“Actively appreciating” chips, dip & life in general.

Dear chips and dip. I love you.

As I sit here dipping way too many kettle cooked potato chips into some leftover onion dip from our Father’s Day BBQ, I’m reminded yet again that it’s really the simple pleasures that bring you happiness. Sure, this feeling of contentment is most likely fleeting (and will probably only last as long as I’m shoving chips into my mouth), but if I can wholeheartedly appreciate the moment, I know it’ll last longer. Right now I’m savoring the creamy texture and salty flavors that are bursting on my taste buds (and satisfying yet another PMS-driven craving!) and I’m deeming it as my calorie-ridden crankiness crusher.

I’ve been reminded on several occasions over the past week to have this sort of “active appreciation” mentality. The first time was when I posted on my Facebook page that it was a good start to the day simply because I was alive. I kind of giggled to myself when I was typing it because it sounded so…basic. And then when someone commented “just add breathe”, it got me thinking that when you break down life to its bare essentials–to what’s really important–you tend to be far less irritable when you’re thankful that you’ve actually been given another day to live and breathe. Another day to make choices that can guide you to a happier place.

Then, while sulking on the car ride home from my physical therapy evaluation for my back, I heard a radio spot that immediately stopped any “poor me” thoughts that I had running through my head. The woman in the commercial is talking about her heart. “The heart that was broken twice in the eight grade, the heart that leaps out of her chest whenever she watches a scary movie, the heart that she thought would burst when she first laid eyes on her son, and the heart that sank when she heard that she needed cardiac surgery.” She goes on to say that she put her heart in the hands of some great surgeons–and now she has a heart that doesn’t take a single beat for granted. Her words (which sound far more dramatic when you’re actually listening to the commercial) quickly put things into perspective for me; namely to quit my moaning and acknowledge that I’m blessed to be as healthy as I am!

To drive home the whole being grateful in-the-moment point even further, I was directed to a story in the HuffPo via my friend’s blog about being thankful for what you have on a continuous basis (and where I learned the term “active appreciation”). So as I put away my half-eaten bag of chips and onion dip (and actively appreciate that I don’t yet have a stomach ache!), I ask you to climb aboard my gratitude train. Let’s take the time to be thankful for what we have while we have it. Let’s pay attention to the crankiness crushers, big and small, that can make our days brighter. And let’s make a pact to NOTICE and APPRECIATE the good stuff before we let anything or anyone cloud our vision. Deal?!

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