BLOG ARTICLES - Page 2 of 7 - The Self-Worth Experiment
Understanding the root cause of your anxiety
Feb 27

Understanding the root cause of your anxiety (to finally heal)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

I noticed lately that anxiety is creeping up on me again.

Several times in the last few weeks, if only for a moment, its invisible, cold hand clutched my chest and twisted my stomach. Especially before meetings, teleconferences or when I had to go out. Even if it was only to take the cat to the vet or my daughter to ballet lesson.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

I’ve told you many times that I overcame my anxiety. I keep instructing you on ways how to eliminate the fear. And maybe that’s the reason why you are still reading my emails. Maybe you are hoping that you can free yourself from anxiety if you do what I did.

Because I succeeded.

So, to hear that anxiety is still part of my life must feel like a slap in the face. WTF, right?

But the thing is that I am not worried by anxiety’s return. I am not scared that I will be doomed to a life paralysed by fear. That I will return to a life sentence of misery. Trying to function in the world without anybody noticing my constant state of terror. Pretending that I’m fine while battling a fire-breathing monstrosity every minute of every day. Mortified of people’s judgements whenever I fail to contain the panic.

Been there, done that. Can’t recommend.

I no longer fear anxiety. It doesn’t make me feel like a failure, or a hopeless case. Or, in fact, a hypocrite.

Because I know something now I wish someone had told me 20 years ago. How much suffering it would have spared me.

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How to practice self-love
Feb 01

How to practice self-love (with this 14-minute self-care ritual)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Love yourself

Tell me. Do you love yourself?

If your response to this question is “No” or “Uhmmm…” or a doubtful “Sometimes?” (usually accompanied by a knotting of the brows), answer me this.

Why not? Why can you not love yourself?

And that’s when your mind kicks in…
• Because I am not perfect, not good enough, not attractive, fit, wealthy enough.

• Because I am too old, too fat, too short, too lazy, stupid or selfish.

• Because my parents neglected me, my friends rejected me, my partner left me.

• Because I made too many mistakes, failed too many times, hurt too many people.

• Because I feel guilty for letting others down, am ashamed and disappointed with myself.

• Because I am single, lonely, behind in my career.

• Because I suffer from anxiety, depression or health issues.

• Because I am worthless and don’t deserve to be loved.

So many reasons to hate yourself.

But are your past mistakes really reason enough to abstain from self-love? After all, you are a different person now. You grew, evolved, make better choices.

And wouldn’t you look past other people’s flaws and shortcomings and still love them regardless? So why can’t you extend the same courtesy to yourself?

Even if nobody in this world loved you or cared for you (which is highly unlikely, by the way, no matter what your mind may tell you), wouldn’t this just be more reason to love yourself? Everybody needs love, right?

So, what’s the real reason why self-love is such a struggle for you?

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How to get
Jan 18

How to get me-time (and stop being irritable)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Love yourself

Have you ever asked yourself why you get so irritable?

When, all of a sudden, you feel so annoyed, or angry, or maybe upset that you could scream, cry. Tell everybody around you to just Fuck off.

It comes out of nowhere.

Ambushing you without warning.
One moment you think you are fine. The next you could strangle every person who wants something or dares to even talk to you.

The pressure in your chest chokes your breath and your brain screams: “Everybody just shut up!”

And it’s not like you at all.
You don’t usually snap at people. Or hurt them. You aren’t always so over-emotional or hyper-sensitive.

And you sure as hell don’t normally swear.

But, in this very moment, you can’t help it. It feels like you are possessed. It’s surreal.

And afterwards, when the short-tempered storm has passed, you feel so embarrassed. So guilty for being awful to the people in your life. For fighting with your partner, making the kids cry or causing your co-workers to retreat with this look of judgement in their disbelieving eyes.

You lost it.

Now you have to deal with the damage. And the shame.
You feel like you can’t live with yourself. You beat yourself up for being a terrible, emotionally unstable person. Lay awake at night seeking an explanation for your mood swings. Wrecking your brain.

