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How do you cope with fear of death?


How do you cope with fear of death?

Light On Anxiety Answer:

There are two types of phobias around death: necrophobia, which is the fear of dead things and things associated with the dead (funerals, cemeteries), and thanatophobia, which is the fear of one’s self dying. You can live a fulfilling life with either phobia if you have the right coping skills.

A good starting place, if you can do it, is to find a therapist who has experience in treating anxiety and phobias. It can be helpful to understand where your particular fear of death comes from. Often there is a trauma associated with the fear, whether it be the loss of a loved one or having come close to dying yourself. Regardless, a therapist can tailor a treatment plan to you and your specific anxiety.

Two things to try on your own:

  1. Journaling: Reflect on a question or thought with five or ten minutes of writing (or more). Journaling will give you the space to reflect on your fear. You also might consider challenging yourself to counter the darkness by writing about things you’re grateful for.
  2. Grounding: This is a mindfulness technique that helps you get into the moment and can distract from distressing thoughts. Listen to a song intently and notice the lyrics or bass line, pet an animal, hold an ice cube and watch it melt. Focus on your senses and your surroundings, giving yourself room to accept your thoughts without judgement.

If you are in a situation where you are facing end-of-life care due to illness, it can be helpful to have conversations with your family about a plan, whether it’s about how long you’d like to be on life support or what kind of celebration or funeral you envision. Having a plan and knowing your wishes will be carried out can give you a sense of comfort and control.

Thinking about death is scary—it’s final, and what comes after is unknown, whether you believe in an afterlife or not. Most of all, coming to terms with death being a part of life is important for moving past the fear.

If you have a similar questions or concern, please schedule a call with Light On Anxiety to explore effective treatment for your anxiety or related conditions.

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