Chapter 1: Grief responses to suffering and death

Confronting your own mortality

The palliative care expert says
Dr.Tom Hutchinson discusses facing your own death anxiety and that of your patients.(3:22)Video transcript

The more unlived your life, the greater your death anxiety. The more you fail to experience your life fully, the more you will fear death. -  Dr. Irvin Yalom, distinguished American psychologist

Many health care providers are confronted with their own feelings of mortality as they encounter death. Psychologists and psychiatrists, among others, have written extensively on the topic of death anxiety, or the fear of not existing anymore.

If you become aware of your own death anxiety, what should you do? 

Some professionals who witness death and grief on a daily basis find value in living with this awareness; it can help to remind us of what really matters.

Reflective exercise

If you’re feeling anxious about your own death, you might consider these questions:  

What are your priorities and are they meeting your needs? 

Are you living your life in alignment with who you really are? 

Are there changes you may need to make to minimize future regrets?   

What would you have to change to live a more authentic and fulfilling life?