Talk Therapy and Support
If your inevitable death is a source of anxiety, talk to someone about it. A therapist or close friends and family are great resources when you’re having these feelings, and someone you trust can be a great person to air these thoughts to in a safe and healthy, supportive environment.
Change Your Habits
Exploring what triggers your thoughts about death and how you end up having those thoughts can be a great way to notice patterns and avoid future anxious thoughts. It may not make sense to avoid these triggers altogether, but knowing they exist will give you more agency when they occur in the future.
Learn to Spot When You’re Getting Anxious
Even if you can’t prevent triggers from sending you into an anxious spiral, being able to recognize the signs of anxiety in your own daily life can help you spot attacks earlier and learn to temper those feelings with coping strategies.
Take this for example: Spending time with spiders is a great way to address your fear of spiders. So when it comes to death, learning to be comfortable in the discomfort is the same thing.
Exposure to death doesn’t have to look like a near-death experience. Whether it’s conversations about death or the afterlife, visualizing the aftermath of a funeral, or just talking about a terminal diagnosis, exposure might be the solution to quell anxious thoughts.
Seek Professional Support
Getting help for anxiety may take one of many forms, but it all starts with a conversation with a healthcare professional about your symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider or ask them for a referral. You can also find help online through Hims’ mental health services.
Once you seek professional support, you may be directed to the path of psychotherapy. Therapy for anxiety is common these days, and one popular form is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT.
CBT is a system that teaches you how to identify and ultimately begin regulating anxious patterns of thought, and it can work for death anxiety just like with any other kind of anxiety
Generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and other forms of anxiety are effectively treated with the category of medications commonly referred to as antidepressants.
As with depressive disorders, these medications help your brain better regulate your mood by affecting certain neurotransmitters, and they’re really effective at it, to the point that they’ve become a go-to solution for anxiety.
You might be prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) as they’re considered the most safe and effective medications for anxiety on the market today, though other types of medications may be employed if those aren’t a fit for your needs.
Living with Death Anxiety
Attitudes toward death vary greatly from one person to another, and our own feelings about death may change from year to year. But when the relationship between death anxiety and the life you're living becomes toxic, it's time to do something about it.
Whether you're dealing with death anxiety or you just have a negative attitude toward death, speaking with a healthcare professional can help provide you with the tools to cope.
Acceptance of death is a worthwhile pursuit. The fact is: Life is short, and every day spent wasted worrying about what comes after is a day lost. Speaking with a healthcare professional about your anxiety can help you learn how to stop worry about death — and feel better for your days to come.
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