Are You Scared to Die? 5 Tips for Accepting Your Death

Accepting your death will bring peace and comfort to your life. Here’s why I accepted my death when I was 27 years old, and how you can live more fully now. I was scared of dying until I was diagnosed with a chronic disease. It forced me to accept and make peace with my own death, which made life more precious.

accepting your deathIn Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing, Anita describes how Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, chemotherapy, and her near-death experience (NDE) changed her perspective of life, dying, and death. If you fear death, you should read her book – it’ll help you get more comfortable with accepting your death.

Here’s what Anita says about facing her own demise: “Even though I seemed to be fighting my disease, I believed that cancer was a death sentence,” she writes in Dying to Be Me. “I went through the motions of doing everything I could, but in the back of my mind, I still believed that I wasn’t going to make it. And I was very, very scared of death.” Below, I share her perspective on dying and how accepting your death can make you a happier, healthier person.





I’m 46 years old and I’m ready to die. I don’t WANT to die and I don’t think we should take our own lives, but I’m fine with death. These reasons to accept your own death may reduce your fear of dying and increase your passion for life.

5 Tips for Accepting Your Death

I’m not saying you should end your life. On the contrary, I’m encouraging you to cherish life while accepting that death is a natural part of a full, healthy life! I think we’re scared to die because it’s such a mystery – it’s a land people travel to and never (or rarely) return from.

But what if death is better than life? What if the people who have passed are happier and more whole than they’ve ever been?

Our life here on earth isn’t all sunshine and roses. But maybe death is.

1. Know that surrender to death brings healing

“When I was in that state of clarity in the other realm [during her near-death experience], I instinctively understood that I was dying because of all my fears,” writes Anita in Dying to Be Me. “When I relinquished my hold on physical life, I didn’t feel I needed to do anything in particular to enter the other realm, such as pray, chant, use mantras, forgiveness, or any other technique. Moving on was closer to doing absolutely nothing. It seemed more like saying to no one in particular: ‘Okay, I have nothing more to give. I surrender. Take me. Do what you will with me. Have your way.”

I think this type of surrender is healthier than fighting death, disease, dread of the unknown. We who are sick need to learn how to live in harmony with disease, not fight it! This surrender brings healing, acceptance, and peace.

Accepting your death makes every day of life sweeter and more precious.

2. Consider why you’re scared of accepting your death

Fear of death is one of the most common fears we have. Most humans are scared to die (but animals aren’t, are they?). And yet, we don’t know what happens after death! How can we be afraid of something we know nothing about? That’s what I don’t understand.

Accepting Your Death

Accepting Your Death

And yet, it’s our very ignorance that keeps us afraid. We fear what we don’t know, and we know almost nothing about death.

What helped me accept my own death is realizing that life after death could be more amazing, liberating, peaceful, and joyful than life on earth! Our dead loved ones may be beckoning us, trying to tell us that death is amazing. Maybe life on earth is the dumps – even with its bits of glory and beauty. Maybe we’re happier, lighter, and bouncier after we die…and we don’t even know it, so we’re scared to die.

What holds you back from accepting your death?







3. Bliss out! Housework, stuff, and “shoulds” become less important

I’m more afraid of being sucked into the superficial, meaningless, trivial parts of life than I am of dying! I know someone who vacuums her house every day, and someone else who has to buy a new pair shoes every month. Since I accepted my own death, I stopped caring about the superficial, unimportant stuff that we tend to caught up in. I focus on staying happy, healthy, and in remission from ulcerative colitis.

Here’s what Anita says in Dying to Be Me: “I’ll never again take on a job I don’t enjoy just for the money. My criteria for work and for doing things in general are so different now. My life and my time here are much more valuable to me.” If that doesn’t help you with accepting your death, what will?

If you’re dealing with a child’s death, read The Grieving Process After the Death of a Child.

