The fear of death is clinically described as Thantophobia. This fear is perhaps a primary foundation for a majority of other fears. Let’s consider the following list and see what common thread can be found.
- Fear of Sharks
- Fear of Speed
- Fear of Germs
- Fear of Going to Sleep
- Fear of Hell
- Fear of Being Chocked
- Fear of Lightening
- Fear of Getting Old
- Fear of Snakes
While there are plenty of others we could add to this list it is interesting to see that in each case the common denominator is an underlying belief that if the individual who has these fears cannot protect themselves from what they fear most – death will be the likely outcome.
What Causes Thantophobia
One of the most prominent fears associated with death may be a sense not knowing what happens once death has taken place.
Various religions have differing views of the afterlife. Some believe you are reincarnated and return as someone else or even another creature altogether. Some believe you are held in a containment place (purgatory) until God decides what to do with you. There are those who believe that everyone goes to a place of heavenly bliss while others believe some can and will be sentenced to an eternity in hell.
Those who do not have a religious conviction on the subject may also experience fear caused by violent images of death observed in movies and in the news. These images can serve to convince those who fear death that their own death will likely be violent.
When an individual fears death they attach a fear perspective on virtually everything they encounter. Much of the time the things they fear are tied to their desire to live, but their anxiety over the issue tends to drain much of the life out of living.
Signs of Thantophobia
It may be interesting to note that some who fear death either refrain from observing morbid images on television or in the movies or they may be unnaturally attracted to such images. In both cases the motivation is to strengthen their resolve to protect themselves against death.
Additional symptoms include…
- Rapid heart beat
- Profound sense of dread
- The feeling you cannot escape
- The belief no one could possible understand
- Total avoidance of anything viewed remotely dangerous
- Air hunger
- Elevated heart rate
This level of fear is dangerous to your emotional and psychological well being because it denies the ability to meaningfully engage in the life you desperately want to live.
Overcoming Your Fear of Death
Some of the fear associated with death is simply in not knowing how you will die. One of the ways to overcome this fear is learning the answers to how you want to live. If you exist in a state of perpetual anxiety your ability to live is diminished.
Talking to a therapist, spiritual advisor, family or friends can provide some meaningful interaction that can help calm your fears.
Death is the natural end of life and in most cases it is not violent and any pain is well managed.
One of the worst things you can do with your fear is keep it to yourself. Find someone to talk with about your fear. In doing so you will likely find a renewed passion for enjoying the life you already have.