Few things in life are guaranteed, and death is one of them. It is human nature to fear death, but some obsess over it. Psychologists have developed a way to cope and relieve your fear of death.
Many people fear death, and most of these fears are unrealistic, according to facts by experts from Psychology Today. People often imagine the worst of the worst when it comes to death, but not all these fears are warranted. Experts believe the intensity of the pain of death will not be any worse than that of illnesses already affecting people today. When you die, you are not consciously aware of that moment, so do not fret, and just forget.
Humans are unique, as we are the only animals to live in the present, past, and future. According to the National Library of Medicine, animals, if they live in the future, it is related to survival. Animals have no sense of personal goals or aspirations. While humans often contemplate our deaths, animals only fear death due to instinct. According to Smithsonian magazine, animals experience fear, grief, and mourning death. However, they do not imagine their deaths or forecast their fear.
“Consider the rather startling fact that you will never know you have died. You may feel yourself slipping away, but it isn’t as though there will be a ‘you’ around who is capable of ascertaining that, once all is said and done, it has happened,” said Jesse Bering, an evolutionary psychologist.
In western society, we often avoid talking about this subject, according to Psychology Today. We worry about losing loved ones, leaving us to fear the death of our children and significant other, but discussing the fear of dying yourself is often taboo. Our society removes our dead quickly, someone dies, and within days a funeral or memorial is held, compared to eastern cultures, where death and the cycle of life, including temples, statues, worship, and prayer, over past ancestors and the recently deceased. Eastern cultures, such as the Japanese and Chinese, often leave fruit, green tea, and other offerings, well as burn incense, to honor their deceased.
Living Life To The Fullest
With all this in mind, the answer is simple, live in the moment, day-by-day, second-by-second. According to Psychology Today, to live life to the fullest, you must find purpose in life. When your life has meaning in this vast universe, if your consciousness starts to slip away during death, you will feel fulfilled, diminishing your fear of dying. Contributing to society and those around us promotes connections, growth, and fulfilling life. Humans are a communal species, and when we do for others, it opens the door to fulfillment.
“The way to value life, the way to feel compassion for others, the way to love anything with the greatest depth is to be aware that these experiences are destined to be lost,” said psychiatrist Irvin Yalom in Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death.
Confucius famously said, “If you don’t know life, how can you know death?” This quote speaks volumes regarding life and death, meaning that if you fear death, you must have had a life worth living. So live life
Fear Of Dying Painfully
For some, the fear of death is based more on experiencing pain rather than death itself. People often picture a slow and agonizing death instead of a quick and painless passing. Everyone is afraid of dying a painful death, but not everyone obsesses over it. Since people who have passed away cannot tell us what their experience o pain is like, we imagine it to be full of pain whether it will be or not. Scientific evidence shows there is no reason to believe that death will feel more painful than any other form of pain we experience daily. Severe injuries hurt more after than they do during it, so if you were to die in a brutal manner, you would not experience the intensity of the pain most would after such an injury.
Fear Of Losing Consciousness
Others fear such as consciousness slipping away into nothingness, no longer opening their eyes and existing. Death, described from a scientific perspective, is the complete cessation of consciousness, according to the National Library of Medicine. Being dead will not feel like anything, so the fact that we fear something we do not even experience afterward seems silly, but is it?
Even 2,300 years ago, the Greek philosopher Epicurus had insight into the matter that still holds today. “Why fear death when we can never perceive it?”
The goal of the human brain is survival. Fear is key to survival, triggered by a real or perceived threat. The human brain cannot decipher between thought and reality. The complexity of the human brain is what allows this anomaly. Our brains can often trick us into believing something, even if illogical. The part of the brain responsible for this fear is the same part responsible for the fight or flight response, according to Psychology Today. Whether or not we face a real threat or an actual life-threatening situation.
“Our state of non-existence for the eternity of time after our death is the same state as for the eternity of time before our birth,” said Lucretius, the Roman Epicurean philosopher.
Death can be a scary thing to imagine, both the pain, and lack of consciousness, but these fears are often unreasonable and prevent us from living our lives to the fullest. So do not fear death fear not living life a fulfilling life.