Even as more than a million people world over embrace death through suicide every year, there are other millions who suffer from fear of death or an extreme form of it known as Thanatophobia. Most of the people live their life day by day without bothering much about the inevitable happening that awaits everyone. Sigmund Freud found that the human behavior is driven by two instincts – ethos, the life instinct and Thanathos, the death instinct. He is also said that naturally people hold an unconscious desire to die, furthermore elaborating that the goal of life death; but in some people there is an opposite reaction to the thought of dying and death. Fear of death emerges from our knowledge of its finality, not having control over it and our cognitive ability to think, assume and imagine what may happen during dying or after death. A reasonable fear of our own death or the death of our loved ones is expected, it is when this fear turns into phobia, hindering normal functioning of the individual that steps should be taken to control it. Here is the list of 8 ways which may help you to overcome fear of death.
8. Interrupt anxiety when it starts:
If you do not put stop on the thoughts that cause anxiety immediately, then it starts to grow. It may reach frenzy when everything blows into dramatic proportions causing undue fear about death which may at times lead to a panic attack. When you find yourself thinking on the terms of “What if death……….” pull yourself together immediately and put stop to it then and there. Easier said than done, but with practice you can start to identify the course your thoughts are taking to manage them.
7. Do not dwell on unpleasant memories associated with death:
If your fear stems from some unpleasant memories you have associated with death then try to avoid dwelling on them constantly. Be it your grandparent’s struggle with illness in his/her last days, the horrific accident killing many or any other event that causes fear in your heart about death should be kept away. Instead of the chaos of death, think about how people said that they were at peace finally.
6. Do not try to hide your fears:
Do not hide your fear of death, because it is nothing to be ashamed of, but be cautious to whom you speak. Talking to a counselor or a wise person, can help you deal with your fear and finally overcome it. If you try to avoid talking about death because you fear it, then there are chances that it will always be something to fear about. Knowing how other people deal with the fact that everyone dies in the end may give you an insight to deal with your own fears. As you speak about your fears, you may come to terms with the fact that you have your own limitations as a human and there are things which should be accepted gracefully.
5. Accept its necessity:
Even though you fear death, do you really want to live forever? Imagine how life would be without an end to it. When you think about death now, it may seem a terrible thing; but at the time it happens it may be what a person needs to end the misery of living or it can be a perfect end to a perfect life lived. Death helps the wheel of nature run smoothly. Without death the greed and chaos will be limitless.
4. Use thoughts of death as a springboard:
Use the thoughts of death as a springboard to dive into life with full enthusiasm, because you are not going to live forever to enjoy life. Don’t unnecessarily worry about death, but allow it make you realize how precious your life is. Promise yourself that you are going to make the most of the days you spend on this earth and leave it a better place than you found it.
3. Make right plans:
If your fear of death stems from the fact that your loved ones are dependent on you and you are not sure what will happen to them after your death, than make plans and preparations for it. Being worried and stressed you are not going to leave them any better off, but your mental agony may show the way for you to leave them sooner.
2. Identify your triggers:
Often fear of death is based on some other fears. It could be fear of being alone, fear of pain, fear of losing control, fear of unknown or fear of life in hell after death. Instead of handling the whole fear of death, identify what triggers it and take one step at a time to deal with the triggers and specific fears independently.
1. Focus on your quality of life:
Remember the quote of Hilary Cooper who said – Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. The more you focus on life and live the moment to the fullest, the less will be the fear of death haunting you. Find peace and be relaxed through whatever method that suits you, be it meditation, religious pursuance, spirituality, sports, relationship, music, dance, work or fun activities. Every person has different ways of deriving courage to deal with different challenges of life. Know that the inevitability of death cannot be changed, but the quality of life can be.