Anyone who’s a Facebook user has seen all sorts of trends come and go. Usually they’re something pretty silly, like changing your profile picture to your favorite childhood cartoon, or updating your status with what color underwear you’re wearing. But another trend I’ve noticed lately is the 30-day photo challenge, which asks participants to take daily photographs according to prompts, like something that inspired you that day or someone who made your day.
This trend, though I haven’t done it, resonated with me more than the others. It’s obviously not really a life-changing initiative, but at the same time, it still has a good message to appreciate and reflect on every day of your life, which is sadly not something that we remember to do in our day-to-day existence. The prompts range from more obvious ones, like a picture of someone you care about, to some that are more thought provoking, like a picture representing an aspect of yourself that you hope to improve.
The point of this project seems to simply get people to slow down and take the time to actively seek out special moments in your life so that these days don’t just fly by. In my own experience, I tend to get bogged down with the trivial demands of my everyday life, and I’m sure it’s the same for many others. We get swept up in all of the little tasks to be completed, like chores and homework that needs to get done.
And the busier we are, the less likely it is that we’ll carve time out of our schedules to do nothing more than sit down and reflect on less pressing concerns, like our ultimate goals in life and trying to elucidate what motivates and inspires us — but maybe it would be healthy for us to do so. It sounds like a pretty cathartic experience to me, like a mental yoga session. After all, there must be so much in our lives that goes unappreciated.
Another similar personal challenge that I’d recently been introduced to is the 100-object challenge. The point of the challenge, obviously, is to limit oneself to no more than 100 objects for a certain amount of time.
If you think about all of the material possessions you interact with on a daily basis — every pencil, article of clothing or eating utensil you use — the difficult part of this challenge becomes readily apparent.
While the photo challenge seems to try and get people to appreciate the little things in your life, the 100-object challenge seems to encourage people to consider what are our bare essentials. It’s difficult to reduce ourselves in this way, especially in a world that’s seemingly fixated on having excess and convenience above all else. But such a minimalist challenge forces us to consider what is ultimately most important and critical to us, and it’s almost guaranteed that most things are not.
The 30-day picture challenge and the 100-object challenge are just two examples of a number of ways to perform this self-cleansing. And that self-cleansing and self-awareness is important for maintaining a healthy existence.
According to a 2001 article in Psychology Today, the simple way that we think can have an impact on our overall mental and emotional health. The article also suggests that individuals can overcome depressive feelings simply by keeping track of their thought processes throughout the day and by making a conscious effort to overcome these negative patterns.
But we didn’t need a psychological study to tell us that this is true. It’s not only common sense, but something that we experience every day, whether consciously or unconsciously. We all have that negative friend that always seems to have something to complain about every day, and simply being in this person’s presence leaves us feeling slightly less motivated than we did before.
In my opinion, it’s just human nature to want to feel like there’s meaning to your existence, and appreciating your life and getting to know yourself better is just one step in discovering that meaning — we just have to remember to make the conscious decision to actively pursue those goals daily.
Editorials Editor Catherine Cai is a College junior from Atlanta.