Just as people have a fear of spiders, enclosed spaces, heights and numerous others, a fear of death is a very 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?
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 fear of death frightened of?
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.
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.
Loss of control
We believe we have control over our lives, death is something we have no control over.
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
If you believe there is a God, Allah, Creator etc.. you may fear atonement, punishment for “sins,” for devout believers for example in the Catholic Church, damnation to the fires of hell, for some who still believe in purgatory, the half way stop over between heaven and hell where we atone for our sins before getting our pass to heaven. Others fear hell is a very real.
How to overcome a fear of death
- 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, find out what others have experienced, I have read many books on the subject and I know you will benefit hugely when you hear the wonderful stories and experiences people have gone through.
- Tap your fears out of your system, (using EFT), if you have never heard of 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 it out here; https://youtu.be/bdu6M9GRT24
Don’t let fear of death ruin your joy of living, understand that it’s simply a thought you keep thinking over and over until it controls your thought process and progresses into a phobia, you have the power to control your thoughts, so change them whatever way you can, and YOU CAN!!!