We love to talk to people from all walks of life. So our #AmWriting guest blogger today is Sara Stevens, a hypnotherapist from Leicestershire. Sara writes about why we are so scared of death, how it limits us and, most importantly, how to live your life to the fullest!
I don’t suppose many of us would choose death over life! There is, of course, a small percentage of times this doesn’t apply, but that’s life, nothing is ever 100%.
The fear of death and dying is a natural fear, but something you shouldn’t let run riot in your mind as it can stop you from living and enjoying the now. Our mind is very primitive on certain levels, you may have heard of the term primeval mind or ‘caveman mind.’ Both mean the same and it’s all connected with our fight or flight response system.
Fight or flight goes back to caveman times. In very simple terms, if a situation felt different, it meant that something had been changed. If you hadn’t changed it, it meant someone or something else was there. This of course meant danger.
So as you can see, making changes for ourselves or anything that is either new or unknown has the potential to hold fears on a primitive level. I know we have come a long way from caveman times, but our minds can still view things this way.
Now you know it’s not just you with this feeling of anxiety or a fear, but a very natural and ancient pattern of thinking in your mind! This is the first step to change. Your mind is sending these signals, but you don’t have to keep feeding them by continuing to focus on them as this will only make it worse. The more we worry, the bigger the worries get...so it’s time to practice distracting yourself from these worries and get back to living in the moment.
A lot of us have lived with a repressed style of thinking for a long time. If you think back only 70 years ago we wouldn’t have even considered talking about many subjects we are starting to embrace now. No one spoke about mental health issues, sexuality or fears to mentions a few. Lots of things were taboo.
Most people didn’t even express how they were truly feeling either, as they didn’t want to expose themselves or standout from the crowd. Again, this leads back to the primeval parts of our mind which is struggling to evolve quickly enough to keep up with this massively changing society we live in.
Darwin was very true in his overview of evolution: that it takes thousands of years to change. That being said, all these things that we don’t talk about, or even avoid thinking about, will have a negative impact on our anxiety levels and how we feel inside.
I feel that we’ve also put death in this same strange place. This means that some people still might find it hard to even acknowledge these issues let alone talk about and express them. Some people in society may feel uncomfortable talking about death and dying and have learnt to avoid these subjects. Essentially, they just pretend it’s not going on.
This can make it harder for us when we are having to deal with our own issues of dying. We already feel uncomfortable with our own feelings and fears. We’re often confused by how to deal with these emotions.
Adding to this, we aren’t sure who we can openly express ourselves to and at times we can feel unacknowledged by those people who are too afraid of their own feelings towards the inevitability of death to fully support us. These issues can all impact our own fears of dying and make it harder to come to terms with what is happening within us more.
I know it can be hard, but it’s time to not let other people’s fears and insecurities affect how you feel. It’s time to focus on the people you can express yourself with. If you can’t find people to truly listen or if you would prefer someone more neutral then there are lots of professionals or organisations who could offer you the support you need.
The next step after understanding why we might be feeling this fear of death, is to start breaking the negative cycle of feeding the habit.
If you haven’t read The Cat (my blog series), then please do as it could help give you a much better understanding of how we are feeding our worry habits.
If we can start to understand our own feelings with regards to our death and start putting them into perspective, then we can learn to accept death as a natural thing that happens to all of us. None of us know how many moments we have left in our lives or what will happen in the next second and I feel it’s important to start living in the moment. The fear of death is often the fear of not living life on your own terms, the more you embrace life, the less frightened you will feel about death when the time comes.
To do this, we need to embrace the fact that death is natural and also to recognise ourselves as part of a greater cycle of life. It’s also important to find comfort in the fact that everyone else must go through the same cycles: conception, birth and death.
If all we do is worry, we limit our joy and happiness, so we never truly live in the moment. Focus on living to the best of your ability in the now. There are so many simple things that promote a healthier and more positive life.
Don’t overwhelm yourself, choose to take one step at a time. The small steps, when applied regularly, lead to the biggest changes. Make a commitment to laughing every day and find the joy in just a simple walk rain or shine. Explore your passions by writing a “bucket list” with all of the amazing things that you’re going to do, with this new found busy life, you won’t have time to worry about dying. While we can’t control when or how we leave this world, but we can control how we live.
A fear of death struggles to take root in the heart of a person who is truly satisfied with their life, so live for today and enjoy the moment. If those pesky worries come to mind just push them away and get back to the moment.