Everyone at some time or other fears death in some way. It’s perfectly normal and natural.
We might worry about wanting to see our children grow up and wanting to have achieved our goals. It is also common to be concerned about ensuring that we have looked after our loved ones in the event of our death and to make sure we have taken care of our affairs. It would be unusual not to have these concerns.
Worry can be a good thing as it stops us from doing reckless things that might put our lives in danger. But sometimes the anxiety can be counterproductive.
The word “worry” originates from the old English word “wyrgan” meaning to strangle. When the anxiety stops being healthy – and for some people, the fear of death can develop into a phobia (thanatophobia) – it can prevent us from doing something that might help alleviate our concerns.
Writing your will is not going to make you die any sooner than not writing one. In fact, it is possible that the reverse is true. It’s one of those jobs that we know we ought to do that can hang over us for some time before we get around to it. And this in itself can be the cause of some anxiety.
Several studies have shown that anxiety, even at a low level, can increase the risk of an early death. Researchers from universities and hospitals in London and Edinburgh looked into the deaths of middle-aged and older people over a ten-year period. They found that those with a mild level of anxiety or depression were at a 29% greater risk of dying from heart disease or stroke over that decade than those who did not.
A further study from Cambridge University found that men with more severe anxiety were twice as likely to die from cancer than those who did not. It was thought that part of the reason was that men were likely to self-medicate with alcohol and tobacco which in turn contribute to illnesses such as cancer.
We can live more healthily and take care of ourselves but ultimately, we cannot escape death. However, it is possible to make plans for what will happen to our estate when we die and that itself can bring us peace of mind.
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