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I've tried to resolve my fear of death intellectually and come to the conclusion that it can't be done, at least not by me. Some kind of practice that actually has the power to awaken me to a truth that frees my from my fear seems to be required. I wonder why we are a fearful of a future existence that doesn't contain us, but b have no regrets about a past existence that didn't include us.

From a purely phenomological point of view, the two states should feel the same. But they don't. Our fear isn't of 'a future that doesn't contain us'. It is of being dead and not participating. Do I really need to point out that the future and the past are different? The future is possibility and promise. The past is unchangeable. I found this article interesting, as I have had a similar experience,.. I wonder why I never thought of dying so much in the past.. But before any of use worry about dying.. You would feel different, but you would be alive and you would be 'you', this is theoretically possible.

Now, imagine, if I was to wait until you were asleep once more, but this time I make an 'exact' replica of your brain as it is at one moment. This is also theoretically possible. I then put the brain in another body, and you wake up. Surely you would feel like 'you' also However you are now in two places at once. The new body, and the original one. Before I can solve your problem with fear of death, I really need to know who you are, or more precisely; where you are. If you can sleep and re-awake. Then surely you can sleep, be frozen, dissected, recorded, replicated and then re-awoken.

Should we fear complete memory loss, as much as death.. Therefore, are we the sum total of our memory?. Surely memory can be preserved. Note I mentioned sleep But I notice all sentient beings do it. Perhaps this is a key component of self-awareness also. I look forward to your replies, I'm sure your mortality isn't such a difficult problem to solve..

This week in the Coping newsletter: Meditating on your death can make you happier.

We will all be subject to judgement. Repent and believe in Jesus Christ the only son of God. He wants you in his kingdom; do not be a wicked servant. Jesus Christ Is the truth the way and the life and no one will see the father except thru him. I wish everyone realised this and it breaks my heart to know many chose to spend forever away from the Lord.

As a Christian My heart so desires everyone to go to heaven and the Lord wants the same for all of us. Its a free gift and precious sacrifice that my savior made for me when I am so unworthy of it. All I have to do is follow him and love him with faith and all my heart! If any one reading this hasn't accept Jesus Christ as your Savior please do so today so you can see paradise. Love you all. Millions of people have accepted Jesus as their savior and still feel no comfort about death. It's not just Godless heathens who are terrified of death.

A lot of Christians are too because no matter how much we pray, read, and beg for peace and comfort, it simply never comes for some of us. It came for you and I'm happy for you but it doesn't for everyone. You're not correct. What you claim is theoretically possible is actually absolutely impossible due to some mathematically proven no-go theorems in quantum physics. Not only that, observation without alteration of state is also impossible.

I currently have had a similar experience where not only have I been confronted with fear of death through medical episodes but I have even had my imagination run amok. I have been in and out of the hospital for 2 years now and been in pain for about 5 years. Recently the doctor trying to help my pain gave me a medicine to help with nerve pain that used to be used for people with mental issues.

Given in smaller doses it has been proven to help with nerve pain. However it was upon taking this medication that I started to visualize my own death and sinking into nothingness while everything around me faded and I was left alone in the dark and even my thoughts were eroding away. It kept going until I was nothing and had no thoughts and yet somehow I was aware of it and yet not.

It was more feeling at that point than visual as there was nothing to see. I stopped taking it and never got a call back from my doctor and ended up in the ER because I was also on pain medication at the time and forgot that I already took it. I barely managed to drive myself to the ER as I was losing consciousness at every red light and mustered my mind power to keep me awake. Ever since then, I occasionally still get the idea and visual image of my death but not as bad.

I have been able to push it aside and live life but it also has made me fearful as I now know that I can die at any moment. I am christian and yet I still fear death, most likely because my faith most likely isn't strong. The reason I am replying to your message is that I have regrets of a past that doesn't include me.

Part of me has always felt as though I was born after my time and part of me has always felt as though I was born before my time. Life was simple and people had more knowledge on how to survive whereas today people lack that skill at least in the wild. I have also thought about how it would be cool to live forever, not because of the future or past not containing me but because I would like to see man from the beginning to the end. I am not sure if my thinking is similar or common.

But I have been trying to come to terms with my life and eventual death. There is nothing I can do about it now, we all die and it is a process, regardless of religious beliefs. I can only try to enjoy life, good, bad and all and I hope this way of thinking helps me as well as my new found concern about eating healthy and while I have never been fat or chubby, I am going to exercise despite still having knee pain.

