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About the Author

Dr Berni Sewell, PhD is a health scientist, energy healer and self-worth blogger. She is on a mission to make you feel good about yourself, no matter what. Download her free guide Instant self-worth: an easy 4-step solution to heal your self-worth in under 5 minutes a day” and start to boost your confidence today.

How to stop obsessive worrying (in 2 simple steps)
Feb 18

How to stop obsessive worrying (in 2 simple steps)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

Last week, I had to give a presentation about rapid cancer diagnosis services at a conference.

As you may know, I managed to overcome my severe generalised anxiety about 10 years ago. But the thought of standing in front of hundreds of people presenting my work still triggers a hefty fear response.

Whenever I thought of it, my stomach knotted and an icy steel hand attempted to crush my throat.

For two weeks, I woke up at 3 am, endless thoughts whirling in my mind like deck-chairs in a hurricane.

What if I go blank and embarrass myself? Will more qualified people question my methods and I won’t have the answers? Will the audience discover that I don’t really know what I’m doing? And what if I burp? Or fall off the podium?

All hope for a restful night’s sleep was wrecked by my unproductive rumination. And my days grew darker as the incessant worries fed my apprehension. Mutating a simple 10-minute presentation into a confidence-eating, mood-killing monstrosity, out to destroy me.

Just because, sometimes, I forget my own advice.

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The 3 secrets to happy relationships that last
Jan 31

The 3 secret ingredients for happy relationships that last

By Dr Berni Sewell | Improve your relationships

What makes a happy relationship that lasts?

The right partner? With shared interests, passions and world views? Undying love, commitment, trust? Faithfulness, honesty, equality? The ability to communicate, overcome conflict and grow together?

All of the above? Or something else altogether?

The more people you ask, the more you’ll realise that the number of potential ingredients for a happy relationship is infinite. And none of us knows the definitive recipe for relationship bliss.

So, finding that one person to love, becomes a matter of trial and error. Mere luck at best and impossible at worst.

But still we search. Anxious to be loved, to become one with another. Find our other half, to finally be whole. And happy.

So, we stumble from one partner to the next. Trying to unearth that top-secret recipe to our “happily ever after”, we bend, distort, please. Compromise, put up, tolerate. Battling rejection, heart-ache and disappointment on the way.

Until we become disillusioned by our inability to make it work. Frustrated by our failures, furious with ourselves and the world. And we start to doubt.

Are we impossible to love? Are we destined to roam this Earth alone? Doomed to a half-life of solitude, longing and misery?

We blame our unlovable nature and incompatible partners for our unhappiness. And hate ourselves for our incompetence.

Because, despite all our struggles and sacrifices, the true recipe for a happy relationship still eludes us.

When, in fact, we are only missing 3 essential ingredients.

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The source of all arrogance (and how to deal with it)
Jan 18

The source of all arrogance (and how to deal with it)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Heal your self-worth

When I was 12 years old, the entire ensemble of my female classmates sat me down during recess and unanimously rejected me as a friend.

I had always known that I wasn’t the most popular girl in class. But in that very moment I became an exile. Persona non grata. Outcast, unwanted, unacceptable. And the reason they gave was simple.

I was too arrogant. Thought I was better than they were. Looked down on them.

Which left me puzzled, shocked and confused. All my life I had struggled with low self-worth, considered myself inferior to others. Irrelevant, not good enough. A lesser human being.

How could anybody believe I was arrogant? How could I look down on others from my lowly position amidst a world of superiors?

For years, the accusation haunted me. Stopped me from increasing my self-worth and improving my confidence. For fear I would be rejected once more for my alleged arrogance.
And still sometimes today, when I feel particularly good about myself, I tend to caution myself not to show it. I conceal the fact that I feel worthy, strong and confident. So, I won’t appear arrogant.

Because I suspect that, all those years ago, my classmates’ charges might have been justified.

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How to avoid social isolation (when you are an introvert)
Dec 03

How to avoid social isolation (when you are an introvert)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Love yourself

For me, as a highly sensitive, introvert empath, High School was hell. I enjoyed reading books more than trips to the shopping mall. Preferred gardening to “meeting up with the boys”, actually loved learning and detested the obligatory Saturday night partying.