Why do you become so irritable, out of the blue, without reason? What is wrong with you?

When the answer is: Nothing. Nothing is wrong with you.
You are just neglecting something essential.

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3 liberating steps to control your anger
Sep 24

3 liberating steps to control your anger

By Dr Berni Sewell | Transform your life

You know the feeling.

The red-hot lump of lava gathering in your chest. Its acid vapours crawling up your throat. Clawing, constricting, squeezing until breathing is a chore.

The tension inside that’s mounting. Intensifying, swelling. Filling your entire body with unbearable pressure.

And you try to control your anger. You do your best to force it back down, distract yourself from the overwhelming urge to surrender to it. You struggle against the impulse to scream and punch, just to alleviate the pain and make the agonising stress disappear.

But, once again, you fail.
Once again, the rage is uncontainable. Its sheer intensity and power take you over. You have no chance. It explodes from you in a violent outburst. Destroying, insulting, smashing, hurting.

And when it’s all over, the welcome wave of relief is soon obliterated by shame, guilt and self-disgust. You feel like a horrible, unhinged brute. Maybe even a danger to yourself and others. Regret chokes you, makes you hate yourself.

How can you ever make this right, repair the damage you did when you allowed your fury to take control? How can you live with yourself now and for the rest of your life?

And perhaps most importantly:
How can you stop it from happening again, and again, and again?

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How to get unstuck (without leaving your comfort zone)
Aug 28

How to get unstuck (without leaving your comfort zone)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

I love life. But sometimes I feel like I am sitting at the edge of it. Looking in, observing.

Yearning for the adventures I want to experience, gauging the mountains I want to climb, pondering about the goals I want to achieve.

But never moving. I watch other people accomplish what is only real in my imagination. See them reach milestones I only ever meet in my careful plans. Witness them living the life I crave.

And I envy them. I try to move forward. But it feels like I run on the spot, trapped on a giant foam roller. Exhausting myself turning the wheel underneath my feet without ever progressing towards my dreams.

And I beat myself up for my ineptitude. Curse my job for occupying too much of my time. Blame my family for all their needs, wants and demands that stop me from moving towards my goals.

I feel angry about my current circumstances that keep me trapped. Resent the people who hold me in place.

When the truth is that I am scared. Terrified that I may fail and know once and for all that I am not good enough to reach my goals. Horrified of how my life may change if I succeed.
And petrified of the unknown. The unexplored blank space that lurks between my familiar existence and my goals and dreams. Full of threats, dangers and risks, but also possibilities I will never discover.

Because I am stuck. Caught in the unsurmountable pull of my comfort zone. Watching life rather than living it. Making plans instead of executing them. My back aching under the pressure of unfulfilled desires, frustration and disappointment.

With one question burning on my mind: How can I ever leave my comfort zone and finally get unstuck?

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8 action steps to pull yourself out of depression
Jun 23

7 action steps to pull yourself out of depression

By Dr Berni Sewell | Transform your life

Eleven o’clock in the morning.

And you are sitting in front of the TV. Have been for hours.

Listlessly staring at the screen. You don’t even care what’s going on there. You just watch because you can’t motivate yourself to do anything else.

So many things compete for your attention. Errands that should be run, tasks that ought to be completed. That self-help book you started full of enthusiasm and hope but now can’t be bothered to pick up again.

You have no interest in doing anything. What’s the point?

Your hobbies, other people’s stories, problems, gossip, their concern, are arduous. Even eating is a chore. It’s impossible to engage in any activity or conversation when all you can think is: “So what?”

You can’t remember when you last felt so low. Have you ever?

You hate the hopelessness, the emotional numbness, yet torment. You loathe yourself for not being able to “snap out of it”. For being trapped in the toxic sludge of pessimism, self-condemnation and pain. Incapable of neither positivity nor happiness.

And you blame yourself for your depression. When it’s not your fault at all.

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How to break the worthlessness habit (even if you failed in the past)
May 28

How to break the worthlessness habit (even if you failed in the past)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Heal your self-worth

Do me a favour.