4. Study the research that shows death brings life to the fullest

“Death is a very powerful motivation,” says Laura E.R. Blackie, a Ph.D. student at the University of Essex. “People seem aware that their life is limited. That can be one of the best gifts that we have in life, motivating us to embrace life and embrace goals that are important to us.”

She researched how death affects how you act, and how accepting your death affects the quality of your life while you’re alive.

If you think about death abstractly, you’re more likely to fear it. But if you think about and accept your own death, you’re more likely to life your life more fully. Thinking about your mortality in a more personal and authentic manner may make you pursue what you really value in life.

5. Remember that accepting your death makes you strong, fearless, and courageous

When death holds no horror, there isn’t much else to be afraid of! You can take risks, be yourself, and do things you wouldn’t normally do. If you’re not scared to die, you’re also not scared to live.

What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail? Where would you go if you knew you’d be safe? Who would you talk to if you weren’t afraid of the response?

I accepted my own death when I was in Israel. After I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, I went to Jerusalem to meet my father for the first time. I spent many hours in a church in the Old City, praying and making peace with my life, disease, and death. I called my dad, which I was always scared to do. I met his family, and even traveled to Egypt by myself.

Death is no longer the worst thing that can happen to me. Getting to the end of my life and having regrets is.

Are you having trouble accepting your death?

accepting your deathRead Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Dr Eben Alexander. He’s a highly trained neurosurgeon who had a near-death experience after his brain was attacked by a rare illness.

The part of his brain that controls thought and emotion shut down completely. For seven days Dr Alexander lay in a coma. Then, as his doctors considered stopping treatment, his eyes popped open. He had come back.

Dr Alexander’s recovery is a medical miracle. But the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere. While his body lay in coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence. There he met, and spoke with, the Divine source of the universe itself. Reading his story can help with accepting your death – or the death of someone who has already passed.

If you know someone who is dying, you might be interested in Thoughtful Gifts for Someone Who is Dying.

How do you feel about accepting your death? Are you scared to die? Share your thoughts below. Writing about how you feel can bring clarity, insight, and comfort. Many writers don’t know what they think – especially about significant topics such as accepting their own deaths – until they start writing.

If a friend or family member is mourning death, you may find 5 Ways to Help a Grieving Friend helpful.





xo

19 Responses

  1. Laurie says:

    It sounds like you’re dealing with extreme fear and anxiety, and I’m sorry you feel that way! Those feelings are scary because they seem uncontrollable and unmanageable. They feel so big and overwhelming, it seems impossible to get past them.

    You may find this article helpful – it offers 4 options for people who feel trapped and helpless:
    How to Get Out of the Rut You’re Stuck In
    http://blossomtips.com/getting-out-stuck-in-a-rut/

    When your fears and anxieties are overwhelming you – when you can’t function properly in life because you’re so scared of dying or suffering a catastrophe – then you need to get professional help. I encourage you to call a counselor or distress line, and talk to someone in person about your fears.

    There are no quick tips or easy answers when you’re coping with serious fears and anxieties. You need to take time to get proper help, to discover why you’re scared and what treatments would work best for you. For some, it’s medications or “talk therapy.” Others just need to read up on death or how to cope when they’re scared to die.

    I don’t know what would work best for you…but I encourage you to work with a counselor and find out! Don’t allow your fears to overcome you, don’t let your anxieties rule your life. Instead, take the first step towards dealing with those fears and reach out for help in person.

    And here’s a question for you:

    What would make your fear of dying painful enough for you to actually call a doctor or counselor and get help? What’s holding you back from talking about your fears with people in your life?

