How to come to grips with the fear of death and dying

Many people find it difficult to brace themselves for death or accept their own mortality.

Behavioural psychologist Dr Helgo Schomer says a great deal of individuals fear the thought of death, despite it being an eventuality for us all.

Many, many people don't even want to think about death, but it's going to come to every one of us.

Dr Helgo Schomer, behavioural psychologist

Dr Schomer makes the distinction between thanatophobia (a severe phobia of your own death) and necrophobia (the fear of the dead and dying of others).

He explains that the fear of death is often fueled by a traumatic experience from the past.

Dr Schomer offers the following advice on how to overcome death anxiety:

  • stay active and spend time seeking new challenges for yourself
  • settle your 'unfinished business'
  • spend as much time with your loved one's as possible
  • continue to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on and carry them in your memory
  • make provisions so that your family is prepared should something happen to you
  • record or document last wishes and will

The more time you spend on living (and living well), the less time you have to worry.

Dr Helgo Schomer, behavioural psychologist

Several listeners also called in to share their experiences, fears and guidance.

Take a listen to his expert advice:

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