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.