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Fear of dying: 3 strategies to manage it

Fear of dying: 3 strategies to manage it

May 5, 2024

The fear of dying is one of the psychological phenomena that most worries a good part of the people who attend psychotherapy.

The fear of physical pain and the idea itself of dying sometimes produces cases of anxiety crises (more or less intense) difficult to manage, and sometimes becomes an obsessive thought.

Why does the fear of death appear?

The idea of ​​death is associated with physical pain, something that happens in some cases when that moment of life arrives. But nevertheless, what produces the most rejection is the existential anguish of thinking about the disappearance of oneself or of loved ones . Why does this happen?

Almost everything we know about what we are and what exists is related to our autobiographical memory, which is the organized set of memories about what we have lived. The idea of ​​death, on the other hand, forces us to think about reality as if it were something that neither we nor our loved ones matter too much about. That is to say, it makes us think of a planet in which everything that our life trajectory has been denied .


The idea that our life trajectories are not one of the fundamental pillars of reality and that that lifestyle full of familiar elements will disappear at some point collides with the way in which we have learned to interpret things. Time passes, whether we want it or not, and we get smaller and smaller each time.

Live in the present

Everything said before may seem very sad, but it is only if we understand our existence as something that depends on the time to be there. Certainly, thinking about the future and the past when death is near can cause pain, but ... What happens if we focus on the present?


If we focus our attention towards the unique experiences we live in each moment, what we experience ceases to be a degraded copy of our past or a beginning of the end that will come sooner or later. The trick to face the fear of death is, then, to stop taking the past and the future as points of reference from which to appreciate things.

Anyway, the future we can not know and if we are sad or depressed it is very likely that we imagine it worse than it will be, and the past we do not remember it perfectly either; What's more, we reinvent it constantly. Focusing on the present is not self-deceived , since that is the only time we can know directly and in a genuine way. In fact, what is foolish is to believe that what we know about what we are and what we have done is pure and perfectly true.

The Mindfulness

Mindfulness is one of the tools used to prevent relapses in phases of depression, something common when the fear of death becomes an inseparable companion of our lives.


Curiously, this simple form of meditation is based among other things on omitting hasty judgments about the past and the future ; What it is about is experiencing the moment. Power a kind of attentional management that leads us to live memories as what they are, something that we live through the present. This means that, somehow, we remove drama from the idea of ​​death, since the more we are able to distance ourselves from our life trajectory, the less emotional impact the idea of ​​the end of it has.

Acceptance in the face of death

Another factor that can be used to deal with the fear of death is working on acceptance. Stop thinking from unreal expectations It helps that the experiences linked to death are lived in a much better way.

And it is that many times, much of the psychological pain we experience is the result of comparing our interpretation of what happens to us with what we would expect to happen to us in an ideal life. In that sense, death should come within our plans.

In fact, this is something that the author Atul Gawande already points out in his book Becoming Deadly: many times, accepting death and renouncing very aggressive medical measures that lengthen life a bit is the best option, taking into account the well-being of patients. The last moments of life are spent with greater serenity and well-being when death is accepted and it stops thinking that fighting for the preservation of one's life is the priority. Believe that everything is a battle and that we are to blame for our own death It is something that can make us suffer much more.

The question, then, is learn not to take responsibility for impossible tasks (like living forever) and get used to experiencing each moment as something valuable in itself for the fact of passing in the present in addition to having the company of loved ones and enjoy relationships that go beyond words.


5 Powerful Ways To Overcome The Fear Of Dying (May 2024).


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