  2. Joanna White says:

    Hi My Name is Joanna and i have been consumed by the fear of death now since June it has taken over my life and all i think about is dying every minute of everyday…. im so scared all the time and can not see a way out…. I didnt want to waste my life worrying about the end of it all the time…… any advice would be gratefully received…… Desperate xxx thank-you

  3. Jean says:

    My dad died in front of me and l was o ly 13 which did make me thanophonic but while I was teaching and being a headteacher l put anylon thoughts about dying young like him on the back burner of my induction and was careful to gosport to the do tor with any problems so what really stunned me was with such a good track record of doing the fight thing and such high expectations from the advisers and having ten years of using my interigiity and professional judgements well l made the most stupid mistake a head with my experience could have made which l would t bore you with but the result was a deputy head I didn’t really want and when I felt faint a few times she told me that she had been in a first aid course and I should walk in the fresh air which l did each time and felt better so l didn’t follow my golden rule of always going to the doctor.
    I am coping with dying but earlier than l would ever have expected and if l had done my job properly would have been okay l don’t k ow how to cope with dying g except l have re written my will to include my grandchildren l just can’t cope that it is my own fault and keep beating myself up, I am petrified abd can’t sleep at all except for a couple of hours during the day. I am the only one in this me which comes under the umbrella of comfort care mental homes who is dying soon and won’t believe it even though my brother came with me to the surgery to hear it too less the doctors will put it in writing which they won’t. I don’t know how you can help me but l feel so desperate

  4. Laurie says:

    Brad, I’m sorry that you’re struggling with severe depression. It must feel heavy and black, to feel like you’re not even scared to die. You’ve not only accepted your death…you’re welcoming it.

    I can’t give you the help you need, but I recently wrote an article to help people let go of that feeling of nothingness inside…

    4 Ways to Come Alive When You Feel Dead Inside
    http://theadventurouswriter.com/she/i-feel-dead-inside-come-alive/

    Your life has value, even if you don’t feel like it does. You are deeply loved – and you were created for a purpose – even if you don’t feel like you are loved or have a meaningful life.

    But of course, words like this are meaningless. You can’t be convinced to call for help or talk to your doctor…you have to find hope and faith somewhere deep inside you, that your life is worth living.

    May you reach out for help, and may your depression lift so you can enjoy your life again.

    Sincerely,
    Laurie

  5. Brad says:

    If you suffer from severe depression over a long period of time like I do there is nothing that you look forward to more than your death. I pray for it every night before I go to sleep that I won’t wake up, and I pray for the courage to be able to follow through with my suicide someday.

    • Don says:

      My sister felt the same way and tried to commit suicide twice. She survived. She continued to live the same depressed life.. and then developed Breast cancer. She thought she wanted to die all along but the cancer changed her mine. She had the lump removed and went back and seemed to change for the better for a while but slowly slipped back into the same depressed existence. The rest of the family felt bad for her but realized we could do nothing to help her. It became a bit of a burden to us. She didn’t drive had no money so she often asked for rides and if we would pick things up for her etc. I would usually oblige her but felt resentment and contempt for her. I did not want to be around her. I felt like she was healthy now and had all of her basic needs met be the government.. so had no excuse not to change her life. Fast forward 5 years and the cancer spread and she was giving 4-6 months to live.
      So after two suicide attempts and a life of depression where most her time was spent in a dark room in bed or laying on the coach with TV AND radio blasting all day AND night, Now she wants to live..

  6. Alex says:

    Everything is so bizarre, out of the realm of our imagination. The only reason why death is a gift, is that it releases us from this false personification of reality. Of course that also implies, that we will never get the chance to see, what this really is…

    • Don says:

      What makes you think death is the end of a false reality? Maybe death is part of the false reality? What happens if upon death you have a choice? A choice to go into the light which will wipe your memory and send your soul into another body to come back to earth, or you can go your merry way and do something else? Why do you assume choice ends at death? Maybe when you die you find that you still have the same thoughts and memories and the ability to direct your life.

  7. Laurie says:

    Dear Stan,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Dying really is more complicated when we have children, isn’t it? Especially children who need a bit more support and encouragement.

    Trust that your girlfriend – and other people in your son’s life – will rally around him. He WILL get the support he needs. I bet he’ll even get more support and encouragement than you could give him! People will have sympathy for him, and will do everything they can to help him.

    The only thing you can control is your present moment. Make each moment count. Be here fully, not in the future or in the past. You may be dying – and you may be scared of the things you can’t control – but you can control who you are right now.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers – and your son and girlfriend, too.

