BLOG ARTICLES - Page 4 of 5 - The Self-Worth Experiment
[Infographic] How to break the cycle of fear
Jul 07

How to break the cycle of fear [infographic]

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

I suffered from crippling anxiety for over 10 years. I was stuck in a prison of my own making. Watching other people live, laugh, love and grow but too scared to participate.

I was terrified by every aspect of life. ​Horrified that the traumas of my past would catch up with me, petrified by the terrors lurking in the present and dreading an unknown future.

I was a mere shadow of my former self. I felt pathetic, weak and worthless. My quality of life was terrible and sometimes life as it was didn’t feel worth living.

But I managed to work through it. Panic and anxiety are no longer parts of my life. I am free to make my own choices without compromise. I am free.

And today I want to share with you my most beloved exercise. It was the first and fundamental step in my escape from the clutches of fear. If you only did one thing to overcome your anxiety, this is the one I’d recommend!

Simply because it breaks the “cycle of fear”. I’ll explain…

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6 reasons why we accumulate clutter (and how to let go)
Jun 15

6 eye-opening reasons why we accumulate clutter (and how to finally let go)

By Berni Sewell | Transform your life

This is our garage. Once upon a time it was a useful room. Venue for enjoyable family snooker matches, organised tools storage and space to overwinter the garden furniture.

Then, about 9 months ago, I decluttered the house. Room by room, I discarded junk we hadn’t used in years and items we had 4 of and only needed one.

But I couldn’t let go of most of our stuff. I tend to get emotionally attached to lifeless objects and some items were treasured souvenirs of happy times. Most of it belonged to my husband and it didn’t feel right to get rid of it. And I didn’t want to waste money by tossing out perfectly good, fit-for-purpose things. It’s fair to say I resisted the idea of parting with our possessions.

So I shifted the problem from one area of the house to another. And now the clutter is mocking me. Every day I enter the garage, it reminds me of my failure to declutter. It condemns me for my weakness and it shames me for the ever increasing chaos, mess and dirt.

I attempted to declutter but the task is so overwhelming, so massive and unmanageable that it is suffocating me. I don’t know where to start, feel anxious at the thought of wading through the mountains of junk and dust.

I know it has to be done. I worry that other people will judge me, I beat myself up for procrastinating. And every time I sit down for a well-deserved rest I feel guilty and embarrassed about the lack of progress. And I think “I should really declutter the garage”.

It weighs on my mind non-stop. And it made me wonder. Why do we accumulate so much clutter? Why is it so hard to let go? And what is the best way to ban useless clutter once and for all?

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The simple reason why you never get what you want
Jun 08

The simple reason why you never get what you want

By Dr Berni Sewell | Discover your happiness

When I was at the height of my anxiety, life as a whole was a threat. And it didn’t only seem this way. It was!

Every letter in my post box was a bill, demand note or bad news. Every train I took broke down or was delayed. Every electrical appliance I bought was faulty. Every cold going around would find its way to me.

I felt stressed, terrified and somewhat victimised. Everything I touched was destined to go wrong, turn into a catastrophe or make me unhappy.

And I couldn’t help but ask myself “Why does the Universe hate me?”

Until I started to watch “The Big Bang Theory” and I realised that the Universe doesn’t hate anybody! The problem is merely that the Universe behaves like Sheldon Cooper. I’ll explain…

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I am completely unremarkable, so what?
Jun 01

I am completely unremarkable, so what?

By Dr Berni Sewell | Heal your self-worth

I am not especially talented, particularly pretty or extraordinarily clever. I am probably quite average. Nothing about me stands out from the crowd. Which used to bother me. A lot.

So, all my life, I was yearning to be someone special, to achieve something special or be part of something special.

As a teenager, I made a big deal out of a minor skin condition I was born with because it made me stand out from the crowd. I worked my socks off to achieve good grades in school and gain higher qualifications so I would in some way be notable.

And I went out of my way to help others achieve their dreams and goals (e.g. my first boyfriend’s rock band, my husband’s business or charity volunteering), so I would be the supporting act of something amazing.

But it never worked. Here’s why…

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May 30

How to start (and finish) overwhelming tasks

By Dr Berni Sewell | Transform your life

A few weeks ago I pruned my 3 young fruit trees.

None of them is particularly big yet, but I admit I got carried away. Because the resulting amount of twigs and branches on the ground was astonishing!

I sat in the grass next to this humongous pile and felt like crying. The enormous task of cutting the entire mountain up in small pieces to fit in refuse bags was overwhelming and depressing.

The branches were entangled and intertwined. I couldn’t even see a way to get to all the individual twigs and it would probably take many hours to complete! It seemed hopeless.

So I did what every self-respecting gardener would do. I procrastinated.

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Why failure can be good for us
May 29

Why failure can be good for us

By Dr Berni Sewell | Discover your happiness

I am Austrian. And Austrians ski. Actually, we learn it in school! It’s part of the curriculum! I kid you not!

So there I was, at 13 years old, finding myself on my second school skiing course. I tried my best to control the two planks on my feet. I made efforts not to fall out of ski lifts. I strained my eyes in an attempt to defeat my snow blindness. And I could still feel my legs turning down the slopes when I was lying in my bed at night.

