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Ways to Overcome Fear of Death

by
author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
Ways to Overcome Fear of Death
A graveyard filled with tombstones. Photo Credit DAJ/amana images/Getty Images

Overview

The fear of death, otherwise known as thanatophobia, can leave you paralyzed and terrified at the thought of getting out of bed each morning. For those who suffer from thanatophobia, the world can become a scary and upsetting place. If you are suffering from a fear of death, you should understand that death is a natural part of the life cycle, and coping mechanisms can help you move on with your life and live it to the fullest without the constant specter of the fear of death.

Understand Your Fear

Understanding that your fear isn't necessarily a bad thing can help you become grateful for it and eventually conquer it. Gavin de Becker, author of "The Gift of Fear" and a New York Times columnist, points out that fear can help protect you and is a basic instinct for staying safe and alert. The fear you feel of death is actually an instinct ingrained in you to help you stay alive. Coupled with adrenaline and stress, it can keep you on the lookout for potential danger.

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Find Religion

Those who believe in a higher power are less fearful of death. A study performed by the University of Maryland and published in a 2006 issue of Research on Aging found that individuals that identified themselves as intrinsically religious had a more positive opinion of death and were generally more accepting. Religion often teaches of an afterlife, which can help you see past the event of death and hypothesize upon what might happen afterward.

Talk About It

Talking out loud with a health care provider or family member about your death can make it seem less frightening and more normalized. The UBM Medica Psychiatric Times suggests that a therapist can help you transition from a fear of death to an acceptance of death and, in turn, an embrace of life. Mentioning your fears to someone that you trust can help you work on your fear by making it a regular topic of conversation and not something that is taboo or upsetting.

Accept Death

Everyone knows that death is a basic part of the life cycle. Acknowledging the fact that it is inevitable and nothing will change the fact that you will one day die can remove the responsibility of your death from your hands. If you are constantly worrying about dying and are becoming withdrawn from a world that you think of as dangerous, you are shouldering the responsibility for your survival completely. Acknowledging death can help you realize there is nothing that you can do to change the fact that you will die.

Live Your Life

It may sound like a tired cliche, but it's important to live your life to its fullest. If you are constantly filling your life with happiness, family, friends, relationships and experiences, death becomes less scary as you realize you've done everything in your power to live the best life possible. You won't accomplish it by cowering in your home, so go out and life a full life without regrets. Live your life meaningfully so you can accept death knowing you did the best that you could, says Dealingwithdeath.org.

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References

Demand Media