Common Habits That Maintain Fear Of Death In The Present
In my experience, these are 3 of the most common habits that maintain peoples fear of death and death anxiety in the present:
The take-home message of this section is pretty straightforward:
Dont get so caught up in the origins of your fear of death in the past that you ignore the factors in the present that are making it worse.
The rest of this guide will focus on more specific ways you can understand and deal with behaviors, habits, and beliefs in the present that are feeding your fear of death.
Channel Your Fear Of Death Creatively
One of the most underappreciated remedies for anxiety is creative action. And Ive found this no less true for death anxiety.
One way to think about unhelpful fear and anxiety is that its misdirected energy. Obviously, when youre caught in spirals of worry and anxiety, theres a lot of energy there. And it mostly just leads to feeling miserable and not doing much.
But what if you could harness that energy and direct it toward more productive, enjoyable, and meaningful ends?
A simple experiment you can try as a way to deal with heightened fear of death is to have a small creative practice that you can jump into whenever you find yourself worrying about death.
- I had a client once who loved to whittle and carve his own wooden utensils. So, he developed a little routine where, when he began feeling anxious, he took a breath, validated his anxiety, then went out into his garage and whittled for 5-10 minutes. He even kept some whittling supplies at his work and in his car!
- On a personal note, often when I find myself unproductively worried and spinning, I sit down at my computer and work on a new article. The act of doing something and making something useful has a powerful anti-anxiety effect most of the time.
So, think about some small way you like to be creative. Then, the next time you find yourself lost in worries and anxiety about death, try to channel that energy into a creative task or project instead.
What Causes A Panic Attack
One of the scariest things about panic attacks is that they seem to come out of nowhere, often with no obvious cause or trigger. The combination of suddenness, intensity, and inexplicability in panic is terrifying.
But its a mistake to assume panic attacks are random or completely unpredictable just because we dont perceive a cause.
We said above that panic is anxiety about anxiety. Which means thatin the abstractanxiety is the cause of panic.
To better understand this, lets take a closer look at how panic actually happens and what we mean when we say anxiety about anxiety causes panic.
Recommended Reading: How Are Panic Attacks Caused
Can You Treat The Fear Of Death
Treating the fear of death is a bit tricky, because it’s a fear that is generally healthy to have. You would never want your fear of death to go away completely. You simply want it to stop running your life.
You’ll first have to find out if the fear of death is a symptom or a cause. If it’s a phobia, you’ll need to address it like any other phobia – see how your fear of death affects you and try to utilize desensitization techniques so that the fear isn’t as powerful. A therapist will guide you through this process.
If it’s a symptom, then you don’t want to target the fear of death itself. Instead, you want to target the type of anxiety that is causing those death fears. Only then should you successfully be able to live a life where the fear of death has less of an impact.
Was this article helpful?
Is Death Anxiety Common
Fear of or anxiety over death and dying is natural and pretty common. Everybody has feared death to a certain extent. For some people, the fear can even push them towards living healthier or becoming more hygienic. Fear of death only becomes a problem when it begins to interfere with your life and wellbeing.
Also Check: What Does Bipolar Disorder Feel Like
How To Stop A Panic Attack: 12 Ways To Cope:
The Two Types Of Anxiety Over A Loved Ones Death
Lets get very concrete about this topic because spinning around in the what ifs can paralyze anyone with existential fear. To start with, lets make an important distinction. There are two major types of anxiety about a loved ones death:
These two types of anxiety are very different and need different types of responses.
Recommended Reading: Can You Develop Bipolar Disorder Later In Life
Engage In Light Exercise
Research shows that regular exercise can not only keep the body healthy but boost mental well-being, too.
Experts have found that exercising at 60 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate for 20 minutes three times per week can help reduce anxiety.
If you are not used to exercising, talk with your doctor before starting. There is some evidence that starting aerobic exercise anew can trigger additional anxiety in people with an anxiety disorder. Building up gradually can help your body adjust and avoid breathing problems. Aerobic exercise includes activities such as running on a treadmill.
If you feel stressed or youre hyperventilating or struggling to breathe, stop and take a rest or choose a more moderate option, such as walking, swimming, or yoga.