I was a geek, a teacher’s pet with uncool hobbies, unexciting interests and oddball opinions. But still, I wanted to be accepted. Be part of the popular crowd.

So, throughout my school years, it seemed like I only had two options:

Be true to my authentic Self and face rejection, bullying and loneliness. Or deny my true nature, renounce my interests and adapt my personality to fit in and avoid social isolation.

And both of these options meant suffering. But there was a third option. It was right in front of me all the time. I just never allowed myself to see it.

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5 empowering steps to overcome self-sabotage
Oct 24

5 empowering steps to overcome self-sabotage

By Dr Berni Sewell | Discover your happiness

Just over a year ago, I wrote a blog post about the simple reason why you never get what you want. It was based on the premise that the Universe loves us. Every one of us. It wants us to be happy and yearns to provide all that we need to live an abundant and fulfilling life.
This is something I deeply and truly believe in.

But yesterday, I received this message about my article:

“What a load of crap! The universe doesn’t give you what you want, since what you want usually involves other people or something else, and that is what we don’t have control of. Not everybody gets what they want no matter what they do. In my opinion, the Universe is cruel and evil.”

It broke my heart to read this message. Not for my sake (I’ve been immune to criticism for quite a while now). But for hers!

I can empathise with all the anger and frustration that result from a life that feels unfair. From having your dreams and hopes crushed every time you try. From having to resign yourself to the suffering and misery of a life you didn’t want. Where everything seems to go wrong all the time.

But the Universe doesn’t hate you! It didn’t deal you a bad hand out of spite. And it certainly doesn’t trip you up through sheer vindictiveness.

Your negative experiences and unhappy circumstances are not the Universe’s fault. They all just boil down to one word:

Self-sabotage.

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How to stop obsessing over your mistakes
Oct 10

How to stop obsessing over your mistakes

By Dr Berni Sewell | Heal your self-worth

Yesterday I had a meeting at a hospital about an hour away from home. And I had to drive there!

If you’ve been reading my blog posts for a while, you know that I suffered from colossal driving anxiety only a few years ago. And I didn’t get my first car (a funky orange Ford Fiesta called Cecil), until I was 28 years old.

I now believe myself to be a competent drive. However, going somewhere I’ve never been before still makes me nervous. But with the mantra “feel the fear and do it anyway”, I set off. And all went well.

Until I arrived at the hospital and the Satnav told me to turn left. Which I did.

A bit too early.

Finding myself in the “Strictly for ambulances only” entrance of the hospital. In a slight panic, I searched for a way out, while the SatNav blared “Perform a U-turn when possible”. As if to mock me in my distress.

I ended up turning around in front of the emergency department entrance. Hanging my head in shame as patients, paramedics and doctors witnessed me blocking the ambulance access.

I escaped eventually and found my way into the main patient and visitor car park.

And as I sat in my car, breathing a big sigh of relief, I realised something astonishing.

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A life-changing practice to eradicate anxiety and depression
Sep 28

A life-changing practice to eradicate anxiety and depression

By Dr Berni Sewell | Transform your life

Let me ask you a question. Do you brush your teeth? Every day?

Why?

Because it’s imperative for your dental health, right? If you don’t brush your teeth caries will accumulate, erode your enamel and cause excruciating pain. Who wouldn’t want to avoid that?!

And we are well equipped. Our parents taught us an effective dental hygiene routine as soon as our first teeth emerged. Our schools reinforced the essential message and we visited the dentist regularly to maintain healthy teeth.

Most adults will brush their teeth diligently and consistently once or twice a day. It’s part of our daily hygiene. And we don’t think much about it. Knowing that, if we neglect it, we will suffer the painful consequences.

I am sure you do the same, don’t you? It’s important after all!

But what do you do to prevent emotional pain? To avoid and eradicate anxiety and depression? ​What does your daily emotional hygiene routine look like?

Do you even have one?

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3 empowering steps to eliminate negativity and toxic self-talk
Sep 17

How to eliminate negativity and toxic self-talk

By Dr Berni Sewell | Transform your life

I still remember the day when I first noticed it.

Cursing the abhorrent weather, I stumbled through the front door off the storm-swept streets of Vienna. I shivered and sneezed, feeling sorry for my dripping wet self. It would be just my luck to catch a cold so close to my birthday!

