How to Be Less Afraid of Dying
Most of us are scared of dying to some extent, but what if that fear starts to negatively impact our everyday lives? If you find yourself thinking about your fear more than you’d like, or stopping activities you enjoy because you’re worried about dying, it’s time to take action.
The steps below will help you to understand your fear more clearly, show you that you’re not the only one who feels afraid, and provide some healthy outlets for exploring the topic of death.
1. Ask Yourself Why You’re Afraid of Dying
It’s hard to address fears when you don’t even know why they exist. Set aside some time to journal about your fear of dying and try and get to the bottom of exactly what scares you. Is it the idea that you’ll be in pain when you die? Are you worried about the afterlife? Or are you concerned about the friends and family you’ll leave behind? Once you’re clear on exactly what is scaring you, you can work to deal with individual issues.
Writing about your fear can also provide its own therapeutic benefits, by giving you a chance to express yourself and make your feelings clear. If you find the practice helpful, you could set aside some time for journaling each night before bed.
2. Read Spiritual Works About Death
It’s human nature to be afraid of dying, and the topic has been explored by religious and spiritual thinkers for thousands of years. Reading books and essays about death can provide interesting new perspectives, and might allow you to form a belief system that helps you feel less afraid. Even if you don’t believe everything you read, it can be reassuring to know that you’re not the only person to have struggled with big questions like, ‘What happens after we die?’
3. Look at Art That Explores the Topic of Dying
Death is a huge part of the human experience and it’s been touched on in millions of different works of art. Depending on your personal preference, you could look at paintings that address death, listen to music that covers the topic of dying or watch films which try to make sense of mortality. Again, you should feel reassured that your fear of death is completely normal, and doesn’t make you strange or different from others.
If you’re feeling inspired, you could even create your own art to explore the topic of death. Try writing a short poem, making a sketch, or writing a song.
4. Take Practical Steps to Prepare
If your fear of dying stems from worries about how others will cope without you, it makes sense to take some practical steps to prepare. This could mean taking out life insurance, creating a will, or setting out a plan for your funeral. Doing things to take the burden off your loved ones after you die will help you to feel more in control and less anxious. Actions, like getting your documents in order and speaking to estate planning lawyers, can also benefit you while you’re alive, so there’s no reason to put them off.
5. Accept Your Feelings and Focus on What You Can Control
There’s nothing wrong with being afraid of death. Accepting the way you feel is much more comfortable than trying to resist, so don’t feel like you’re ‘wrong’ for being scared of dying. Instead, practice accepting your feelings and then focusing on things you can control. For example, you might think, ‘I can’t change the fact that I will die one day, but I can get prepared by making a will.’ Or, ‘I can’t change that I’m scared of dying, but I can try my best to enjoy life while I’m alive.’ This mindset can be extremely liberating, and after some practice, it should become second nature.
Is fear of dying troubling you more than you’d like? Try following the steps above to reduce your worries. If you’re struggling to deal with the issue alone, don’t be afraid to seek professional help.