We hear it all the time, there are only two guarantees in this life, taxes and death. Just as people have a fear of spiders, enclosed spaces, heights and numerous others, death phobia is a real phobia that causes huge anxiety for those who live with this fear. The label; Thanatophobia, the definition; abnormal or persistent fear of one’s own death or the process of dying. a “feeling of dread, apprehension or solicitude (anxiety) when one thinks of the process of dying, or ceasing to be”. It is estimated that 67% of people have a fear of everything dead. Most people don’t know how to overcome a fear of death.
So why do we fear death and have death phobia?
Most people at some stage of their life will have a fear of death, it’s normal and could save your life if a fight or flight situation, but for others when a fear of death becomes an obsession and is continuous, the anxiety can be very disruptive in living a healthy and balanced life.
So what are people with a death phobia afraid?
The death process itself
If you have never watched someone die, your imagination can conjure up images of pain, gasping for breath and very traumatic scenes that are frightening as the mind runs away with itself. The imagination can be very vivid but, did you know that most people will slip away very peacefully. There are literally hundreds of testimonials from hospice carers who assest to the wonderful and peaceful deaths people have. I personally have experienced people and dying and can assure you it was a very peaceful process.
The reality of leaving this earth can cause many to question what lays ahead, where we go, what happens to us, again, everyone at some stage in their lives will have the same questions irrespective of their beliefs and that is natural. Lots of people who have given account of their near death experience speak of a magificant light, they recall their loved one’s coming to meet them, they feel an enormous amout of love engulfing them and if you read any of their books they will all say that they didn’t want to come back to earth. That’s very reasurring to believe.
Loss of control
We believe we have control over our lives, death is something we have no control over. That is very true, but it is also dependant on our belief system, i.e. those who have a strong faith will rely on their faith and belief in the highter power and know they are effectively; ‘going home,’ back to that place from which they came.
Those left behind
It’s natural to ponder what will happen to our loved one’s who are left behind, how they will cope without us, there is a sadness when we think about not being there for them anymore, we worry that they will not be able to cope without us. For those leaving children or family members they have been caring for, that can be a real worry.
Fear of damnation
For those who believe in a higher power like God or Allah, fear of punishment for sins may arise. This fear, common among devout believers such as Catholics, encompasses concepts like damnation to hell or purgatory. However, questioning one’s beliefs can lead to a sense of peace, especially when observing life’s miracles and accepting mortality. Embracing the inevitability of death allows for a fuller appreciation of life’s moments and presence.
How to overcome a death phobia
- Take control of the fear, question where the fear came from, when did it start and what was the trigger? Don’t just accept the fear, face it head on and get to the bottom of where it came from. Is it a result of a belief? Have you every questioned your beliefs and the validity of them? Most people don’t, they accept what they have been taught and don’t really question. People are facing their fears everyday becoming finally free, you can do it!
- Keep a diary, how often do you think about death and dying. We have over 70,000 thoughts every day, when do you find yourself thinking about death? What time of the day are your thoughts of death more prominent? At night, first thing in the morning? How often during the day? How long do they last? You can’t think about death all of the time, so be mindful of your thoughts.
- CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS, don’t let them control your mind, did you know you can? Every time a negative thought comes up about death and dying, CHANGE IT!! Replace it, talk to yourself and tell yourself, I’m not thinking about death to-day? When you stop keeping those thoughts active, they will fade away!
- Read some books on near death experiences to find out what others have experienced. I have read many books on the subject. I know you will benefit hugely from the wonderful stories and experiences people have gone through.
- Tap your fears out of your system, (using EFT). EFT (emotional freedom technique), it really works but you have to take responsibility and do the work. Please try it you will feel so much better. Check out my article on EFT. link; https://www.mourningcross.com/emotional-freedom-technique-for-grief-and-loss/
Don’t allow the fear of death to overshadow your enjoyment of life. Recognize it as a recurring thought that can spiral into a phobia if left unchecked. Remember, you have the ability to steer your thoughts in a positive direction. Believe in your capacity to change them, because you can!
Below an example of a book to read, it’s had great reviews and might just give you some peace of mind.
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