A lot of us have a natural fear of dying, after all there’s a sense of fearing the unknown, worrying for what comes next and worrying about what and who we leave behind. Many people who suffer with anxiety have reported having an increased fear of death.
This is not surprising when you consider that a lot of anxiety revolves around hypothesizing about the future or over analysing past interactions. The uncertainty that comes with not knowing what’s going to happen, and not being able to control it can cause a lot of anxious feelings.
Hypotheticals make up a lot of our anxious thoughts. We see it as planning for the worst so if it happens we’re prepared, but a lot of the time they don’t come to pass, or, like life and death, you cannot control when it happens, so it simply makes you feel negative and sad and worried for no reason. The facts are these: we’re all going to die one day. We need to accept it rather than worrying about the when or where.
Although having a fear of dying or of death is fairly common, if it’s something that is coming up quite often, seemingly without a clear trigger, such as loss of a loved one or near death experience, it might be worth speaking to a doctor or considering creating coping strategies before it becomes a full phobia or obsession.
In the short term, when these thoughts or feelings occur, you can try focusing on your breathing or listing 5 things you can see around you, to anchor yourself to the present and distract your mind from the distressing thoughts.
However, this only helps with the symptoms, not the cause of your anxiety. There are several options available including CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), mindfulness, medication and group therapy. If you’re unsure, please contact your GP for more information.