I opened my mailbox with a feeling of dread. It only ever spat out bills, problems and evil tidings. I expected the worst, and wasn’t disappointed when a hefty supplementary electricity payment dropped in my hand.

This was outrageous! They were taking advantage of little people like me!

Disgusted by the world’s corruption, I stomped up the stairs to my flat. My mind racing with worst case scenarios of nasty conversations involving arrogant call centre employees defending a money-grubbing corporation. I loathed conflict!

Lost in gloomy thoughts, I caught my foot on an umbrella some idiot had left outside their door to dry. I tumbled down, my knee hitting the hard stone floor. I screamed in pain and frustration.

Why always me?! Why did the Universe hate me?

As I finally collapsed on my sofa, despair overwhelmed me. My life was a relentless string of disasters, catastrophes and anxieties.

What was wrong with me? Why did nothing good ever happen in my life?

I felt like a pathetic failure. I wasn’t good enough! My own incompetence and the cruelty of this backstabbing world doomed me to a miserable existence…

And right there, as my mind wallowed in hopelessness, it hit me.

Every thought I created was toxic, every word I spoke despondent. I had become a powerless victim of my own negativity which sabotaged my life, destroyed my happiness and ramped up my anxiety.

And I knew it had to change.

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How to meditate effectively (even if your mind won't shut up)
Aug 02

How to meditate effectively (even if your mind won’t shut up)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Transform your life

I am often asked why my tips on overcoming low self-worth and anxiety never seem to include meditation.

After all, it calms the mind, balances your emotions, deepens your breathing and helps to control stress, fear and negativity. During meditation, you connect with your authentic Self. Transcend your limitations and struggles. Enjoy the infinite peace, love, bliss and worth that dwell deep within your blessed soul.

And I know that. I tried.

When I first started to transform my life back in 2005, I believed a regular, healthy meditation practice was an indispensable part of my journey out of fear, emotional turmoil and worthlessness. Many times I sat down on my meditation cushion. Closed my eyes. Focused on my breath with high hopes and expectations.

But it always went a bit like this…

Me: “OK, breathe in. And out. No thinking now.”
Mind: “Shall we have fish and chips for dinner?”
Me: “Argh! Be quiet!”
Mind: “Oops! No more thinking…my back aches. That was another thought, wasn’t it? So sorry!”
Me: “Don’t worry about it. It’s ok. Just be silent now please”.
Mind: “Oh God! I have to give a presentation at work tomorrow. I think I’ll be sick.”
“Me: “Would you just shut up!”
Mind: “Don’t be so mean! I‘m trying my best here. I’m just not good enough. I will never get better. It’s hopeless.”
Me: “You know what, just forget about it! I can’t even meditate. I hate myself. What is wrong with me?!”

It was counterproductive, to say the least. Every time I attempted meditation, I abandoned it prematurely, feeling ever more anxious and upset. Despairing over my obvious inability to create a happier life.

I believed I wasn’t disciplined enough. Too weak and pathetic. Incompetent.

When, in fact, I misunderstood meditation altogether.

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A sure-fire way to fix your relationship with yourself
Jul 21

The sure-fire way to fix your relationship with yourself

By Dr Berni Sewell | Love yourself

Last week I was making my herbal tea to drink throughout the morning. As I do every day.

But as I poured the boiling water into the jug, the glass exploded and scorching liquid gushed towards me. In panic, I hurdled backwards, stumbling over one of little one’s toys.

And while I thankfully avoided a third degree burn, I tore a muscle in my thigh. Which rendered me immobile for the rest of the day.
So I sat on the sofa. Analysing some cancer outcome data for work, watching daytime TV and twiddling my thumbs.

Looking around, I could see all the chores that were waiting for me. The chaotic piles of toys, dusty floors, mountains of dirty dishes were mocking me from afar.

It upset me that I couldn’t tackle the mess or cook dinner for my family. I felt guilty because my husband had to cater to my needs and take over the child care. And I was disappointed that I would have to suspend my newly-established yoga practice.

As I brooded over all the things I should do, ought to complete or was missing out on, I started to feel angry.

“You stupid, idiot thigh,” I grumbled. “If you weren’t hurt, I wouldn’t be so restricted. I wouldn’t be such a burden to others. I wouldn’t be so useless!”

And the moment I said it, I knew how wrong it was.

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