A recent YouGov study has found that since the pandemic, almost three quarters of Brits have experienced an increase in the fear of dying or losing someone close to them. 

Coping with death anxiety

Coping with death anxiety

More than two fifths of Brits are fearful of their own death, with 63% more scared of losing a loved one. Of those who said they suffered with this fear, a third expressed that it affects their enjoyment in life.  

Life insurance broker, LifeSearch, is on a mission to protect individuals and their families and has spoken to Sam Thompson, Registered Mental Health Nurse and Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, who has shared coping mechanisms to help ease fear and live life to the fullest. 

Death Anxiety and Coping Mechanisms

  • Avoidance is one symptom of anxiety and choosing not to talk about death can cause death anxiety. 
  • People may struggle with their own death as they feel their family will not be able to manage.
  • Writing down thoughts and feelings surrounding death can help identify what causes the anxiety and can be a good start to addressing the fear of dying. 
  • Spending time on activities you enjoy can help you refocus on enjoying life more. 

Sam Thompson, Registered Mental Health Nurse and Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, explains these coping mechanisms in more depth: 

“People may encounter anxiety related to the fear of losing someone close to them or the fear of their own passing. One of the symptoms of anxiety in general is the avoidance of situations, encounters, or experiences. With ‘death anxiety’, we may observe people who choose not to talk about death or dying due to the subsequent emotions that they would experience.

Common beliefs related to death anxiety may be around not being able to cope with the feelings or thinking that their family will not manage after their passing. Writing these thoughts down and having a conversation with close family may be beneficial and identifying a person’s fear about dying or losing a loved one is essential to understanding what is maintaining their anxiety.

Finally, do the person’s anxieties around death impact their daily activities and enjoyment? It may be worthwhile to identify activities that they used to enjoy before experiencing their anxiety and to allocate a certain amount of time either each day or week to restart this. To support this, discussing a couple of goals to focus on and to work towards can be particularly helpful, too. It is recommended that the initial goals are achievable in the interim to increase motivation and achievement.”

LifeSearch wants to open up the conversation about planning for every eventuality in the future, encouraging people to live in the comfort of knowing that if anything terrible were to happen, they’d have the right support and financial protection they need.

Emma Walker, Chief Marketing Officer at LifeSearch, said: “We do all we can to protect those close to us, so we understand that the thought of losing someone you love is painful. If conversations around death are normalised, it can help when the unexpected does happen. Having plans in place and finances discussed in advance, means less to worry about at such an upsetting time.”

The research also found that: 

  • More than two fifths of Brits are scared about dying, with a third saying it affects how they enjoy their life
  • Sam explains that avoidance is one symptom of anxiety and choosing not to talk about death can cause death anxiety. 
  • Opening up the conversation around death and planning for the future can help people cope with the fear.