Just hoping I can make it work and won't know until I keep moving forward. My belief in the matter is that it revolves around consciousness. As Dr Lickerman similarly shares, I enjoy being here, I enjoy being alive, and I do not want it to end.

Conclusion

I do not want to imagine losing consciousness permanently. So I don't believe it's so much a fear of an existence that doesn't contain us, but more of our internal existence ceasing. I think that if we were afraid of existence without us, we would not have to look far in our current world to see it.

For example, there are billions of lives living around the world blissfully unaware of my very existence and not affected by it in any way. For the world to continue in the way that it does after my death is very little different from the way that some random death half way across the world doesn't personally affect me. And I can accept that. And that scares the ever-loving! As uneventful and as unimportant as my life may be in the world, nothing is as important to me as my consciousness.

When I die, the world will cease to exist from my perspective.

And what could be more terrifying than the end of the universe? Arachnophobia, although legitimately terrorizing many people, pales in comparison. There are 2 books that I have read that go a long way in making a case for the existance of life after death, both by Robert Grant. There is also the work of David Hawkins M. Then there is the work of Ian Stevenson who spent over 20 yrs researching children all over the world who met very strict criteria for having lived before. And of course there is Dr. Brian Weiss who, formerly a Harvard psychiatrist, has written several books on his experiences with hypnotized clients who, after recalling a particular past life experience, recoverred completely from whatever they had sought help for.

A transpersonal psychologist myself for the past 13 years and a self-psychologist for 12 years before that as well as a nurse clinician, I have been convinced in the reality of reincarnation by the many patients I have regressed who have gone on to experience similar healing, their disabling problems ranging from chronic pain of some type to life long anxiety or relationship problems.

And I don't think it is possible to believe in reincarnation and not believe that we are all souls, in fact, we are primarily spirit, who take on bodies for specific reasons in order to grow and become worthy of the creator who gave us the gift of life. We in the west are in the minority. Reincarnation was alluded to by Christ, and had been in the New Testament until the early Church decided to make it heresy so the flock would not have the luxury of believing in "another chance" to get it right.

Fear of death comes from being too attached to this world and to the material. We all experience loss of consciousness during deep sleep, and for many of us, anesthesia is an even better example. Very few of us remember much about infancy, but during it we were alive and conscious. In death we close one door so another can be opened. There is more evidence FOR life after death than the contrary, and my suggestion to anyone who wastes one moment of THIS precious but not ONE life, fearing its end, is to start reading.

Do You Have Death Anxiety? (Thanatophobia)

Thanks for your comment. I'm familiar with much of the work done on reincarnation, especially the books by Brian Weiss. It does give me hope—and yet I find for me to believe at the level that will banish my fear of death I'm afraid I need my own subjective awakening to the eternity of life—or incontrovertible scientific evidence that life does continue. But then of course if we continue, the real question is what part of us continues?

What, in essence, is our essence? It's not our memories.

Thanatophobia Diagnosis and Treatment

As pascal said we each have a "God-shaped hole" that we spend our lives trying to fill. Many people try "feel good" superficial "plugs" to fill up that hole using sex, drugs, money, food, sports as their God substitute. This never works, however. The only thing that fill that cavity is the one and only true God. Getting to know Him through His written word in the Bible and through his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, are the only ways to relieve your anxiety.

Start by reading the books of intellectuals who were once non-believers, C. Sproul and Josh McDowell, for example. There's no need to leave your brain at the door as you read their books or watch their videos. You can be discerning and critical and see for yourself if their arguments hold water or not. Read the Bible also so you will be aware of what Christ actually did and said. Use His Word as a litmus test for all you hear about Christians and Christianity.

Do not judge Christianity by its followers but by the life and words of Christ alone. You are an intelligent man. Use your intelligence to root out the marrow. Keep an open mind and go where the evidence takes you. I am nineteen years old and just recently came to the point that I realize that I will not exist consiously forever. Like Dr. Lickerman said, entertaining the thought and coming to grips with it are two entirely different things, and once you come to grips with this reality, you can't go back from it, it's impossible. I've noticed that many people who have the fear mention sleep as a way to imagine death, but unfortunately, it is not a way to cope, because everyone expects to wake up from sleep.

I honestly feel bad for anyone who has had to rid themselves of their delusions, because life after that is never the same. It is not possible, either, to simply accept someone elses belief, although I wish it were that simple. Honestly, being able to live without this torment would be a blessing. I believe that the hardest thing about death to deal with is the fact that you can't live with the fear, but you can't accept dying.

