Death is an inevitable part of the human experience, but it is a topic that causes a lot of panic and trepidation. Since the beginning of time, people have thought, written, and spoken about their thoughts and fears surrounding death and the after life. If you are afraid of dying and the mystery of death, you are not alone. Over 20% of Americans are afraid of dying, and there are many people worldwide wrestling with their feelings of dread and helplessness regarding death. Some people are afraid that they will die without accomplishing all they set out to achieve in life. Other people are afraid of pain, lack of control, or eternal punishment. If you find yourself constantly thinking about and worrying about your death, it can start to negatively influence your ability to live your life well. Here are a few ways to help yourself overcome your fear of death so that you can enjoy your life:
When you begin to experience anxiety and fear surrounding death, practice self-awareness. Take some time to write down the specific concerns you have and the thoughts going through your head. When you are able to pinpoint exactly what is causing you distress, you will be better equipped to address the problem. Know what aspects of death are making you afraid so that you can challenge your worries and know how to communicate these fears with a therapist or people in your emotional support circle if necessary.
Live Life to the Fullest
While death is inevitable and uncontrollable, you can help yourself overcome your fear of death by focusing on what you can control: your life. Make it a goal to try and celebrate and enjoy life every day. Spend time with the people that you care about. Try new things and seek out new experiences. Practice positive activities that will help you feel good about life. Chase your dreams. Sometimes when people fear death, they are actually afraid that they will die without having lived life the way they wanted. Take control of your life by doing everything in your power to make yourself feel like you have lived each day to the fullest.
Accept that Death is Natural
While death can be a frightening concept to wrap your head around, take comfort in the fact that it is natural, and that ever other person in existence will eventually have to go through this experience, too. You are not alone. Recognize that you will go through the cycle of life just like everyone else, and while you do not get a say in your beginning or your end, you can take advantage of and seek to enjoy everything that comes in between. When you accept that death is natural, and you are grateful for having the opportunity to experience a full life, it will be easier for you to face the prospect of death with grace and peace of mind.
Read About Death
If your fear surrounding death is the fear of the unknown, know that you are in good company. Countless philosophers, religious leaders, and writers have spent considerable amounts of time thinking and writing about death. Take some time to read texts about death. You might find it comforting to know that people throughout time have asked the same questions and felt the same fears about death that you have. Read about how they handled their questions and fears, and see if you can learn anything that might help put you at ease.
Share Your Fears
Find someone who you knows cares about you, and talk to them about your fears and misgivings about death. A fresh perspective from a member of your emotional support system might help you challenge your worries about death, or at least provide you with some level of comfort. If needed, speak with a therapist about your concerns. A professional will be able to listen to your worries and give you coping strategies so that your fear does not become overwhelming.
Take Care of Yourself
If you are worried about dying, make sure to avoid actions that put yourself at an increased risk of death. Quit smoking or other behaviors that have been shown to lead to an earlier death. Exercise regularly to help prevent obesity, heart attacks, and other health conditions that might shorten your life. Consider what simple actions, like wearing a seatbelt when you are in a vehicle or a helmet when you are on a motorcycle, you can take to help prolong your life. Take care of your body so that you play your role in helping yourself live as long as possible.
You might be less fearful about death if you have a plan in place for after you die. Ensure that your family members will not have to worry about how to function when you are no longer with them. Decide on burial arrangements, organ donation, and any property or financial concerns before you pass away so that you and your family can have some peace of mind.
Anxiety: A state of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear resulting from the anticipation of a real or imagined impending threat.
At some point in their life, most everyone experiences some form of anxiety. For some unlucky individuals, panic attacks are a common occurrence. When an attack arises, everything stops, and irrational feelings are heightened. Because there is no cure for anxiety, we must focus on treatment. If you can challenge your anxious feelings head on, you will be much more likely to lessen the impact of a full blown panic attack. In this article, we will be discussing several methods to take control of your emotions and make your anxiety more bearable.
Understand What is Happening
The first step to controlling your anxiety is understanding why your mind and body are acting in a particular way. Symptoms of a panic attack can present themselves in many forms, some of which include: nausea, inability to calm down, dizziness, and a racing heart. Your situation will vary. One thing these symptoms all have in common is that they are a response to stress.
You see, when the body is stressed, it releases a particular set of hormones. These hormones then travel to all parts of the body and trigger a specific response. For example, when these hormones reach your brain, you are likely to have negative psychological implications. By keeping yourself informed, you will gain the ability to rationalize your symptoms. Instead of thinking, “ah, I’m so anxious, why does my stomach hurt, will this ever end” You will be able to realize the source of your pain is a simple stress hormone. This rational realization provides a light at the end of the tunnel.
As you calmly sit and read this article, distracting yourself from your anxiety seems like an obvious way to prevent a panic attack. The problem is that, in the heat of the moment, we lack the ability to think clearly. My advice to you is to prepare yourself for the future. At this calm rational moment in time, decide what you will do. Creating a plan of action will help you to remain calm. Some people have a designated friend that they call, while others focus on counting. Whatever you decide will be fine as long as it keeps you from focusing on your problematic stress.
Keep Stress in Check
Speaking of stress, remember the importance of taking time for yourself. (And yes, that is easier said than done, but it’s worth it.) If more stress is placed on your body, more stress hormones will be released. Because of this, persistent stress can cause panic attacks to be more severe than usual. In fact, long term stress is the number one cause of involuntary anxiety attacks across the planet Whether you prefer to drink some calming tea, or take a short nap, managing stress well help you in more ways than one. By taking some time to relax, you will become more efficient at managing your stress as well as your anxiety.
Remember That You are in Control
Repeat after me: “My anxiety does not own or define me.” If you are someone who has experienced severe anxiety attacks, you will have dark days. Constantly remind yourself that you have the power to control your life and situation. If you practice these technique, you will be able to significantly reduce the severity of your anxiety.
This is not an overnight fix -- but practice makes perfect, and in the end you will see results. Anxiety attacks seem like they have a great deal of power over you; they can even make you feel fear when none is present. Do not attempt to rationalize this fear. You have control over your psychological and emotional happiness.
Breathing is another tactic that seems obvious now, but will become much more difficult when you are in the midst of an anxiety attack. One of the trademark symptoms of an anxiety attack is a choking sensation that makes breathing quite difficult. One way of coping with this is to take some time each day to practice Mindfulness breathing exercises.
If you haven’t heard of it, mindfulness is a great way to release stress and take some time for yourself. It’s a matter of closing your eyes, breathing, and letting go of your emotional baggage. If you are a people person, try locating a meditation group in your area. If you prefer to be in solitude, downloading an app is a great alternative that can allow you to complete the exercises on your own
Anxiety is a difficult disorder to endure, because the symptoms are so varied, it can sometimes be hard to diagnose. If you want to learn more about anxiety, its symptoms, and possible treatments, visit Dr. Syras Derksen online in order to continue reading and/or to book an appointment with one of our expert therapists.