It’s perfectly normal to question our own mortality. For some, it seems to happen when someone close passes away or gets sick enough to question their own mortality. For others, it happens later in life. Perhaps when our children have grown up and the empty nest leaves us with too much time on our hands.
Whatever brings on worrying about death, facing and dealing with the fear is the only way to keep it from monopolizing our lives and taking away from our future.
Having a close call with death, a terrible illness that forces us to question a future and untreated mental health issues can also be at the root of the problem.
It can happen at any age and stage of life. In fact, children, especially teens often worry about death. Examining where the fear is coming from is important, but it’s more important to continue living a full and happy life.
Here are several ways to stop worrying about death and spend more time building a fantastic future!
Death is Natural, We Need to Accept It
The cycle of life is normal. Every plant, human and animal will eventually come to the end of a lifespan. We have the opportunity of creating an enjoyable life through joyful living, the honor of contributing to our society, and the blessing of nurturing relationships with others during our lifetime.
Yes, some lives are cut short. Others seem to go on forever. Treat life as a gift and remember that every single living creature has three stages: conception, birth and death. What we do with the section between birth and death is largely up to us.
This Life is Yours to Live, So Live It
Too many times people live an unsatisfactory life in their own eyes. We stay in careers we despise and persist with relationships that we know are unhealthy. Sometimes we may believe that’s all we deserve or it’s too hard and too much work to change.
Time is important. Spend it nourishing great relationships and creating lasting memories. Nobody else is responsible for our happiness. We need to take charge of our lives. Who wants to look back at the last several decades and be filled with regret!?
Live this life! Take chances! Make dreams come true!
Explore the Afterlife
If the question, “What happens when we die?” is causing anxiety or worry, explore it. Don’t run from it. Running from what happens after death isn’t going to prevent it. It’s only going to prolong understanding and the ability to find comfort in “what happens next” thinking. Educate yourself on spirituality or religious aspects, customs and beliefs. It’s okay to ask tough questions.
Use Others’ Experiences
It’s pretty hard to find a human being with no experience regarding death and dying. To quiet the worrying and fears, sometimes talking it out with someone who has dealt with death is helpful. If the thought of being that vulnerable is too much at this point, there are plenty of books and audiobooks available.
Sometimes the self-help section of the book store is a little confronting, so go for autobiographies. In just about every single autobiography there is a part where the author has had to deal with their own mortality. If movies are a more comfortable speed, go for it. There are tons of movies addressing all sorts of illnesses ending in death, freak accidents and the religious/spiritual afterworld. They don’t necessarily provide answers, but they can prompt questions.
Live Well, and Live it Now!
The main focus in life shouldn’t be on when it ends. It should be on how to make this life the best possible life ever lived! Take care of the life vessel. Feed the body proper nutrition, cultivate the mind, take walks and breathe deeply. Let every breath reach all the way down to the toes and take time to see, touch, smell and enjoy everything. These human bodies are only designed to live for so long; treat yours with respect and give it every chance to make it as long as possible.
The hardest part of worrying about death can be dealing with the details of our own passing. People tend to avoid it, thinking it’s going to cause even more angst and fear. On the contrary, planning out the details leaves one feeling more comfortable. After it’s done and the hard decisions have been made, typically people feel relieved.
Part of the relief and comfort comes from knowing loved ones aren’t forced to make plans and decisions hoping it’s what you would have wanted. The other part comes from knowing that the worry and despair have been dealt with and overcome. There’s nothing to fear anymore. Everything that can be has been taken care of; that means life can be lived without a black cloud of doom hanging around.
Death doesn’t have to be a source of worry. There’s a saying: Take one bite of the elephant at a time. It means to attack each problem step by step, one piece or layer at a time, until the whole thing is finally conquered and it’s no longer a problem. Worrying about death is one of those delicate situations where it may seem big as an elephant. Disavowing the seemingly gigantic worries regarding death, piece by piece, is often the best approach.