Anxiety and the fear of dying are very closely related to one another
For a good reason, too.
According to multiple pieces of research, humans tend to fear the unknown over the known, but you probably knew that, right?
Think about it.
People know that cigarettes are bad for their health, yet they keep smoking, right?
Yet when they end in poor medical condition, they get positively terrified about any illnesses that they might experience, right?
The situations suddenly became that much more real, all because of one unknown factor being involved: your future health.
Crazy how this sort of stuff tends to happen, right?
This newfound realization shouldn’t be all that surprising, yet it is.
Ultimately, it’s because humans are extremely subjective creatures, and can’t truly grasp anything unless they are holding it in their very hands.
Think about it.
Imagine something that normally annoys you and ask yourself this: “Why don’t I feel as annoyed just thinking about it?”
By all accounts, you should.
You know that the experience is annoying, but you can’t truly grasp the measure of that annoyance because it’s not a part of your current state of mind.
The same would apply to any emotion, really.
So humans can’t fathom what they don’t experience (not really, anyway), and they are fearful of what they are unaware of.
This makes the fear of dying sound very reasonable all of a sudden, doesn’t it?
And you know what? It is reasonable!
We haven’t experienced anything remotely close to death prior, no emotion or feeling could ever serve as even a “watered down” version of death to most of us.
So it’s only natural for us to fear it, regardless of how ultimately irrational it is.
Talk about selfish…
So we talked about how we are afraid of death, but that isn’t quite true.
We don’t fear death, we fear our death.
Otherwise, why aren’t we afraid of the fact that so many people die every day? According to data, 151,600 people die every day, and although that number isn’t all that massive when compared to the rest of the human population it still appears to be pretty huge.
I mean, 150,000 is an entire city! Even when we know of other people that died around us, we still can’t bring ourselves quite to that level of fright just thinking about the concept.
A curse or a blessing?
This, by default, already establishes that we, for the most part, don’t have a phobia (irrational, obsessive fear) for the topic of death.
At least not naturally.
Fearing your own death, as we have established, is perfectly reasonable.
So there isn’t really a need to “treat it” by itself, but rather a need for you to come to terms with death.
In other words, you need to have your fear of dying stop controlling your life.
The truth is that we are all afraid of death in some basic, instinctive way.
This survival instinct is actually a crucial part of why we are here, our body and mind function according to it from time to time, more so regarding danger than thoughts about death
It haunts us
The “fight, flight or freeze” mechanism inside our brains is enough of an indicator for this truth.
The body reacts to danger in a very extreme fashion, it will either force you to run away, fight your way through, or simply not move.
I won’t bore you with all the dry details, but the amygdala is the part of our brain that is responsible for certain emotional reactions, as well as anxiety.
It’s just that desperate to keep itself alive, to the point where it perceives any sort of danger as a critical threat.
The fact is, we are terrible in handling fear because our body just loves us that much.
Now that’s an optimistic way to look at it if I’ve ever seen one.
Even so, this will to live, although making you scared of death, isn’t a curse.
It’s a blessing.
It gives us our lives
Your desire to continue through your daily life is subconsciously linked to your need preserve yourself and keep living and surviving.
The fact is that you don’t want to die because you want to live.
Sure, the unknown may be scary, but a lot of things are unknown to you in life. The truth of the matter is, that aside from being an unknown, you simply don’t want to your life to end – you want to live.
And as long as you don’t let your fear of death consume you, it can be an awesome motivator!
You don’t want to die, so use that desire to keep living! Be healthy, be happy, live your life to the fullest – as if there is nothing after it.
Focusing so much on death takes away from the wonders of life.
The only thing that you can do is accept your mortality and live a life with as little regrets and what if’s as you can.
Easier said than done I know, but there is no rationalizing a phobia, or an instinctive fear for that matter.
Being scared of death doesn’t really solve anything
Most of us are, at the very least, somewhat afraid of dying, but if your fear is phobic, to the point where it consumes your life, you are only making death that much close to you.
Think about it, your fear does nothing but bring you stress – something that significantly damages your heath in the long run.
The fact is, anxiety and stress are killers, cold blooded ones at that.
According to a 2012 study, even a mild case of anxiety can shorten your lifespan.
In this research, it was determined that even people who experience a mild case of anxiety, to the point of having trouble sleeping, were shown to be 20% more likely to die within a 10-year span.
Crazy, right? Not so much.
Your worry is killing you, and although I can’t really rationalize death to you as anything more than the ending of life, there’s always the harm you inflict upon yourself without even meaning to consider.
The truth is that your fear of death only makes your life and experiences worse.
Not only that, but you are also losing a lot of happy times and experiences without meaning to.
Is fear really worth all of those?
Still not convinced?
So, even after discovering that worrying is counter-productive to your agenda of staying alive, you can’t shake your fear?
Well, how about this then: Your experiences leading to your birth are the same as the ones after your death.
Be you a believer or otherwise, this is an interesting point to consider.
So what should you be doing?
Here is the main kicker – time is your greatest asset.
Money comes, money goes, as do relationships and jobs, but time is always a constant in life.
Spend it doing anything that you love, don’t focus on things like wealth and status – they are meaningless.
Don’t interact with people that bring you down, they won’t do you any good.
Surround yourself with people who make you feel alive and whole, the ones with the same spark as you wish to have.
But most importantly, be curious, try new things, get out of your comfort zone.
Because, one day, when you will be dying, it would be a darn shame to look back and notice all of your missed opportunities and what if’s.
Hindsight is 20/20 after all, and people tend to remember negative experiences and thoughts over positive ones.
Don’t be a part of that statistic.
Not matter how old you are – as long as you are alive, there’s always another opportunity to be found.
Let your fear give you strength
Don’t waste your time on things that don’t make you happy and focus on the ones that do.
You might think that this is an obvious piece of advice, that the answer to your fears can’t be that simple, but it really, really is.
You are fully aware now that life is short, so make the most of it.
It mind sound a bit corny, and it is, but if you live your life the right way, then death will be a blessing rather than a curse.
Like the final chapter of an epic adventure book.
So with that cheesy conclusion behind us, here’s a question I want you to seriously think about – What should you be doing next with your life?
A pretty simple question, but not one that’s easy to answer.
Are you unhappy, do you have people around you that you can’t stand? What are some positive experiences that you are looking forward to?
Often times the most difficult questions are the most simple ones, kind of like trying to define a simple word out of the dictionary.
Anywho, I would love to hear some of your answers in the comment section below!
For now, if you got any question then please send me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
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