And that tends to create suicidal tendencies in some people. I haven't found a way to cope yet, and I sincerely hope one of you who has would share. Denial is so much more comforting in this instance. I could get on a religious aspect of it but you're right, you have to ignore the fear of death. Religion helps calm the fear of death by putting all your "faith" into an afterlife.


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My suggestion put it aside and remember that you're alive right now. You may not be tomorrow but you are today alive. I personally get an overwhelming anxiety when I think of the cold hard fact that I one day will never exist again. It is best not to think about it, otherwise your life seems so insignificant.

Just like everyone elses Thank you. Your response was very helpful and hopefully it will help me progress in overcoming my fear. I found this a very interesting read and share the feelings the overwhelming fear. It's a horrible thing once you realize what has happened, and it has been consuming me for the past year or so. I did not have a near death experience or anything - I just woke up into what has been a nightmare of self torment and anguish.

It's like being on a rollercoaster and going up the first hill. You know it's going to happen, you can't do anything about it, but your stomach still turns and there's nothing you want more than to turn around and get off the ride. Ever since I realized this I have been obsessing over it while at the same time trying to ignore it.

Most people I have spoken to religious and non religious say that death is inevitable, so there's no point in wasting your life worrying about it. However I too share the sentiment that it should be the most important thing to every individual. I don't particularly enjoy my life completely, but I do not want it to end. Not when I'm not ready for it to end. I wonder what percentage of the population is actually ok with their mortality, and what percentage is still deluded. I have a feeling that most are deluded and if I had one wish it would be to revert to that state.

At this point, I'm not sure I could have the same aspirations and happiness I could have had I remained ignorant. Perhaps it's best for everyone if the secrets of our existence remain ambiguous. I generally hate the attitude that "some things are best kept secret," but I see an advantage to that saying. I do find it interesting that people can be more afraid of "" than their own inevitable death. From this point on it is difficult to accept any form of religion or explanation that involves my existence not ending, because it would simply be too good to be true.

Yet the 1 fear is public speaking. I wish I had that fear instead. I feel pretty much the same way you do. I'm 18, turning 19, and I have a crippling fear of death. I can get myself so thought up in it, I will burst in tears just by not knowing what will happen. The thought of death: not breathing, seeing, communicating, and just not being alive in general I'll get this weird pit feeling in my heart and stomach and literally wont be able to move.

I've tried to talk to my boyfriend about this and all he's said, is there's no point worrying about it since it's inevitable. Yes, I understand it's coming eventually but I don't want to grasp the concept that it is. All I try to do is ignore it. But obviously that doesn't help when all your boyfriend wants to watch is scary movies where people die all the time. I honestly don't know what to do anymore. Any insight anyone, please? This fear of death is not new. There was a conversation happened years ago and it is recorded in literature form 'Srimad Bhagavatam'. He got a curse to be bitten by a snake by a sage.

How he handled is entirely narrated superbly. Read it, you will understand and you will become happy at the end of verses. Lickerman, I don't know if you've read any Irvin Yalom, but his newest book, Staring at the Sun, looks at this issue. The idea from the book that sticks with me the most is that the physicality of death may destroy us, but the idea of death may save us.

Mike, I know Yalom's work well and have been a fan for many years. He first wrote about the idea you mention in "Love's Executioner. Certainly, psychologically knowing an end is in sight can and does imbue our life's activities with significance and value at least to ourselves , but I haven't found that it protects me or comforts me against fear of non-existence.

I found your work very interesting. I believe life and death to be perceptions of truly important pieces of reality for a creature, so it seems sensible to think that the best investment for our time is to learn new ways to aprehend the phenomenom of life and death. That said, I should also notice that the background for the above statement is that I feel confortable with the epistemological concept of reality and its existance, and that human beings are only able to see it in only one way of the many possible; as many as different creatures may exist in reality itself.

What remains unclear to me is: are we truly able to learn other non human ways of knowledge? It also seems doubtfull that we will ever know if anyone succeeds or not; or if we will ever gain any additional knowledge at all. All these may seem a little bit theorical, but I found myself asking all these questions while watching a documentary about how chimpanzees reacts to death, which shows that these animals appear to perceive the reality of death in a similar way to that of humans, and behave with anxiety and pain -surprisingly including behaviours that could possibly be traslated as "denials".

I am fascinated with the discussion of life after death and baffled that very little is written about Jesus. We fear death because we were created to live forever. Eternity is placed on our souls from birth. Sin in the world separates us from God who created us to live forever and places in us a knowledge of death. Therefore we need a savior. Forget religion and all other theories for a moment.