Cross your arms in front of your chest. Done? How does it feel?

Natural? Comfortable? Safe? Normal?

Now cross your arms the other way. Whichever arm was on top before goes underneath and the other way around. Give it a go.

If you are anything like me, you’ll struggle to even figure out how to do it. Do it anyway. For the (self-worth) experiment’s sake.

How does this feel now?

It feels wrong, right? Awkward, unnatural and weird. And you yearn to stop and revert to the way you’re used to. The nice, safe, comfy way.

That’s because your mind, when given half a chance, will try to maintain the status quo. It will encourage you to stick with common practice. Do things the usual way. Even if it’s against common sense.

Just think about a dessert buffet. When confronted with the choice between a selection of mouth-watering cakes and fruit salad, we will almost certainly pick the cake. Even though we know the fruit salad is healthier.

While common sense warns that we’ll regret eating the cake, common practice still makes us scoff it. It’s habit. What we’ve always done and always will do. Even if we beat ourselves up for it afterwards because we know it harms our body.

And we do this for one simple reason…

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How to wipe out 100% of your worthlessness (in a single moment)
May 19

How to wipe out 100% of your worthlessness (in a single moment)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Heal your self-worth

Work is insanely busy at the moment.

And I spend most of my days doing things I don’t enjoy much (such as data analysis, document review and questionnaire design). Sometimes it feels like all I do is sleep, work and drive to and from work.

So, today, in the car (to work), out of the blue, I thought: “When will I get a chance to live?”

And from the furthest corner of my mind a little voice replied: “You are living. Now.”

It was a much-needed reminder of the importance of living in the present. Because the present moment is all we have.

The past is gone, nothing but scattered memories and emotions we cling on to. And our future is fiction, a movie of the mind. A mere projection fed by past experiences, fears and worries. But none of it real.

So, we can only live in the moment. We can only be happy right here. Right now.

And it’s the present where we ARE 100% worth. Let me explain.

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A powerful way to release emotional pain
Mar 27

A powerful tactic to release emotional pain

By Dr Berni Sewell | Transform your life

[MY FIRST EVER VIDEO POST] We’ve all experienced emotional pain.

Acute agony such as grief, disappointment, rage. They arise from a specific traumatic experience, are reactions to devastating loss, betrayal, injustice.

They have a clear trigger. And they subside again after a while. When life moves on.

And we with it.

But what about the emotional pain that never leaves? The chronic torture that remains with us every hour of every day. For no apparent reason.

When emotional pain becomes chronic, we feel like we want to crawl out of our skin. Run away from it all. Just make it stop.

So, we try to numb the pain. With medication, alcohol, drugs, food. We try to distract ourselves by working all hours, shopping, partying. We become addicts, alcoholics, workaholics, chocaholics, shopaholics.

All to make the pain bearable. Before it destroys us.

But numbing the pain is not the solution. We need to eradicate it. Eliminate it altogether.

And there is only one way to do it.

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How to ignore fear of change (and start transforming your life)
Feb 25

How to ignore fear of change (and start transforming your life)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

My life sucked. But I couldn’t change it.

At the age of 25, I should have been socialising, meeting friends, enjoying myself. Travel, start a promising career, go on dates. Have fun, be daring and outgoing, open to new experiences, challenges and adventures.

I should have been happy.

But instead, I was scared. Terrified of facing the threats of a dangerous world. So, I sat at home, a hostage of my anxiety.
At night, my heart raced and I choked at every unfamiliar sound. During the day, I avoided meeting new people. Sweating and panicking at the mere thought of the humiliation, rejection and self-flagellation that would inevitably follow.

I functioned at work. But it took all my strength to appear normal. To hide the unbearable state of terror that was my life. To pretend that I was calm and collected while anxiety was ripping my body apart.

Fear destroyed my life, ruined my happiness. I felt stressed, lonely, paralysed. Trapped in a puny comfort zone that had become a nightmare.

I was desperate to transform my life. And yet, somehow, I remained stuck.

Because I feared one thing more than anything. I just didn’t know it yet.

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