Understanding Fear of Death, and How to Overcome It

Ölüm Korkusu Nedir

The fear of death is a universal fear experienced by all individuals, stemming from the universal concept of mortality. This fear is often associated with the uncertainty about what lies beyond death. Individuals who have a desire for immortality may sometimes experience discomfort due to the thought that life will eventually come to an end. When the fear of death exists within manageable levels, it plays a crucial role in individuals’ lives by helping them maintain a sense of safety within certain boundaries. This fear enables individuals to protect themselves from various dangers and continue living their lives by acknowledging the presence of death. However, when the fear or anxiety intensifies and becomes uncontrollable, individuals may experience profound distress, making it challenging to enjoy life.

Factors Leading to an Increase in the Fear of Death:

Throughout their lives, individuals may encounter various situations that can increase the fear of death or death-related anxiety to unsettling levels.

  • Having health concerns can bring about death-related anxiety.
  • Those who have lost loved ones may experience heightened fear of death.
  • Believing that one will be punished after death based on religious beliefs can contribute to an increase in the fear of death.
  • The perception of death as non-existence can lead individuals to confront their fear of death.
  • Feeling a sense of failure due to the inability to achieve life goals can increase the fear of death.

How to Overcome the Fear of Death:

There are various situations in which the fear of death profoundly affects an individual’s life. In such cases, seeking psychological or psychiatric support is one of the crucial steps to help individuals gain control over their death-related anxieties.

Achieving a balance in the fear of death, so it remains manageable, can be facilitated by individuals’ efforts to self-realize and find the purpose of life. Self-realization, by helping reduce anxiety levels, allows individuals to experience less fear of death. Additionally, individuals who experience less fear of death are known to be those who find meaning in their lives and achieve the purpose of life.

Self-Realized Individuals Experience Less Fear of Death:

Self-realization refers to an individual’s ability to fully express their potential and achieve their life goals. According to various studies, individuals who have achieved their life goals are more accepting of death, viewing it as a natural occurrence. Individuals who are self-realized and view death as a part of life experience less fear of death. Self-realized individuals share common characteristics:

  • Perceiving and accepting reality as it is.
  • Being at peace with oneself and one’s surroundings, establishing strong relationships.
  • Being sensitive to problems in the environment.
  • Being self-sufficient.

Individuals adopting such perspectives can keep their fear of death at a manageable level.

Individuals Finding the Purpose of Life Fear Death Less:

The purpose of life is an individual’s search for personal meaning, the feeling of having a purpose in life, and the desire to make a difference in the world. It encompasses having significant goals and the aspiration to create an impact. Feeling that life has meaning, having personal goals, and striving towards those goals allow individuals to develop a positive and accepting attitude toward death. Consequently, individuals who fear death less are those who find meaning in their lives and have goals to pursue.


  • Koç, M. (2002) A theoretical psychological evaluation on the fear of death. Sakarya University Journal of Divinity Faculty, 7-20.
  • Toplanır, E. (2018) Examination of the relationship between life satisfaction, self-realization, and death anxiety. (Unpublished master’s thesis) Haliç University Institute of Social Sciences, Applied Psychology Department, Istanbul.
  • Yaman-Karahan, B. (2016) The impact of life purpose, emotional well-being, personal death anxiety, and sensitive love on ontological well-being. (Unpublished master’s thesis) Istanbul Arel University Institute of Social Sciences, Psychology Master’s Program, Istanbul.


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