Why We Fear DeathJan 02, 2023
Death is a natural process that happens to everyone. Though we all know this, we often fear death and the unknown that comes with it. Why do we have this fear, and what are some of the reasons why we fear death? This blog post will explore the psychology behind our fear of death and discuss some of the reasons why it exists.
The reasons why death brings fear to us
Death can be such a controversial topic. It's something that most people will probably not like being talked about in conversations. As a result, some of us try to move away from discussing or thinking about it. The truth is that we cannot escape death; it will inevitably happen to all of us. Still, many of us fear it so much that it can affect our thoughts and decisions. We fear death for several reasons, and depending on the person, these may or may not apply to an individual. Our beliefs and experiences can shape how we think about death, so depending on your outlook on life, the following may or may not apply to you.
1. We don't know what exactly happens after death
The fear of the unknown naturally happens to many of us, and death certainly brings this idea. But, unfortunately, no one knows what happens after we die. Unless somebody can go back to life after death and live to tell the tale of what happens after death, whatever happens after death will forever remain a mystery. This uncertainty can make people afraid, and it's up to us whether we want to accept this nature of death or live in fear.
2. Lack of acceptance regarding the nature of death
People fear death because they can't accept that it will eventually happen to them. It cannot be easy to accept that everything will just come to an end after striving and working hard to achieve goals and enjoy various things in life. However, it's the truth that all people will eventually die. The earlier we can accept that death is natural, the better we can cope and face it once it comes. Early acceptance of death may help us view life better by making the most out of it before our time comes to say goodbye.
3. Uncertainty of death
No document or schedule mentions when we are supposed to die. People can die anytime for various reasons, such as acquiring a life-threatening illness, getting into an accident, or passing through old age. Whatever the cause of death, we never know when it can happen, and we also don't know how we will die. These uncertainty factors can cause death anxiety to some when they let their fear of death overtake their minds. It can make someone overly cautious of doing things to the point they may completely shy away from engaging in certain activities to avoid the risk of death, such as doing extreme sports. When death fears become too much, it can be a good idea to consult a medical professional like a therapist to help you overcome your fears.
4. Having a near-death experience
Depending on the person, experiencing a situation that puts you near death can either have a negative or positive effect. People may become more resistant and accepting of death by becoming more courageous because of what they have experienced and overcome. On the other hand, some may become more fearful of death because they have been near it and don't want to experience it again. Subjecting oneself to more instances that put you close to death can have varying effects, but being close to one can cause why one will have a death fear.
5. Religious beliefs
Spirituality, such as religious affiliation, can influence how one thinks about death. Some religions believe there is an afterlife, such that when we die, our souls will depart our physical bodies and go on to live a different life afterward. Some may even have the idea of resurrection, where an individual will live a different life depending on what deeds they have done in their past lives. Religions can also have the concept of a place we will go to after death, depending on how good or bad we are when we are still living, such as the idea of heaven and hell in Christianity. Depending on how one takes in these ideas, one's religious belief increases the fear one may have of death. People may be scared to die because they fear getting punished in the afterlife and being thrown into hell or whatever place is reserved for sinners.
6. State of health
Again, this can vary on the person, but one's state of health can be a factor that makes someone more accepting of death. If a person generally has better physical and mental health, they can feel better about themselves, leading to more optimism and thus fare better when facing death. On the other hand, having a more frail health condition can make someone more vulnerable to fearing death because they are more susceptible to acquiring illnesses, especially life-threatening ones. There can also be the case of someone being more accepting of death when they have terminal illnesses that put a countdown on their lifespan. They know it is useless to fight fate when their condition is already incurable, so they accept the inevitable fact and face death when it comes.
7. Not being able to experience much of life yet
Older people can be more accepting of death than younger ones because they probably have experienced many things in their lives already and are satisfied with what they have done. Somebody who is younger and hasn't entirely accepted the idea of death yet may have a challenging time living in fear that their time may be up anytime while they still haven't done what they wanted. This idea of life experience is also subjective as somebody who is young but has accepted the concept of death can live life just fine, and they make good use of their time, knowing it may come to an end eventually. Older people can also be scared of death, considering they are much closer to leaving this world if they are going to die of old age. People's perceptions of death can change depending on how they see life, how death may come to them when it arrives, and what they will do while it has not yet come.
Death anxiety doesn't have to put a stranglehold on us.
One's experiences in life and how one chooses to think can influence how one perceives death. For example, a positive mindset may make someone more accepting of death, while a negative one may reject it more, or it can be the other way around. It depends on the person, but what is certain is that death is natural and inevitable. All human beings will go through it at some point, and all we can do is change how we perceive it and adjust our actions and thoughts accordingly. What is essential is that we don't let our fear of death, should we have one, control and limit what we can do in our lives. We can always make the most of everyday life, knowing that someday it will end, and make it worthwhile and leave a legacy that can benefit the people that will remain after we die and the future generations that will come after us.