Scenario : Worrying When A Loved One Is At A Higher
This is a common experience for anyone, but its been tragically even more prevalent in a time when nearly 3 million people have lost their lives to COVID-19, and many millions are at high risk for serious outcomes if they contract the virus. Millions of people also have illnesses like cancer or heart disease that could become fatal. If you have a loved one whos at high risk, facing a serious illness, or near the natural end of their life, you may be worried about the day when they will die.
Dont expect yourself to be perfectly rational and poised if youre facing the impending loss of someone you love. Allow yourself to feel anxiety and grief.
Its one thing to rationally understand that death is inevitable and that things may be out of your control, but its quite another to feel at peace with that knowledge. Dont expect yourself to be perfectly rational and poised. After all, you may be facing the impending loss of someone you love. Allow yourself to feel anxiety and grief.
At the same time, for both your sake and the sake of your loved one, be wary of natural anxiety and grief turning into an unhelpful state of paralysis or preoccupation. It may be time to take some steps if you find yourself:
- Unable to manage the basics in life
- Unable to engage in proper self-care, or
- So preoccupied with thoughts about your loved ones death that you cant enjoy your time with them now.
Lets look at three things you can do to help yourself.
Read Also: How To Help Someone With Ptsd Sleep
When Should I Call The Doctor
Contact your healthcare provider if you experience:
- Difficulty functioning in your daily life due to fear of death or the dying process.
- Symptoms of a panic attack.
What questions should I ask my doctor?
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Are there support groups for thanatophobia?
- How long does psychotherapy last?
- Will my fear of death ever go away?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Thanatophobia is an intense fear of death or the dying process. While its natural to feel anxious about death from time to time, thanatophobia is an anxiety disorder that can disrupt every aspect of your life. Dont be afraid to talk to a healthcare provider about your fears. They can connect you with a mental health professional who can help you find healthy ways to overcome this condition.
Calming Step : Focus On Breathing
Your breath affects your mental state, so breathing is a crucial part of stopping a panic attack.
During a panic attack, your breathing speeds up, a signal that your body is in fight-or-flight mode, Dr. Josell says. Rapid breathing sends a clear signal that youre in danger, but slow, deep breathing helps to turn off the fight-or-flight response.
Don’t Miss: Can Anxiety Cause Throat Tightness
Overcoming Fear Of Death: How To Treat Death Anxiety
Dealing with death anxiety is a complicated process, whether youre terminally ill or not. Mortality is a hard topic to grapple with, whether youre healthy or not.
If the fear of death overwhelms you, seeking out standard treatments for anxiety, professional help, or learning healthy coping mechanisms can be your ticket to relief and control over these emotions.
That said, here are nine ways to help manage your fear of death:
Tip 1: Talk To Your Doctor About Anti
When all else fails, it is probably time for you to seek professional help from a doctor.
Consider providing the doctor with a detailed account of your medical history and how your panic attack symptoms have developed over time. It is also important for you to inform the doctor of any potential medical allergies to any medication you might have.
Don’t Miss: How To Ground Yourself During A Panic Attack
Research On Cardiovascular Death And Anxiety
A 2008 study investigated the risk of heart attacks, CHD, and cardiovascular death among people with panic attacks or PD. The study identified the following correlations:
- There was an increased incidence of heart attack among people below 50 years of age who had panic attacks or PD.
- There was an increased incidence of CHD among people of all ages who had panic attacks or PD.
- There was a decreased incidence of cardiovascular-related death among people of all ages who had panic attacks or PD.
The research did not find that panic attacks cause heart attacks and heart disease. It also did not prove that panic attacks protect a person from cardiovascular-related death the study only established a correlation between these factors.
A panic attack will not directly trigger a heart attack. However, a
Schedule Death Chats With Supportive People
One of the strongest core beliefs that keeps many people stuck in their fear of death is that theyre alone.
Because death is not a topic most people talk a whole lot about in casual conversation, its easy to end up assuming that its just not something other people think about or fear at all themselves.
And while its true that most people probably dont struggle with fear of death in a big way, its a mistake to assume that they dont think about it at allboth because its untrue but also because it makes you feel more isolated and alone in your fears, which tends to only aggravate the situation.
On the other hand, if you can have more authentic conversations with other people about the topic of death, the result will be that you feel much less alone in your fears.
And when you dont feel as alone, its a lot easier to work through them in a healthy way.