    Trust. Believe that love will conquer all.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  8. stan says:

    I was shocked when I heard my prognosis, but sort of accepted death as part of life,. however, when my wife passed over 10 years ago, leaving a 16 year old son for me to teach and raise, it was the most gratifying thing in my life… , now that he’s 25 almost 26, I am worried about him because he is ADHD and needs someone to keep him on the straight and narrow… I feel I am not ready to go because of him… but in my retirement?, life is not what what they say its suppose to be… and I don’t want to end up in a nursing home with dementia and wheel chair…. I have mixed feelings at at 65.. I cry for my son as he is so worried but have a life insurance policy to make things easier if he does not blow it… an my girlfriend will set out the funding to make it work… but feel bad for my girlfriend, although its only a relations of trust and honour, and not so much love and hugs… so with that in mind… I don’t think my life is really worth it anymore

  9. Laurie says:

    Thanks for your thoughts on accepting death, Rene. I see enlightenment as having a relationship with God. Part of the reason I’m not scared of dying or accepting my own death is because of my faith and trust in my Creator. He is stronger than ego, this world, and all my fears.

  10. Rene says:

    You are asking “What do you think would help you accept your own death?” There is only one way to accept death as part of the cycle, and this is enlightenment. Human ego can never accept it’s own death, nor the death of loved ones, and it can only be afraid of it. When our own death is unavoidable and once we’ve had time to grief enough and get past the wants and needs of our ego’s and ago is no longer telling us what to do, once it knows it’s “beat”, acceptance is replacing it and we find peace in the inevitable. Therefore, meditate and silence the mind. Give up on every thought, for there is not one thought that ego can produce that will be helpful, not ever! Only the emptying and clearing of our minds will help us find peace. And accept death as the ultimate liberation.

  11. Laurie says:

    No, that’s not crazy! My best friend felt the exact same way when she was diagnosed with breast cancer: she wasn’t scared to die, but she was really worried about her children and husband. She fought the cancer with chemotherapy treatments and prayer, and she’s alive and strong today.

    I’m curious, though…what makes you wonder if it’s crazy to be scared that your kids might have to grow up without their mother? Do you think it’s an irrational thought or fear?

  12. Hillary says:

    I am not as scared to die as I am scared to no longer be with my husband and children. I want nothing more than to live long enough to see my children grow into adulthood. I am terrified that this might not happen and that my children might have grow up without their mother. Is this crazy?

    • celene says:

      well ive been married for 40 years to an amazing husband have 4 grown successful children and 8 grandkids. I take care of my other who is 95 and my brother with down syndrome. my fear is of dying young. if I look back on my family tree all of my mothers siblings lived to be in their 90’s so I’m hoping to do that too, then I can leave. I guess my fear is dying young and right now I’m too young

  13. Sheila says:

    Knowing after this life another begins with God, for those that have accepted Him, can help you not be scared to die.

  14. Evan Paluch says:

    To me I am afraid of the way I will go out more than death itself. Will it be tragic, accidental or natural? Will I live a productive life or a depressing life? Will I die before my time? Will it be painful? I am currently a father to a 9 month year old child and I couldn’t be more down in the dumps about life. Dying before my time and leaving my daughter susceptible to the harsh realities of the world is something I fear tremendously and it makes me sad. Lastly I suffer from depression and I have for a very long time. Will I waste my only gift of life being depressed and will I ever find true happiness. Along with depression I have came in and out of addiction as well as social anxiety which helps prevent me from keeping part time/full time employment. I just don’t want to die in a broken and defeated place however if I do I just hope it brings me peace because my soul has never truly known it in this life…

  15. nelson says:

    I was going to say something like – it seems so trivial and insensitive to be equating accepting death with not having to buy shoes but I was just angrily reacting to my own problems in trying to accept my wife’s current battle with leukemia. So I just want to conclude by saying – I think you’re a very good writer.

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