This is the internal fight worth a few minutes of everyone's time. If no to either of those questions then go on your way seeking. If your answer is possibly Jesus was and did then continue with this thought. Jesus came to earth said he was God, proclaimed a virgin birth, healed people, forgave sins and identified himself as the only way to eternal life. You have to say that is crazy and I would agree.

Anyone who says those types of this is crazy, but the kicker is he rose from the dead. It makes his statements come alive with authority. The argument of whether Jesus rose from the dead. Chuck Colson personal story about hiding a secret in regards to Watergate is an amazing insight into conspiracy theories and myths vs.

He talks of the necessity of a handful of people to keep a secret for a few weeks and they would cover up Watergate. As this was impossible for a few people to keep this secret Chuck Colson starts to recognize that the story of Jesus raising from the dead and being seen by people would have been destroyed by one person letting the secret out about some alternative scheme to dispose of the body of Jesus. This was Chuck Colson's path to eternal life and discovering that it is found in Jesus. Yes there is life after death.

A man came and talked about it, proclaimed to be God, and said he was the only way to eternal life. Again the authority to his statements are found in the fact that he rose from the dead. Prayer to have sins forgiven and be saved: Lord Jesus please forgive me of my sins Thank you for dying for me on the cross Please take over my life and live in me. Thanks for loving me so much. Amen sister! Hebrews Now, if I truly know this with every fiber of my being, and I honestly talk to God every day in prayer, how much would I have to hate a person NOT to tell them about Jesus Christ?

God rewards those who seek Him, Hebrews and when a person does turn to Christ they will see the love of God that has been pursuing us all along as it says in the Bible! John , But it says in the Scriptures that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing 1 Corinthians Oh, how He loves us!!! Now what was truly intriguing was the last two sentences where he said, "I've tried to resolve my fear of death intellectually and come to the conclusion that it can't be done, at least not by me. Some kind of practice that actually has the power to awaken me to the truth is required assuming, of course, the truth ends up being what I hope it to be.

So, going off of that last sentence, is he saying he will only accept truth if the truth is what he wants to hear? Then, whether I'm right or wrong no matter WHAT the truth is, he won't accept it if it isn't what he hopes it will be? Why do you assume that all people terrified of death don't know of Jesus and haven't tried desperately to "know with every fiber of their being" that they were saved? Some of us have prayed and prayed and prayed for wisdom, comfort, and peace for decades and still feel terrified. Maybe it's my mental illnesses playing tricks with my mind, that's certainly possible but no matter how much I beg for guidance and confidence in my faith and salvation, it never comes.

I've accepted Jesus's sacrifice as my savior but I don't ever feel saved or peaceful. I wish I did. Hi Lori, I hear your heart in your comment. You want peace and confidence that you are saved. Knowing that you are saved is not a feeling. It's a belief. What do you believe?

The Bible is the word of truth! It is alive and the more you read it and seek God through it the more confidence you will have that you are saved. Ask God to speak to you and give you the assurance you need. Sometimes we work so hard to 'feel' we are saved but Jesus is just saying to you "Rest in me, trust me, I've got you! Satan fills your mind with doubts, but God speaks truth. Fill yourself with the truth of the Bible and seek out Christian music try the KLove app so that the lies are dispelled and the truth can set you free! I pray you will experience God's presence right now and be filled with the Spirit who gives life and makes you into a new person!

Hey, just wanted to say thanks for sharing this! If your down today, pray. Don't give up hope and remember that you have Christian brothers in this world gifted to you. My name is John Edwards. I am 22, and terrified of the thought that one day The People won't be here anymore. Not just me, all of us.

It's a sad thought and I used to get up in the middle of the night and just go to each of my family members' rooms and just watch them and just think like, "I just CAN'T believe we all have to die. I never was big on religion because I've dealt with the jehovah's witnesses, and regular black christian church. But I do like to use each book of wisdom bible Quran, Torah, Vedas as tools of knowledge to help us come to the truth.

Now, with my research of each religion I've come to the conclusion that there in fact is a way to live forever. I feel so strong about my views, but nobody has faith in anything these days so they're overlooked. I always find myself thinking about death, and it's taking away from my life. I need help of atleast others to talk to.

Please, wonderful authors, realize that your work is going to be searched via the Internet at some point. It's not fun to actually be looking for advice on "Overcoming the Fear of Death," read the whole article, and then realize, contrary to the suggestion in the title, no answer is forthcoming in the text. I have suffered many years with severe, chronic disability and illness and know I could die at any time. I have searched all over for a way to live on the edge with no fear.

