Coping with the uncertainty of death is no small challenge. Fearing death is a natural reaction. Anxiety may worsen this fear, and depression may settle in after a while. There’s just so much to think about. Will it be painful? How will your family cope? Is there anything waiting for you on the other side?
You’re not alone in this. Millions of people across the globe experience the same fear at some point in their lives. Whether you’re afraid of your own death (thanatophobia) or afraid that a friend or relative may die (necrophobia), the effects are the same. It can become obsessive and constantly upset you. You may find yourself unable to focus on more positive things in life.
When it comes to such an extreme state, it’s important to acknowledge what you’re going through and work to overcome it. Keep reading to find out how.
Understand your fear
In order to deal with your fear, you need to understand it. What is causing the fear and how does fearing death impact your daily life?
To begin with, you can write down the most anxious moments you can recall in your life and when they happened. You should then create another list of the moments you think about death. With the two lists ready, look for a connection between your anxiety and your thoughts about death. For instance, you may realize that you feel anxious whenever you see a certain candy brand and think about death because it was served at a funeral you attended.
Now that you understand the link between your phobia and your thoughts of death, aim to train your brain to cope with your own mortality. The fact is that you will die one day—we all will—and realizing that your life is temporary makes it that much more valuable. In this regard, it may help to face your fears of death head-on.
Understand what you can control and what you cannot
Understanding what you can and can’t control can help you stop fearing death so much. For instance, you may be afraid of dying from a heart condition. In such a case, you need to understand the heart condition aspects you can control. It’s not very helpful to think about the predisposing factors that you cannot control, such as family history of the condition. Focusing on such aspects will only make you anxious. Instead, focus on what you can do to help yourself, such as exercising, quitting smoking, and eating healthy.
Overcome the negative thoughts
Constantly fearing death often brings about negative thoughts, which can lead to anxiety. Whenever you try to think of the future, you may find yourself wondering how to provide for your loved ones if you were to pass away. This kind of unproductive thought pattern has negative effects on your mental wellbeing. You will feel stressed, making your body tense and possibly bring about physical pain as a result. Instead, you should adopt healthy ways to overcome negative thoughts in order to avoid negative emotions. The better your mind feels, the more you’ll want it to stay that way. Soon enough you’ll find yourself actively avoiding the thought of death altogether.
Thinking of life and death as parts of the same cycle can help you manage the anxiety associated with it. If you’re finding it hard to cope with the uncertainty of death on your own, seek out a support group. The comfort of like-minded individuals can help you all overcome this fear together. If you’re more of a lone-wolf, set yourself up with an understanding therapist to work through your fears. Whatever you choose to do, what matters is that you gradually stop fearing death and can finally focus on the here and now.