How to Be Positive About Death
by Kristal Borjas August 27, 2021 4 min read
Death is something everyone can be certain of in life. While people often look at death in a doom or gloom manner, it doesn’t need to be this way. A lot of people are following the death positivity movement.
What is Death Positive Anyway?
Caitlin Doughty is often credited with the death positivity movement dating back to a tweet in 2013. Over 56 percent of people are afraid of dying, and it is because people have the mindset that they can do something to avoid it.
While current medicine can help prolong life, everyone has an expiration date.
The death positive movement encourages people to speak out about death and eliminates the silence that surrounds death.
If you want to become death positive and break away from your end-of-life planning for a minute, you can do so by following these tips:
Talk About the Dead
When a person dies, people gather around during the funeral and seem to put a final end to their life in their mind. Loved ones bottle up their emotions, and some people won’t even bring up the person’s name again.
If you’re one of these people who don’t want to talk about the dead because it’s somehow taboo, it’s time to change this mindset.
Your loved ones want you to remember them. Remember the good times, laughs and lessons that the deceased taught you. Remembrance doesn’t mean that you have to be sad or depressed.
Be happy for the life that the person lived and what they taught you along the way.
No one wants to be forgotten. When you talk about your loved ones that have died, it keeps their name and memory alive. A few ways that you can talk about the dead are:
- Tell stories about them to others
- Mention them when you think of them
- Speak of them during holidays
Once you switch your mindset, you’ll find that there are more than enough opportunities to speak of the deceased.
Stop Ignoring Those Funerals
Funerals are often avoided because people are sad and don’t want to dredge up all of the emotions that they have when they walk into the funeral home. Saying “goodbye” surrounded by friends and loved ones that are all experiencing the same emotions shouldn’t be avoided.
The funeral is the time to come together in a space that is neutral.
Yes, funerals can be awkward and depressing, but they’re also a way to finally embrace death.
Work on Accepting Your Own Mortality
Humans are vulnerable, limited and hungry. As a whole, it’s important to take the time to embrace your own mortality and realize one day, you’re no longer going to be able to sit at home and read articles on death positivity.
Your existence will come to an abrupt end.
When you’re finally able to accept your mortality and understand that there will be a day when you wake up one last time and go to bed one last time, it makes it easier to be positive about death.
Live your life to its fullest, but also embrace that there is a time when you will be gone.
Break the Taboo and Speak About Your Death
It’s okayto talk about your own death. Far too often, people are afraid to talk about death with their friends or loved ones. You don’t want to upset anyone or make them feel uncomfortable – it's normal.
But death is also normal and there will be a day when you can no longer speak about it.
- Talk about your death with loved ones
- Talk to your parents about death
You'll want to go a step further and discuss your final wishes with your loved ones. Discuss your final arrangements, and don’t forget to have a will. The talk may seem like a difficult one, but it’s one that everyone needs to have with their loved ones.
Sometimes, talking about what scares us the most is one of the best therapies that we can ever engage in.
Coping with mortality is less difficult once you realize that it’s okay and normal to speak about your death no matter what society has tried to program you to believe.
Take It to the Next Level with Coffin Therapy
Want to be positive about death? If you’re brave, there’s a trend that is picking up steam in Asia. People are engaging in what’s known as “coffin therapy.” The therapy involves actually laying in a coffin and contemplating what it really means when you’re dead.
For some people, they’ll spend more than two hours in the casket while trying to think back on their lives.
From what others have said, the experience can really make you feel alive and realize that there will be a time when you’re no longer here. While this may be an extreme form of death positivity, it is also a great way to realize what it means to be alive.
Stop Trying to Hide Death
It’s not uncommon for people to want to hide their illness with their loved ones. You don’t want people to worry about you – it's normal. But hiding a terminal illness never allows you to say your parting words to someone.
People are also robbed of the opportunity to say goodbye to you in the way that they wanted to.
Hiding death behind closed doors is not healthy. When you don’t hide your death, you’re able to fully embrace it and all of the ups and downs that are sure to follow.
A few additional ways that you can learn to be positive about death are:
- Fight back against the culture of silence surrounding death
- Realize that curiosity about death isn’t morbid
- Know that death shouldn’t do harm to the environment (there are alternatives)
Whether your end of life is imminent or decades away, there’s no harm in thinking about your demise and talking about it. Being positive about death can help you avoid the stress and worry about death while making talking about death more natural.
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