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The fear of death is fairly common. Some people may simply fear being dead while others may be afraid of what will happen as they are dying. Often, people fear death because what happens afterward is unknown, while others may feel afraid of the emotional pain their deaths may cause their loved ones. In some cases, a person’s fear of death may seem excessive and interfere with his daily functioning and overall enjoyment of life. In such a case, a person may have more than just a fear; he may have a phobia.
Many people may fear death because it is difficult to comprehend. The idea of being alive and healthy one day and perhaps ceasing to exist the next day can be difficult for many to grasp. In some cases, this difficulty with grasping the idea of death may lead to fear. Likewise, many people want to live life to its fullest and fear death because it would put an end to their existence and stop them from doing all the things they want to do.
For some people, the fear of death is more focused on the act of dying. Some people are more afraid of what it will feel like to die than they are of the idea of ceasing to exist. They may worry that they will feel pain or fear when they die. Likewise, some people may feel afraid of losing dignity as they are dying. These people may often declare a wish to die in their sleep or instantly instead.
In some cases, a person’s fear of death may be tied to concern for the loved ones he will leave behind. For example, a person may worry about the emotional pain his death will cause his loved ones. He may also worry about how his loved ones will fare without him. For instance, a father may be afraid of dying because doing so would leave his children to grow and mature without his influence.
Sometimes people fear death because of the unknown. They may feel uncertain about what happens after death or worry that they will face some sort of punishment after they die. For example, a person may fear that God will judge him after death and punish him for things he did during his lifetime.
Fear of death is normal. Most people have at least some level of fear when it comes to death and dying. When a person’s fear seems out of control or excessive, however, he may have a phobia. In such a case, he may benefit from seeking the help of a professional mental health counselor.
I'd say 99 percent of the world's population has some fear of death. I think it's human nature to fear the unknown, and to a great degree, death is an unknown experience. Many people have said they have died and come back to life, but since no one else experienced what they did, it's still an unknown.
The fear of no longer existing may also be a problem for those who do not believe in an afterlife, while those who do believe in a form of life after death may experience that fear to a lesser degree. It all depends on the person, I'd say, and their individual beliefs and feelings.
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