time offers its own unique benefits: helping you prepare for the day, allowing you to calm down from a busy day before a night’s sleep, or just allowing you to take a break and step away from the madness that can be everyday life.

Some people might read this and say “Well, I don’t know how to meditate.” In reality, there’s no “wrong” way. You might like music, or silence. You might have a mantra. You might sit, or lay, or find some other (yoga?) position. Here’s a few websites to help: Link 1, Link 2.

If you’re still not convinced, here’s a few websites highlighting the various benefits of meditation, including Forbes and The Huffington Post.

Daily Challenge: One Day, Tech-Free

Technology is one of the absolute greatest things in the modern world. Before we get into today’s daily challenge, let’s take a minute to appreciate what technology allows us to do. The inventions of mobile devices allows us to talk to anyone, around the world, no matter where we are, without being tied to a line in the wall. In the blink of an eye, we can check the news, weather, shopping lists, etc., all from the tips of our fingers.

Technology connects people; branches the gap between cultures, cities, nations; it helps to save lives, as is seen in the medical applications of technology. Without it, where would we be? Technology allows our cars to move, our planes to fly, and so much more.

So to go even one day without any modern technology would be nearly impossible. Many of us use computers or other modern tech for work purposes, or for school. We use to get where we need to go, to do what we need and want to do. Without technology, we might need to consider other hobbies, like running outside, or — God forbid — spending time with our family!

Today’s challenge is go one day without technology, as best you can. I’m obviously not saying to call into work and sit around staring into space all day. Consider your technology consumption and how often you may use certain devices, and try to break yourself away from that. Don’t check your email six times an hour. Leave your phone at home and take a walk around the neighborhood. Find ways to “connect” without being “connected.”

And yes – I know it’s easier said than done. But at the very least (and I’ve been trying to do this a lot more), if you’re spending time with someone – whether at dinner, watching TV, or just relaxing – put your phone down…. and leave it there.

Daily Challenge: Smile!

One of the greatest – yet simplest – things you can do, right now, to improve your mood: smile.

Now, I’m a realist. I know it’s not possible to smile 24/7. Stuff happens, things get you down, and I imagine smiling THAT much would be enough to crush your jaw muscles pretty darn well.

smileBut that doesn’t mean we can’t smile a bit more, does it? I think that’s one thing that may be lacking in some of our lives. It goes along with happiness and positive thinking, but today’s challenge is to find things to smile about. Whether it’s just grabbing your favorite snack at lunch, or seeing your favorite person, or winning $1 million dollars on a lottery ticket (don’t I wish!), there are things to smile about in almost every day.

So today, smile! Smile at yourself in the mirror. Smile when you walk down the street, rather than looking down at your feet with a nonchalant look on your face. Smile at someone when you hold the door open for them (but please don’t be creepy, okay?) Smile when you hear a great song, when you smell your favorite food cooking, or when you walk into your favorite place.

I’m not sure how true the saying is, that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. But it has been proven that smiling IS good for your health; it helps lower your heart rate, reduces stress, increases productivity and will also help encourage OTHERS to smile, too. So not only are you spreading smiles to yourself, you’re helping spread the happiness to others. You’ll boost your immune system, kill pain and produce empathy. (For more benefits of smiling, check out this piece.)

It’s easy, it’s free and it takes such little effort, so today — just smile!