We all have it. We all subconsciously act on it. But what is it? Merriam-Webster defines thanatophobia as “fear of death”. With this fear of death, “the paralyzing terror produced by the awareness of one’s mortality leads to the denial of death awareness and the repression of death-related thoughts” says the existential psychologists Victor Florian and Mario Mikulincer in 2004 when they observed the phenomenon.
It may be easy to say “well yeah, I’m scared of death”, but just how much? Most people do not think about the everyday actions for avoiding death that they may do such as; driving slower to avoid an accident, walking on sidewalks, avoiding bridges in case they collapse, or keeping knives pointed away from the body when cooking so as to avoid stabbing accidents.
Death anxiety strikes us all because while we fear death, we do not actively do things to tempt fate so to speak. We subconsciously go out of our own way to avoid peril and stay alive. Death anxiety is a lurker and we all act on it, knowingly or not.
It is always right around the corner.