“The only things you can guarantee in life are death and tax” That is all my friend’s boyfriend Josh has to say on the matter.
My family and friends outlook on this subject does nothing but highlight the fact that I probably let it consume an excessive amount of my time.
I think about death regularly and it’s anything besides healthy for me. When I say “I think about death”, it’s not in a “let’s Carpe the hell out of this Diem” way, instead it leaves me feeling almost paralysed. And when I say “regularly”, I mean usually when I am on the phone to British Gas or watching You’ve Been Framed.
My sister’s advice is to spend your time doing things properly, living your life to the fullest instead of worrying about dying. “Don’t just have cereal” she says, “have orange juice and croissants as well.” To which my friend Natalie replies “Forget that, get a burger in your mouth every morning if you’re expecting death, cholesterol levels won’t matter.”
I would like to point out that I am not depressed. At least I don’t think I am. I am quite a happy person. However, I worry so much about my life ending without me having been a good person that I end up absorbing any time that could be spent actually doing good. Do you know what I mean?
Having spent time recently trying to identify the route of my problem, I think I have cracked it. It’s fear. It all stems from specifically, fear of the unknown.
I know, I’m a genius. Seriously though let me explain. I am currently writing this article sat on a hospital ward with my brother in Sheffield. My brother went into hospital incredibly early this morning. Due to this, he didn’t have any underwear on beneath his pyjama trousers.
As a result of being dropped into a scenario he was unfamiliar with, he began to worry that the doctors would ask him to take his trousers off even though it was his chest that he was experiencing problems with. As if the doctor was going to say “So, you’re experiencing chest problems? Right then, pop your trousers off and we’ll have a look.”
I, being the supportive sister that I am, spent my time making comments like “No, I think they will ask you to get completely naked for your scan so that they can work out what is wrong with you.”
But this got me thinking, when we are placed into unfamiliar territory, our minds begin to race and we worry about whatever possible outcome we can conjure up, making sure we have all areas covered, no matter how ridiculous they might be.
It is the same with death, because we do not know what it will feel like, we worry that we are going to be asked to take our pyjama trousers off, so to speak.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the all the answers, but what I can say is this, I have put together a little 7 day challenge to help us all think a little more positively about life and hopefully, have us spending time on the important things instead of giving time to the things that are not.
Also, always remember, “You’re fear is 100% dependant on you for its survival.”
– Dr Steve Maraboli
The 7 Day “Let’s Not Worry About Dying” Challenge
DAY 1: “ELIMINATE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS” DAY
Notice each negative thought that you have today and replace it with a positive one.
DAY 2: “NO WIFI” DAY
Spend your whole day offline. Take this day to really look after yourself. Go for a long walk in the fresh air. There’s no wifi out in the country but I promise that you’ll find a better connection.
DAY 3: “TAKE A STEP TOWARDS FINDING A NEW SKILL” DAY
This will give you something positive to focus on.
DAY 4: THE “SAY NO” DAY
Learn to say no to things without explaining yourself. Happiness is a decision and I really believe that putting our happiness first is a priority to help us take our minds off of things. If you’re genuinely happy, everything else will fall into place.
DAY 5: “DO SOMETHING CHARITABLE” DAY
If you can do it anonymously, the rewards are even better.
DAY 6: “MAKE SURE THAT YOUR WORST ENEMY IS NOT LIVING BETWEEN YOUR TWO EARS” DAY
When we worry about dying, we often analyse every negative aspect about ourselves. Take today to stop beating yourself up about things and use it to do whatever makes you happy.
DAY 7: “START A BRAND NEW JOURNAL” DAY
And make sure it’s on good old-fashioned paper. No apps or laptops. Find yourself a lovely little notebook and get writing about all the things you are going to do to make the world a better place to live in.