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How do I get rid of my fears of death?

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I am currently working with a therapy website's CBT program for my negative thinking and anxiety.

I constantly have thoughts about dying - what if it happens right now, not knowing when it will happen - and can't get the thought of the 'unknown' about dying out of my thoughts. I've downloaded your hypnosis downloads for 'Stop Worrying', 'Fear of Death', and 'Generalized Anxiety Disorder'. I did not find that these helped in getting rid of my negative thoughts.

I want to know how to get rid of these negative thoughts and train my brain to have positive thoughts instead of always dreading the 'what if'.

This question was submitted by 'Kate'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hi Kate and thank you for your question.

It's important to understand that when seeking a solution, or series of solutions, to a psychological problem, no one approach works for everyone (despite what some may tell you). This is why we offer a money-back guarantee.

The downloads you have used and the CBT online course you are doing may have helped a bit. But if negative thinking has, for the time being, overcome your mind, then it may not be allowing you to see any benefit - just as any 'dictatorship' will restrict any information coming in that seems to conflict with the prevailing dogma.

So, one first step is to begin to see the negativity for what it is - a biased and incomplete perception of life. This will take effort and practice. Practice relaxing daily and also watching the negative thoughts, not as part of who you are, but as intruders. In this way, you will better develop your 'observing self', the part of you that can stand outside your emotions and so begin to direct them more - or at least learn to ignore them if they are not genuine signals of immediate threat or reward. Check out this short blog: 'What is "the observing self" and why is it such a powerful therapy tool?'. And I'm guessing you've already read 'Dealing with a Fear of Death'.

One problem is that the more you focus on trying to solve a problem, the more you inadvertently focus on the problem. Trying not to think about something can, paradoxically, make it more compelling. Ask someone not to imagine a pink elephant and what do they do?

When you can think about the fact, the universal fact, that we are all temporary whilst feeling calm - not brave, just calm and relaxed - then the emotional charge of the thought will evaporate. When this happens, the thought is no longer obsessive or compelling. Some people can reach this point more quickly than others. It might take work, but you can do it. Cognitive therapy might help, but it tries to do things the hard way. It tries to get you to think different thoughts so you have different feelings. It's easier to do it the other way around, which is why therapists use hypnosis.

So, keep listening to the downloads, keep meeting your needs, and, of course, the needs of those around you. (Or, if any of your needs need attention, find ways to meet them.)

None of us get out of this life alive, it's true. But occasionally meditating on the reality of death, if we can do so bravely, can make us love better whilst we are here. Imagine if there was no death. No sense that anything needed to be done or learned whilst we had the chance. No opportunity to really appreciate your own and others' humanity because the inevitability of a one day death makes us all equal under the sun. I know those are just empty words whilst your mind is still full of fear, but once you take back the reins of your mind and relax more, you might be in a position to feel the reality of them.

All my best,

Mark

watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - July 16th, 2014 in

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