I've come to the conclusion that I just must get comfortable with living with this aspect of my being and it is the price I pay for being human and being able to see my future. I can not be deluded by any belief or idea anymore because I know that the loss of my conciousness can not be healed by faith or intellectual rationalization - something deep inside just knows. I understand Dr. Lickerman's existential crisis and the reason he did not give any real solutions because there is none.

The passage of time will reduce it if we face it often and that is all. Almost all the literature to date that deals with death either side steps the issue or tries to make us believe that we will not die. Most I suspect have not danced with their own mortality or have developed some denial skills I can't fathom. And, I must add that I find it rather unfortunate that the good doctor resorted to, "experience like mine could become yours at any moment.. Your article was a summary of my whole life. But rather than a brush with death, I've been raised with this fear since before I was born.

related stories

On a day over 30 years ago, my father was having a typical work day, selling his company's skateboard bearings to a company in Southern California. An angry husband came into the shop to argue with his wife who worked behind the counter, and my father was shot and killed, found dead in the doorway as he tried to get out. I was born 3 weeks later. So I've never lived with the illusion that nothing bad can happen. Instead I've lived with a fear of death since I was old enough to understand it.

Thanatophobia: Understanding Death Anxiety

In the course of my life I've been baptized into 3 different religions, reaching out for any way possible to let go of this fear. But now I sit here with a firm belief in the finality of death - so what do I do now? What you wrote in your article resonated deep inside my core. I couldn't have explained my own thoughts better - so thanks for writing it out for me! If you've had any luck with your grand experiment, I would love to hear about it. Suzanne, Yes, I'm still here, alive and kicking. I've not yet had the awakening experience I've been seeking but continue with an open mind to having it.

I'm so saddened by how early you had your belief in your own invincibility stripped from you by such an awful tragedy. Currently, I'm finding the best antidote to my fear of death is to fully immerse myself in life. It works to a certain degree, sometimes. If you have unfinished business -- take care of it! If you have someone you need to speak with -- make the call! Don't keep going to a job that is deeply dissatisfying, or stay in a relationship that makes you unhappy. You have many years to enjoy everything that life has to offer.

Who you spend your time with matters! The fear of death is often the fear of not living on your own terms. You deserve to see your dreams come true. The more you embrace life, the less frightened you will feel about giving it up when the time comes! It helps to recognize ourselves as part of a great cycle and find comfort in the fact that everyone else must go through the same thresholds: conception, birth and death.

Near-death researcher Norman Van Rooy once said, "Like the child being born, we have no choice but to yield ourselves to the unknown. We have had the privilege of living; so, let's be grateful and accept death when it eventually comes. Many writers have shared their own ruminations and musings on the subject of death. Also, religious leaders, philosophers and mystics have built a magnificent library on the subject of the afterlife. Their works may not tell you, with certainty, what happens after you die.

But, they may help you to tackle the equally important questions of why we are here and how we should prepare for the afterlife. Adopt Rituals and Explore Spirituality Whether you are religious or not, rituals are important for creating a sense of meaning in life. They also give continuity to our existence. A ritual can be as simple as taking a walk every afternoon or lighting a candle each morning.

You can recognize a seasonal change or something emotional or physical happening in your life. The choice is completely yours. If you are curious about your family's religious practices or want to explore new spiritual ideas, now is the time. Don't be afraid to ask the "tough" questions about the afterlife. These are the only questions with the potential to guide you to a deeper understanding of your faith - or any aspect of your life, for that matter. Focus on Living Well.

There are so many simple things that you can do to live a healthier and more positive life.

Everything You Should Know About Thanatophobia

In fact, sometimes the smallest steps, applied consistently, lead to the biggest changes. Make a commitment to walk every day, rain or shine. Explore your passions. Write a "bucket list" with all of the amazing things that you want to do before you die. If you are busy living, you won't have time to worry about dying. Many of the questions that we have about dying are religious or philosophical in nature.

But, what about the practical concerns? Many of us worry about dying because we wonder what will happen to our family after we are gone. Will our grandchildren be happy? Will our spouse be able to recover from our passing? If so, will they have enough money to continue to live the kind of life that they deserve?

These are all valid questions. The good news is that, while we can't control when or how we leave this world, we can control much of what we leave behind. Many people feel a sense of relief when they get their affairs in order - even if they have many decades of healthy life ahead of them. They know that, should the unexpected happen, their wishes will be clear and their legacy secure.

At the end of the day, the advice from other people over 50 who have conquered their fear of death is simple: focus on living authentically, passionately and well. A fear of death cannot take root in the heart of a person who is truly satisfied with their life. Are you afraid of death? Why or why not?