Dealing with death anxiety
Death Anxiety can come in many forms. For many of us, it often takes hold when we’re trying to fall asleep at night. When you’re trying to clear your mind and then the panic mode sets in. The goal here is to come to peace with the thoughts, but one of the things that can help is knowing you are not alone in your fear. Being afraid of death is above all things, natural.
What is death anxiety?
Death anxiety can take many forms but some of those that you might recognise are:
– Trying to understand the idea that when you die, your consciousness ceases to exist
– Fear of missing out because you have a laundry list of things you want to do and might not get chance
– Leaving people behind or worrying about their wellbeing when you pass away
– Losing a loved one
– Fear of a painful or violent death
– Loss of agency and/or dignity
– Leaving things unsaid or undone
– Leaving children behind
– Becoming a ‘burden’
Belief vs Hope
Anxiety around death can be exacerbated when our beliefs don’t align with our hopes. For some people, they believe that when the body dies, the consciousness dies with it.
But, equally, regardless of religious beliefs, we may hope that the consciousness lives on, and we are all reunited with our loved ones in the hereafter.
It’s a complicated topic to navigate, made more difficult by not having a steadfast answer to the age-old question, what happens to us when we die?
There are lots of resources online and in books which can help to relieve some of the anxiety caused by the concept of death:
– No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life – By Thich Nhat Becker
– The Denial of Death – By Ernest Becker
– Mortal Course with Alua Arther and Caitlin Doughty – Visit: www.moralcourse.com
– Grace in Dying meditation series – Visit: www.goingwithgrace.com
– Free Yourself from Death Anxiety: A CBT Self-Help Guide for a Fear of Death and Dying – By Rachel Menzies and David Veale
– Death Anxiety Handbook: Research, Instrumentation, And Application (Death, Education, Ageing and Health Care) – By Robert A. Neimeyer
– Overcoming the Fear of Death: Through Each of the 4 Main Belief Systems – By Kelvin H. Chin
Let's talk about it
Talking about the topic of death and dying can help relieve some anxieties. It can allow us to reframe our thoughts and find healthy ways to manage these feelings so we can cope more effectively. Using the framework below, you might be able to determine what triggers these feelings and how to address them.
– What’s your death anxiety?
– How does it affect your day to day life?
– Who can you speak to about your anxieties?
– How does speaking about them make you feel?
– What are your key ways for dealing with these feelings when you are alone?
The content in this blog was inspired by ‘My Death Anxiety’ by Shannon Kranzler. Follow her dedicated instagram page here: https://www.instagram.com/mydeathanxiety
More resources are available here: https://linktr.ee/mydeathanxiety