Tag: dying

Overcoming the fear of aging

Overcoming the fear of aging

Aging, like sickness and death, is part and parcel of life. Everyone who is born must eventually age and die. This is the natural cycle of life. However, not everyone ages in the same way. Some age gracefully. Others age with fear.

Fear is Optional

If you are fearful of aging, you should know that this fear is not inevitable. It is there only because of your own past experiences, your own beliefs and your own attitude towards it. In the end, it is a matter of choice. Aging is inevitable but fear of aging is not. Aging of this body is a physical phenomenon. That is why it is inevitable. Fear, on the other hand, is a mental phenomenon. It is optional.

Identify Your Fears

If you are fearful of aging, you should try to be more specific and identify what it is that you are really fearful of. Generally, those who fear aging are actually fearful of sickness and death. Those who believe that they can age with a healthy and functioning body have little fear of aging. Those who think of the possibility of sickness and death as they age become fearful.

Having identify our specific fears, it then becomes possible to do something about it.

Fear of Sickness

If it is sickness, then we can start to live a healthy lifestyle. It is never too late to start a habit of living healthily. If you smoke, stop smoking. If you drink alcohol, and especially if you drink heavily, then tone it down. Drink less. Scientific studies have actually shown that a small amount of alcohol is good for your physical health but too much is harmful. Sleep early and wake up early. Sleep well. Exercise regularly. Eat healthily. Drink lots of water. Practice yoga or tai chi. Learn to meditate. All these improve the quality of your life, making you healthier mentally, emotionally and physically.

Fear of Death

If your fear is death, then once again you have to be specific. Is it the process of dying that you are afraid of, or is it death itself? If it is the process of dying, then the real fear for most people is actually the fear of a painful dying process. If that is the case, we have good news for you. Science and medicine today have reached a point where we can almost always minimise pain in the dying process. In most cases, we can even totally eradicate pain. However, even without medicine, pain can still be managed well. Physical pain may be inevitable but mental suffering is optional.

The question then is how do we free ourselves from mental suffering in the presence of physical pain? The answer to that is a strong mind. We can train our mind to be strong and resilient. It is a skill, and like all skills, it takes practice. The most common and popular mind training is meditation. So, learn to meditate, and learn it well. Gain mastery over your own mind. Then you will have little to be fearful of.

Fear of the Unknown

Lastly, if it is death itself that you are afraid of, then it is most likely because death is a big unknown. What happens to us after death? This is a spiritual question, and you will need a spiritual answer. It all comes down to your belief system. So, when you talk about death, and especially when you want a solution to this type of fear about death, then you must re-visit your spirituality, and the very nature of who you are.

Are you simply this body or are you more than just this physical body? When you die, is there a part of you that continues on? This is your quest. It is a journey that none can take for you. Only you can do this for yourself.

Cultivate a Friendship with Death

Cultivate a Friendship with Death

Why We Fear Death

“Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark.” – Bacon

There may be a thousand reasons why we fear death, but most of all we fear death because we fear the unknown, and death is an unknown entity to most people. We fear that dying may be painful and we do not know what will happen to us at the point of death.

Some people fear death because they imagine the dying process to be very painful. Death is not painful. In fact, death is often very peaceful and silent even for those suffering from cancers or other terminal illness.

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A Memorable Death

A Memorable Death

Marvin is 55 years old and he has a brain tumour. He is getting physically weaker by the day and is now having difficulty in breathing. However, he is still mentally very alert.

Although Marvin knows that death is imminent, he does not seem to fear death, at least not outwardly. As he is not talking very much about his impending death, I take it as a sign that he or those around him have not fully accepted the reality of his situation. I personally feel if this hurdle is overcome, it would make a tremendous change for all.

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On Death and Dying

On Death and Dying

While I was having my lunch two days ago, a patient of mine approached me and made a request that I go to her house to see her husband who is dying of cancer.

Her husband has been suffering of a cancer of the neck which has spread to the liver and other parts of his body for many months. He was growing weaker by the day and his body was getting thinner and more cachexic each time I saw him. I have been visiting him at his home once in a while to help change his urinary cathether.

When we reached her house, I went in and upon looking at her husband, I realised that he had died. To make sure, I checked his carotid pulse, a major pulse at the neck, and found that it was absent. There was no more spontaneous breathing and his pupils were fully dilated and not reactive to lights. I therefore pronounced him dead.

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How to Overcome the Fear of Dying

How to Overcome the Fear of Dying

As a doctor and a hospice volunteer, one of the most common fears that I encounter in my job is the fear of dying. In fact, this fear is so common that we have come to accept it as part and parcel of our life. In our fear-driven world where a lot of our actions are motivated by fear, the fear of dying seems like just another fear we need to live with.

However, I have had the good fortune to come across people who are able to die with courage, dignity and peace. During their final days and even up to the moment of death, they remained in peace and without a trace of fear. It almost looked as if they welcome death.

Regardless of the kind of illnesses they may be suffering from, each of these people have some common traits.

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