Common Fears


About us | Home | Mortality links | News & articles | Common fears
| FAQ | Contact | Meditations | Quote database
Suggested reading | Our book | Research | Lighter side | Events

The 10 most common fears people cite about dying.

The meditations and other materials at this site can help you diminish these fears.

1.  The fear of permanent loss of identity. It is natural to want to sustain our unique character, our private consciousness, and we fear any threat that might dissolve it and leave a void in its place. 

2. The fear of loss of control. We get strength from our ability to make choices and direct our actions. But death revokes our control. Ultimately, we fall to a powerful force whose nature and temperament are unknown and we are afraid to trust it.

3. The fear that there is nothing after death. We feel teased by life. It is given to us, then taken back. We want to hold on to what we have and we fear that if it ends, there will be only void and nothingness. We know what living feels like, but we have difficulty conceiving of nothingness and it frightens us.

4.  The fear of physical pain at our time of death. Despite the availability of prescription pain killers, we fear a long, lingering illness and we do not want to die in pain. You’ve heard people say, “When my time comes I want to go quickly and painlessly.” 

5. The fear of loss of youth. We may be obsessed about aging and want to look younger than our actual years. There is also the related fear that we will lose our youthful frame of mind. Some deal with this fear by insisting they will never grow up. They elevate their denial of aging to a Peter-Pan-like idealization of youth and innocence. It is one thing to retain a youthful outlook but quite another to deny our aging because we are afraid to face it.
6.  The fear of an unfulfilled life. We all want our life to have purpose and meaning. Some feel more urgency than others to find a life mission. Those who do may fear they will die before they identify their life purpose and finish their work.

7. The fear of not being there for those we love. Mates, partners and parents may fear that they won’t be able to care for loved ones. Parents fear their inability to look after and guide their children. A mate may worry about his or her partner’s ability to survive the loss of the resources they provide. 

8. The Fear of a Heaven or Hell. Some believe in an anthropomorphic God and anticipate a literal Judgment Day with punishment or reward. They fear Judgment Day because there are no yardsticks or standards of measurements to tell us when we have done enough good work to earn salvation. How much good is required? How many sins are one too many? Some fear the consequence of falling short.

9.The fear of eternal punishment. Many who fear a Judgment Day, fear damnation especially since it is portrayed as never ending.

10. The Fear of the unknown and of unknown entities. Those who anticipate an afterlife may fear encounters after death. Will we meet entities who have a malicious intent? The sheer quantity of Hollywood horror movies reflects this fear and our worry that we could encounter malicious forces bent on hurting us.

See more research.