Most people look forward to the future with hope and excitement. They think of all the things they want to do and places they want to see. However, other people spend their life dreading the future due to a fear of death, also known as thanatophobia.
Thanatophobia can occur at any age, and it can interfere with your daily life. Those that suffer from it aren’t usually afraid of other people dying but are scared of their own death.
Some of the Symptoms of Fear of Death Include:
Like every phobia, fearing the unknowns of death can range from mild symptoms to severe. Here are some of the signs, according to therapists:
- frequent panic attacks
- sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- feeling like you are choking
- looking for ways to stop aging
- constantly thinking about ways that you might die
- extreme anxiety
If you have a fear of death, learning to cope with it is essential. Otherwise, you might miss out on opportunities and experiences. Plus, thanatophobia can interfere with your relationships and careers.
1. Practice Self-Care
One way to cope with thanatophobia is to take care of yourself. Don’t involve yourself in bad situations, and avoid participating in unhealthy activities. Some of the things you should avoid include smoking, doing drugs, abusing alcohol, and texting while driving.
If you can take care of yourself by avoiding bad situations, you won’t fear death as much. When you are participating in risky behavior, the thought of death will be at the front of your mind.
2. Explore Spiritual Ideas
Sometimes exploring spirituality can help you cope with the fear of death. Learn about your family’s religious background or current practices. Ask questions about the afterlife as you explore these ideas because that will help you understand it better.
Exploring spiritual ideas can help you develop a stronger faith system. With a stronger foundation, you will have an easier time coping with thanatophobia.
You don’t only have to stick with your family’s spiritual background, either. Spend time exploring different spiritual beliefs and practices until you find one that resonates with you.
3.Explore Philosophical Ideas
If spirituality isn’t for you, then you can explore philosophical ideas instead. Philosophy can help you cope with thanatophobia because many philosophers discuss death. You can explore many of the misconceptions of death that might cause you to fear it.
4. Do What You Want or Need to Do
In other words, regain control of your life to cope with fearing death. Spend time with people that make you happy, and avoid those that cause you to feel anxious or uneasy. Stay active and engage with the world around you, and do things that bring you joy.
If you have any business to take care of or someone to talk to, do it right away. Waiting will only bring further fear of death. When you have these things weighing on you, it can be hard to feel like you are in control of your life.
Likewise, staying at a job that makes you unhappy will make you feel like you can’t reach your dreams. When you don’t live life the way you want to, you will dread the end of your life and fear it constantly.
This is true for your relationships, too. If you are in an unhealthy relationship, get out of it as soon as you can. You must spend time with people you love and love you in return if you want to cope with your fear.
5. Spend Time Outside
Spending time in nature can help you appreciate the world around you. Surprisingly, when you appreciate the world, you fear death a little less.
Appreciation for nature helps you see that you are part of something much bigger than yourself. Additionally, it can give you a chance to become comfortable with the natural cycles of life.
6. Stop Unproductive Thinking
When you try to predict the future by thinking of what could happen or go wrong, it is unproductive thinking. This thought process causes negativity and is a direct link to thanatophobia because it causes you to dread things. If you can shift your thinking to more productive thoughts, you will feel better and fear death a little less.
7. Create Habits or Take on Rituals
Rituals might make you think of religious topics, but anything can be a ritual. Find something positive that makes you feel good and do it once each day. This could include taking a walk after dinner, lighting a candle when you wake up, or writing in a journal.
With these rituals, you will find meaning in your life. Your days will seem more fulfilled, and you won’t dread the end quite as much. Plus, they will give you something to look forward to each day instead of thinking of the bad things that could happen.
8. Talk About Death
You might think that talking about death will make your phobia worse, but the opposite is true. When you openly discuss it, you will start to view it in a positive light. It helps you recognize it is a natural part of life rather than something to fear constantly.
9. Give Yourself a Time for Worry, But Then Put Aside That Fear of Death
Unfortunately, you can’t cut worry and fear from your life entirely. You can, however, dedicate a few minutes each day to let your negative thoughts come to light. Then, when your fear of death comes to mind, you can easily put it off for a different time.
If you set time for worry at the same time daily, you will begin naturally pushing away negative thoughts. Since you know that you will have time for worrying later, you can focus on other things instead.
10. Accept Death as a Natural Part of Life
When you recognize death as a natural part of the life cycle, it will help you cope. Acknowledging that death happens to everyone will help you realize that it isn’t something to fear. It will also help you be grateful for what you have as you live your life.
11. Try Something New
Trying something you haven’t done before will help you stop fearing things you don’t understand. It will help you focus on the joyful things in life instead of worrying about death. Plus, trying new things will help you let go of the things you can’t control, such as the idea of dying.
12. Talk to a Therapist
Sometimes your fear will begin to consume your life and interfere with your personal and professional well-being. When this happens, talking to a professional can help you begin to cope with thanatophobia. A therapist will help you discuss your phobia in a beneficial way rather than in a way that causes you to spiral.
Plus, a therapist can teach you other ways to cope, too. As they get to know you on a deeper level, they can help you find methods that work for you.
13. Read More About Death
The more you know about death, the better you will understand it. With understanding comes coping with the fear. Many resources can give you the information you need and answer any questions you might have.
14. Make a Plan
Sometimes the fear of death comes from not knowing what will happen. Whether you are worried about the days leading up to death or what will happen after, it can cause this phobia. By making a plan for the parts that worry you, you can begin to cope with the fear.
Even if you are young, you can still get your affairs in order. Doing so will help you feel like you have some control in the matter. Consider things like planning your memorial service, putting together a will, or designate a power of attorney.
15. Focus on Living a Good Life
By focusing on living a good life, you will fill your thoughts with positive things. Do things that make you happy, focus on your health, and work on fulfilling your dreams. You might even want to create a bucket list and begin checking things off.
Focusing on the present can help push your fear of death out of your mind when you need to. Fill your life with joyful things and make sure you are living a fulfilling life.
Death is a natural part of the life cycle, and it will inevitably happen to you at some point. You can’t live in fear of death, though, or you will miss out on living a meaningful and fulfilling life. If you have thanatophobia, try some of these ways to cope.
By learning to cope with your fear, you can stop allowing it to consume your life. Focus on the present and spend time doing things that make you happy instead of worrying about death.
As you focus on positivity and living your best life, you will find that your fear diminishes. Try some of these methods of coping with thanatophobia and see what works best for you.