But still, at the end of the week, my teacher took me to one side and said: “Berni, you are hopeless. You are a menace to yourself and others. Please do us all a favour and NEVER ski again.”

I was shocked. Despite all the blood, sweat and tears (literally!), I was a complete and utter skiing disaster. The school skiing dummy. Loser of the year. A failure. How could this have happened?

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What to do when you are bullied by a narcissist
Apr 18

What to do when you are bullied by a narcissist

By Dr Berni Sewell | Discover your happiness

Have you ever dealt with a full-blown narcissist in your life?

They flatter you, court you, are nice and accommodating while it serves their purpose. Once you realise that this isn’t a mutual relationship, you are stuck.

The narcissists invest just enough time, energy and money to keep you amused. They tangle carrots on sticks in front of your nose and persuade you to stay another day.

But all the while you know that they are taking advantage of you, betraying you behind your back and abusing your good will, loyalty and dedication.

Living with a narcissist as your partner, parent or in work is frustrating, exasperating and painful. It undermines your self-worth and confidence. You feel inferior, never good enough for them.

Yet, it is extremely difficult to escape their clutch and free yourself. Because they know exactly how to lure you back in.

And once you sever your relationship for good, once you choose your physical and mental health over them, their wrath can be brutal, disproportionate (sometimes with psychopathic tendencies) and unforgiving.

But why is that?

Why do narcissists act and react the way they do? What is driving them?

And why do we fall in narcissists’ traps? Why is it so difficult to escape?

But, most importantly for you: how can you protect yourself?

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3 panic triggers we mistake for anxiety
Mar 13

To fear or not to fear: the 3 panic triggers we mistake for anxiety

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

I am not generally scared of the dentist. Which is surprising considering that, throughout my life, I feared almost everything at some point.

But last week, two of my fillings had to be replaced. My dentist insisted on an anaesthetic injection. Which I hate! The entire left side of my face was numb, including my nose and eye!

And then the procedure started. I closed my eyes and tried to relax. Two people were pressing against me from each side. They inserted countless instruments into my mouth and manhandled my teeth. All to the tune of Little Mix on the radio.

When I opened my eyes, the bright surgical light above my face blinded me and I saw colourful sparkles as I shut them again. I felt a slight bout of claustrophobia gripping me and fought it down.

And then out came the drill. It makes all your hairs stand up if you hear it while you’re in the waiting room. And close up, the shrill screeching in combination with the unpleasant pressure against the affected teeth is terrifying.

I could feel my whole body tense up. My finger nails were digging into my thighs. Panic crept up, adrenaline accelerated my heart rate and all I wanted was to get out of there.

I wanted to scream, remove those utensils from my mouth, jump up and escape the awful situation so I could breathe again.

I was about to bounce out of that dentist chair, when I realised that I wasn’t in danger. But I wasn’t overreacting either! My panic resulted from 3 common triggers that we often mistake for fear. Even without a real threat.

And these triggers I want to share today.

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10 amazing books that helped me heal low self-worth and anxiety
Feb 14

10 amazing books that helped me heal low self-worth and anxiety

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

By the autumn of 1999, my life was soul-sucking misery. I had suffered from social anxiety, an overreactive bladder and irritable bowel syndrome for many years. But I coped. Life wasn’t a blast, but I was ok.

All changed when I moved to Vienna. I chose a University further from home to escape the rejection, heart-ache and bullying of my school days. But it left me alone in the city, depending on nobody but myself for the first time in my life. And I was terrified.

Everything had changed. My emotions were in turmoil and I resisted the new situation, unwilling to adapt. I felt forlorn, helpless, vulnerable.

Even little things, such as popping over to the shop across the road, became unsurmountable challenges and triggered frequent panic attacks. I existed with a constant baseline level of fear. The sick butterfly feeling in my stomach accompanied me from dawn until dusk and then turned into full-blown terror at night. Every unfamiliar sound sent sharp shocks through my chest. My heart was racing all night and I laboured hard to force air into my lungs.

Between lectures, I sat alone while others had already formed friendships. I watched them chatting and laughing. But I couldn’t get myself to start a conversation, to just say hello and see what happened. Maybe I was scared of being rejected again. Maybe I thought I would make a fool of myself. But I was lonely and isolated and I remember that I cried a lot.

But all changed when I read the book that saved my life…

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4 simple mind shifts that will double your happiness
Jul 22

4 simple mind shifts that will double your happiness

By Dr Berni Sewell | Discover your happiness

Let me ask you a question: Are you happy?

Or do you worry too much what other people think or say about you? Beat yourself up for the plunders of the past, endlessly replaying “what if” scenarios in your mind.

Regretting what was and aching for what could have been.

Do you lay awake at night agonising about the future? The fires you fight, the financial problems, dysfunctional relationships and stressful jobs.

I know you are doing your best. But it is never enough.

You feel anxious and depressed. Forever waiting for that perfect person, that sum of money or once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to finally appear and make you happy.

Other people have happiness in their lives. So, why don’t you? You’ve tried everything. But you never get a break. You never feel peace, contentment and joy. You are never truly happy.

So, what is wrong with you?

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