So, heres a simple way to stop feeling so alone in your fear of death: Find someone you trust and are relatively comfortable opening up to and ask them if theyd be okay having some conversations specifically about this topic of death.
The conversations can be relatively free form and dont necessarily have to be about your fear of death specificallythey could be partly philosophical they could be about how death is portrayed in film and literature and what you think about it they could be about how society in general tends to think about death.
Don’t Miss: What Is An Eating Disorder Classified As
What To Do When You Have A Panic Attack
Steps that may help are take a warm shower, counting to ten, practising a deep breathing exercise: in through the nose, out through the mouth helps to slow the heart and calm the body. If you dont panic, so much so that you feel you cannot speak or move, or even to move your eyes, go to a quiet room where you are free from other people. Mindfulness and meditation are great ways to build long term resilience to the waves of panic. For example, trying not to focus on what you are worried about or feeling anxious about, but distracting yourself by going for a walk or watching something funny.
Ways To Overcome Your Fear Of Death And Death Anxiety
- In Guides
Fear of death is one of the more common but misunderstood forms of anxiety people struggle with.
As a psychologist, I spent years helping people to better understand their fear of death and work through it in a healthy way. And thats exactly what Im going to do with this guide.
You will learn:
- How to discover the origins of your fear of death.
- Identify habits and patterns in your life that are making it worse.
- And over a dozen specific strategies anyone can use to work through it.
Lets dive in!
Also Check: What Is The Phobia Of Clowns
Betterhelp Is There For You: Death Fears
In some parts of the country, finding access to a counselor or a therapist can be difficult – and expensive. That’s particularly true if you’re looking for help with something very specific like a phobia. Online counseling can help to broaden your options while increasing flexibility and decreasing cost.
By giving you access to thousands of online therapists and counselors, online therapy helps to give you a private, convenient, and affordable method of addressing your problems and learning ways to cope. Take the first step.
Some common questions about Thanatophobia can be found below:
Is thanatophobia a mental illness?Does thanatophobia go away?How do I get rid of thanatophobia?What is Frigophobia?Do I have thanatophobia test?Why do I constantly think about death?What are the two fears we are born with?What is a Glossophobia?
What Is A Panic Attack And How Is It Treated
Panic is an intense sensation of fear or anxiety in response to an actual danger or acute stress. Panic inhibits our ability to reason clearly or logically. Panic and panic attacks can be treatedboth psychotherapy and medication have been found to be effective in helping to reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks. Your specific treatment path will depend on personal preference, medical history, and the severity of your attacks.
Panic attacks typically occur without warning and can be accompanied by symptoms like chest pain, dizziness, trembling, sweating and shortness of breath. It can be frightening to experience, either firsthand or as a witness. But knowing the warning signs or triggers of an attackif anyand remembering to breathe deeply or count backwards during the episode can help, in addition to other treatments like therapy and medication.
Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.
Your privacy is important to us. All results are completely anonymous.
You May Like: What Does Bipolar Look Like
Medications And Treatments For Having A Panic Attack
Contrary to popular belief, medications are not the best way of controlling a panic attack that has already started. Medications take time to be absorbed into the bloodstream, typically longer than the duration of an actual attack. Breathing in and out of a small paper bag, as often depicted in the movies, actually works to subdue an active eruption of anxiety. This technique, known as carbon dioxide rebreathing, works by normalizing the pH of the blood that would otherwise have risen too high from breathing off too much carbon dioxide during hyperventilation. Meditation, visual imagery, and calming mantras can also stop attacks. Leaving or escaping from an anxiety-provoking situation may alleviate symptoms in the current moment, but can worsen fear of similar situations in the future. Prevention of future attacks is the ultimate goal of treatment.
Why Do I Feel Like This When Im Not In Any Real Danger
Early humans needed the fast, powerful responses that fear causes, as they were often in situations of physical danger however, we no longer face the same threats in modern-day living.
Despite this, our minds and bodies still work in the same way as our early ancestors, and we have the same reactions to our modern worries about bills, travel and social situations. But we cant run away from or physically attack these problems!
The physical feelings of fear can be scary in themselves especially if you are experiencing them and you dont know why, or if they seem out of proportion to the situation. Instead of alerting you to a danger and preparing you to respond to it, your fear or anxiety can kick in for any perceived threat, which could be imaginary or minor.
Read Also: Is Disordered Eating The Same As An Eating Disorder