Yet, we have developed a wide range of unhealthy attitudes and defense mechanisms towards death. We pretend it doesn’t exist, or act as if it will never strike. We assume we won’t die [“it could affect them, but not me! I am different!”]. We deny death. We scream “God forbid!” with all our strength. We live in great fear. We avoid it.
We build burial-grounds far from homes. Corpses are made-up, perfumed, and dressed in fine clothes. We look at people who work in the mortuary and grave-yards as strange. We avoid funerals and pictures of the dead. We hide corpses. Some adults have never seen a dead-body before! When it comes to death, we adopt all manners of attitudes, except that of acceptance of the naked, ugly, bitter truth — death, like birth, is a natural part of life on Earth! Get used to it!
True, we might not like “when” and “how” death comes. It’s okay if that occurs for a short while. But sustaining that inner tension of denial, anger, fear, depression, avoidance, is medically harmful to our mental and physical health. Negative feelings don’t feel good. Sustained stress degrade the body and exposes us to all manners of disease conditions.
Sustained stress degrade the body and exposes us to all manners of disease conditions.
Even with the pain and uncertainties associated with death; uncertainty of “when” and “how” it will come; uncertainty of what happens after death, we can have the healthy attitude of acceptance. Accept that life on Earth is temporary. And that it could end anytime, anyhow. This, when done properly, brings peace to the mind, and removes stress in the body.
Furthermore, it helps us maximize every single moment that we have, (living life to the fullest, and contributing to life and civilization), since we know our time here is grossly limited. We then live fruitful lives, putting smiles on people’s faces, striving to leave a legacy after our days are finally done and the cold hands of death grips us! Death makes us value life. It’s important.
Religious doctrines give hope and strength. They become especially helpful with things like this. They tell us there’s a purpose behind ALL that happens, even death. They say: “it’s well. That’s how God wants it”. These teachings encourage the healthy attitude of acceptance. And crying is allowed. In fact, it is healthy and important. But while we cry outwardly, let there be acceptance inwardly
Here are 5 practical ways of overcoming the fear of death I discovered!
#1: Focus on what you can control.
Death can be an especially frightening thing to think about, primarily because it exposes the limits of life and what we are able to conceive. Learn to focus on what you can actually control while still engaging with what you cannot.
For example, you may be worried about dying from a heart attack. There are certain factors that you can’t control about heart disease, such as family history, race and ethnicity, and age. You will make yourself more anxious by focusing on these things. Instead, it’s far healthier to focus on the things you can control, like quitting smoking, exercising regularly, and eating well.
Eliminate unproductive thought patterns. When you try to predict or imagine the future, you find yourself asking, “What if this happens?” This is an unproductive thought pattern. An unproductive thought pattern is a way of thinking about a situation that ultimately causes you to have negative emotions.
#2: Live life to the fullest.
Ultimately, it’s best to avoid spending too much time worrying about death and dying. Instead, fill each day with as much joy as possible. Don’t let little things get you down. Go outside, play with friends, or take up a new sport. Just do anything that will take your mind off dying. Instead, focus your mind on living.
Many people with the fear of death think about it daily. It means that you have a lot of things you want to do in life. Let the fear work through and ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that will happen today?” Today you are alive, so go and live.
#3: Spend time with your loved ones.
Surround yourself with people that make you happy and vice versa. Your time will be well-spent – and well-remembered – when you share yourself with others. For example, you can rest assured that your memory will live on after you die if you help your grandchildren develop happy memories of you.
#4: Keep a gratitude journal.
A gratitude journal is a way for you to write down and acknowledge the things you’re thankful for. This will help keep your focus on the good things in your life. Think of good things about your life and cherish them. Take some time every few days to write down a moment or thing that you’re grateful for. Write in depth, savoring the moment and appreciating the joy you’ve received from it.
#5: Take care of yourself.
Avoid getting involved in bad situations or doing things that can raise your chances of dying. Avoid unhealthy activities like smoking, drug or alcohol abuse, and texting and driving. Staying healthy removes some of the risk factors that can lead to death.
#6: Share your thoughts on death and dying with others.
It’s always good to talk to someone about your fears or anxiety. Others may be able to share similar concerns. They may also suggest methods that they’ve used for dealing with the associated stress.
#7: Determine if you need to seek help from a doctor or counselor.
If your fear of death has become so intense that it is interfering with your ability to carry out normal activities and enjoy your life, you should seek the help of a licensed mental health therapist or a counselor. For example, if you start avoiding certain activities due to your fear of impending death, then it is time to get help.
And the sting is gone. It is finished. SHARE!
References: Phobias and Health Sections of WikiHow