A fear of death affects millions of people every year and can stop you from enjoying all the wonders of life. You can be fearful of your own death or the death of a loved one; it can cause severe anguish and mental suffering.
Death is the one thing we can never run from, it will come to us all at some time. In 200 years from now there will have been a complete change in population and not one of us here now will be on this planet.
Why Are We So Caught Up in this Fear, What Are We Really Afraid Of?
There are many individual reasons why we have this fear, let alone the way it is portrayed in many movies, which can be quite a scary experience in itself, some of the reasons could be:
- the unknown, what will happen and where do we go?
- leaving our loved ones?
- not achieving our dreams?
- not being able to experience life?
- dying in regret?
- what will happen when we are not here, who will look after things?
When we are young and carefree we generally tend to have a lesser fear of death than during later years, the onset of parenthood, or grandparenthood, makes us realise our mortality and importance in life and our need to be here on this planet taking care of those we love and cherish.
As we get older we may experience the loss of loved ones which again makes us assess our own life, and as age creeps upon us the fear can become stronger, with the words ‘what if’ frequently going through our minds, we could find ourselves sitting in our chair watching TV and doing much of nothing.
We start to see fear in the things we used to enjoy such as going on holiday or flying, we consider all of the things that we are afraid of before leaving the comfort of our own home, all of which comes down to a fear of dying, and we are never quite ready for that.
We know that we are walking a line from the time we are conceived to a date in our future, which we can never be sure of, so we hold back on life and living and try to savour the moments we have by not taking any risks, ‘just in case’.
However, by not taking risks could end up living life in regret. Some of the top regrets of the dying are:
I held back on my dreams
- I worked too hard
- I worried too much
- I didn’t make enough time for my family or friends
- I wish I had told people how much I loved them
- I wish I had known earlier that happiness is a choice
How Do We Get Over This Fear?
There are a number of ways of overcoming this fear, talking about it to someone is often a good start as talking can often help to put things in perspective.
One of the best ways I know of overcoming it is to focus on the present moment and recognise your feelings, knowing that holding back on life is like living for death.
Write down the things that you may regret in your final days and do those things. Tell people you love them, work less hours, spend time with those who are important to you and go for your dreams, whatever age you are. Doing so could help to keep you young, vibrant and ‘alive’.
If providing for others is a key aspect for you, make sure you put a plan in place to get this off your mind, but also know that whatever happens people are resilient, they find a way.
Take the time to focus on the smaller things in life and appreciate the beauty you have around you such as a flower, a kind word or generous act of another.
Learn to laugh at simple things and dance your way through life, and when the time comes that we leave, and it will come, you will feel that you have had the most amazing time and others are likely to echo these words about you, which would make you smile if you could hear them.
Finally, in the words of someone who knew how to fully overcome the fear of death:
“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, “wow, what a ride!” Anonymous
Next: our No.1 fear; Failure