The Fear or Unacceptance of Death has become instilled in us through the years due to various factors. These unconscious forces prevent us from thinking about demise. As per researchers and psychologists, one’s cultural and religious overviews and one’s self-esteem are a few of the factors contributing to this. Moving on, the fear of death is also related to fear of loss of control or fear of pain and illness.
Since approaching the topic of demise becomes awkward and forces us to go beyond our comfort zones, we ignore it and leave such discussions for later until it becomes too late. What is important to realize is that if we accept and talk, we will be much better equipped to cope with death and hence life.
Here is a list of the best books to read to overcome the fear of death.
- The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker.
This book is a work of psychology and philosophy by the cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker. The premise of the book revolves around how humans have a defense mechanism against the knowledge of mortality. We believe in the dual realities physical self and the symbolic self. By transcending the dilemma of mortality and paying attention to the symbolic self, we tend to give rise to the “immortality project.” The author also talks about mental illness and creativity, and he hopes that with gradual realizations we can become a better world.
2. Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death by Irvin D. Yalom.
This book is by a highly regarded psychiatrist and the author of numerous best selling books. He talks about how, despite turning to the comforts of family, wealth, and belief in a higher power, the fear of death is never completely subdued. Once we confront reality through awakening experiences of a loss of a loved one, trauma, or aging, we start to rearrange our priorities and talk more deeply. The author follows an encouraging approach to this topic.
3. How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter by Sherwin B. Nuland.
A National Book Award Winner, How We Die, is written by a physician Sherwin B. Nuland. He describes the process of dying straightforwardly through biological, clinical, and emotional aspects. He makes it clear that even if nothing horrible happens, our body is likely to decay over the years. The book is filled with scientific findings and case histories of dying patients, with a pearl of rooted wisdom to live life to its fullest.
4. No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom For Life by Thich Nhat Hanh.
This book by Thich Nhat Hanh explains how to overcome the fear of death through a spiritual approach. His views go beyond the physical manifestations of reality and say that our true being is not segmented by birth or death. Extraordinary things can happen when we learn to be truly present and at peace with ourselves.
5. Nothing to be Frightened of by Julian Barnes.
The book is a family memoir, a contemplation, and meditation on death. He talks about when first he got to know he was going to die, conversations about this with his brother, his parent’s lives, and how they moved on. The author also touches on the topics of God and life after death.