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Life’s Competitions…Making the Perfect Sandwich

The other day I was making lunch, just a simple turkey sandwich. I realized half way through the process that the act of making a sandwich had become totally anxiety provoking.  Not because making a sandwich is hard or challenging but because I found myself having to do it RIGHT.  How do you make a sandwich, right you might ask?  Well, in my world you make it efficiently and quickly with the least amount of steps.  I plan ahead carefully to know exactly what steps I need to take so I don’t waste time needlessly opening up the fridge or using too many utensils. In the process I become the Tasmanian Devil of Sandwich Making.  Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?

Was I in a hurry?  No.  Was I entering some master sandwich making competition? No.  Was I needlessly stressing myself in response to some inane voice in my head?  Yes.  
Every now and then I notice myself rushing frantically to finish a task.  I stir myself up in to a frenzied ball of anxiety and adrenaline for absolutely no reason at all.  
Some great examples of this include: 
  • Getting through the grocery store in the most efficient, fastest time. 
  • Putting the groceries away in the fastest time possible. 
  • Taking the BEST route home and making it without delays or problems.
Yes, sometimes it is fun to make a game out of errand running and cleaning.  But when ‘the game’ becomes anxiety provoking and an excuse for your mongers to come out and tell you what an awful person you are then the fun is gone.  
I like to think my life is important but honestly there is very little that I do in a day that should involve elevated blood pressure and a sense of panic.  Sometimes as I am driving I will look at the other drivers and see their panic ridden faces.  Honestly, what are we all doing that is so damn important?  For those of us who become addicted to worrying, these mini competitions become an easy place for us to get a quick hit of anxiety and worry.  
So when I get stuck in line at the grocery store even after I debated and analyzed each lane to pick the “right” one or when traffic is backed up and there is no alternative route I can take, I remind myself to breathe and ask what’s the rush?  Then I put on my favorite song or strike up a conversation with the person behind me in line or simply think of 5 things I am grateful for that day.  Bottom line rather then amping myself up in these situations I use them as an opportunity to slow down and pause.  
Today pay attention to your own mini-competitions with yourself.  What are you really winning?  
Photo Credit: Kait Marie via Flickr

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