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How to conquer your fears in 3 wacky steps
Oct 11

3 surprising steps to conquer your fears

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

How many things in life have you missed out on because you were too scared? And how many chances have you not taken because of fear?

My whole life, fear stopped me from doing so many amazing things that I would have enjoyed, that would have enriched my life.

I could never travel because I was terrified of trains and planes. And I was anxious of going places I had never been before, of the risks, traps and threats that awaited me at my unknown destination.

I couldn’t drive a car. Because I was horrified I might stall the car at the crossroads and everybody would think I was an incompetent imbecile. I was worried I may accidentally hit someone, or be hit myself and get hurt.

I couldn’t even go to the movies. Because I was so scared about what the other people would think of me if I had to get up in the middle of the film to use the toilet.

And when I faced the decision whether I should move to the UK from Austria, where I grew up, fear completely paralysed me. My thoughts and worries were spiralling out of control. Endless scenarios played in my mind about the potential disastrous consequences of my choices. A relentless barrage of “What ifs” kept me up at night.

And I could just not make a decision.

I knew the offer I had to start a fully-funded PhD studentship was an excellent opportunity I would not get in Austria. But my fear wouldn’t even let me consider it.

And at this point, I had to find a way to conquer my fears. Or else I would miss out on what transpired to be a life-changing experience.

And, as it turned out, there are only 3 slightly wacky (but very powerful) steps we need to take to stop fear from stopping us.

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20 truths about low self-worth I wish I had known 20 years ago
Apr 07

20 truths about low self-worth I wish I had known 20 years ago

By Dr Berni Sewell | Heal your self-worth

Twenty years ago, I lived in a constant state of “not good enough”.

I felt inferior to everyone I met, which caused social anxiety and forced me to avoid social gatherings and meeting other people.

I never believed in myself or my abilities. Low confidence and self-doubt shot me down whenever I attempted something new and worthwhile. Which kept me stuck in an inescapable state of mediocrity.
And made me beat myself up for my failure to become more than the pathetic disappointment I was.

I lay awake at night, worrying about the awful things other people may say or think about me. Overanalysing every interaction that day, to gauge where I had made a fool of myself, and how long it would be until I would be rejected. And anxious about the terrifying tasks of the next day that always seemed overwhelming and too big to handle.

In relationships, I was a pushover and people pleaser because I felt unacceptable and unlovable. And hoped I could buy some love if I pleased and served non-stop. As a consequence, people often took advantage of me, my relationships were mostly one-sided, and I was unhappy.

And I was so used to hiding my true Self that I didn’t even know who I was anymore, what I wanted from life. I just tried to get through each day without humiliating myself or being criticised or having a panic attack.

And it took all the strength I had not to hate my worthless butt. I had dreams, hopes and goals. But they seemed unreachable, ridiculous pipe dreams of a chronic loser who would never amount to anything.

In one word, my life was suffering.
All because I didn’t know 20 things about low self-worth I know today.

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How to stop being ignored and overlooked by others
Aug 30

How to stop being ignored and overlooked by others

By Dr Berni Sewell | Transform your life

When I was younger, I was used to being ignored and overlooked by others.

Whenever I joined a group of people who were chatting, and I wanted to contribute, others would talk over me. As if I wasn’t there. Nobody reacted to what I had said. As if I had never spoken.

I don’t think people did it intentionally. Or, at least most of them didn’t. But, nonetheless, it happened a lot. And it was frustrating, disheartening. And hurtful.

Especially as it took all my courage to join the conversation in the first place. And being cut dead just confirmed my belief that I had nothing of interest to share.

Maybe you have experienced this in your life.

People talking over you, overlooking you or taking credit for things you said or work you did. Without batting an eyelid.

And, like me, you may wonder why this is happening to you. Why other people do this.

Could it be their egos trying to steal the limelight at your expense? Or selfishly grabbing praise for work they did not do? Are they just so used to you being shy and kinda invisible? Are they taking advantage or mocking you?

Or, worst of all, is it possible that you really are that irrelevant?

But, in most cases, the answer is something completely different altogether.

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How to boost your immune system against coronavirus
Apr 10

How to boost your immune system against coronavirus

By Dr Berni Sewell | Love yourself

Novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has the world in its clutches.

Since I wrote the first part of the “What to do if you panic about coronavirus” series a couple of weeks ago, the number of infected people has risen to more than 1.4 million worldwide and over 80,000 more have died with COVID-19.

The number of new cases surges at a terrifying pace. With the global panic pandemic spreading faster still.

And all we can do is delay the inevitable. Wait out the storm. Hoping for the best while fearing the worst.

Because we have no treatment for the new virus strain.

And we feel out of control. Powerless. At the mercy of a ruthless enemy, with no pharmacological weapon to slay it.

We are defenceless.

Or are we?

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3 powerful ways to reduce fear and anxiety about coronavirus
Mar 25

3 powerful ways to beat fear and anxiety about coronavirus

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

“Calm the fuck down!”

Several times I have seen this phrase written on colourful backgrounds of social media posts since the terror about coronavirus has clutched the world. Since people are self-isolating, social distancing and panic buying. And we all fear for our own lives and those of the ones we love.

And you know what? Me, personally, I would love to calm down.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to wake up and realise it was all over? To find the threat of coronavirus disappeared over night.

And with it our inability to breathe. Or to focus on anything but the looming catastrophe. We wish for nothing more than to stroll into a sunny, new dawn with a light heart and a peaceful mind.

Knowing we are safe. And all is well in the world.

But it’s not that time yet.

And for those of us who struggled with anxiety and panic attacks before the pandemic, the current level of fear becomes unbearable.

Everything is changing yet again every few hours. We are overwhelmed by uncertainty. And a constant feeling of dread chokes us.

We try our best to keep functioning in a world that is now devoid of routine.

But we can’t eat because our stomach is too tight with anxiety. We can’t sleep, our mind ruminating endlessly, tormented by worries and fears. And we barely hold it together during the day.

And nobody knows how long this nightmare will continue.

So, what can we do to stop our emotional health from imploding? And the anxiety from swallowing us whole?

What can we do to calm the fuck down?

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What to do when you panic about coronavirus
Mar 14

What to do when you panic about coronavirus (Part 1)

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

Part 1: How to protect yourself and others from COVID-19

Novel coronavirus has been spreading across the world for weeks, followed by 24/7 news coverage.

As I start writing this post, at 4.40pm on 13th March 2020, 140,081 cases and 5,123 deaths have been recorded worldwide. By the time I’ll finish writing later today, the toll will have risen further and the whole situation will have changed.

Things are moving too rapidly to comprehend.

We are now dealing with a full-blown pandemic. Whole countries are in lockdown, travel bans in operation. Healthcare systems face breakdown, doctors and nurses burn out. The world economies suffer as stock markets plummet.
Schools and universities are closing. Supply of some essential items is low due to panic buying. Sporting events and concerts are suspended. Thousands of flights cancelled. Millions of people quarantined.

And we panic.

We are scared for our own health and the lives of the people we love. We are overwhelmed and confused. Focus on every sign of illness in ourselves and those around us. We are petrified of meeting other people. And we worry we run out of food (and toilet paper) in case of a lockdown.

Our anxiety spikes as we are bombarded with terrifying headlines and pictures of people in hazmat suits. And sometimes we can’t breathe and our hands shake. Because all the horrifying information on the unmanageable enormity of the problem becomes too much to handle.

So, in exceptional circumstances like this, how can we stop panicking? And how can we protect ourselves and others?

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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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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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