3 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Losing a Loved One

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3 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Losing a Loved One
3 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Losing a Loved One

Losing a loved one is difficult, no matter what the circumstances. Overcoming the fear of suffering these losses is a very personal experience. Fortunately, there are research-proven techniques that can be helpful-such as thinking about death realistically, facing fear, and receiving social support.


Method 1 of 3: Thinking Death Realistically

Overcome the Fear of Losing a Loved One Step 1

Step 1. Recognize that it is normal to have fears about death

Most people fear the death of a loved one at some point in life. In fact, many even go through these losses. According to terror management theory, thinking about the death of those close to you can produce a paralyzing fear, as well as being able to highlight the mortality of anyone.

  • Know that you are not alone. Other people may be sensitive to your situation because they've probably been through something similar. If you feel uncomfortable, share your feelings with someone who has already lost a loved one and who can help you feel supportive and valid.
  • Validate your own fears and feelings. Say to yourself, "It's okay to be scared or sad. These are normal reactions to the situation."
Overcome the Fear of Losing a Loved One Step 2

Step 2. Focus on what you can control

If you are caring for a loved one who is sick, you may experience anxiety, anguish, a heaviness in your shoulders, and a loss of independence. Although you do your best to help the person in need, you cannot control their life span. Instead, focus on what you can do in the moment-like spending time with that family member or facing your fear and sadness in a healthy way.

  • Think about everything you can control about the situation. For example: your own behavior; what you chose to do. Strive to comfort and care for your loved one. Calm down and express your emotions to process grief.
  • Let go of what you cannot control. Visualization and imagination can help you gain perspective on the things you do and do not have control over. Imagine your fears as leaves floating downriver. See them being taken away.
  • Set your limits. If you are caring for a loved one who is sick, you may experience a number of challenges - seeing your ability being tested and experiencing anxiety and depression, for example. Just do what you can and take the time to take care of yourself. For that, you may have to create boundaries for people.
  • Keep your full attention to focus on the present moment. We are afraid because we think about the future and what might happen instead of focusing on the present and what we can do in each moment. Take control of those moments (just like you do while reading this article)!
Overcome the Fear of Losing a Loved One Step 3

Step 3. Accept the loss

Studies show that when people accept death in general, they find it easier to deal with the loss and show more strength and maturity in the face of situations.

  • Start practicing acceptance by creating a list of all the complicated thoughts and emotions related to fear of loss. Write down and address all your innermost phobias and ideas. Say, "I accept my fear and my pain. I accept that I can lose this person any day. It will be difficult, but I accept that this loss is part of life."
  • Remember that death is part of life. Loss is also something that virtually every human being feels at some point.
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Step 4. Think positive thoughts about the world

When people believe that the world is a fair place, they are more resilient and have less difficulty dealing with the loss of loved ones.

  • Recognizing the circle of life and that living and dying are natural things is a way to have positive thoughts about the world. For there to be life, there must be death. Try to see the beauty in both concepts. This cycle can even help us to be grateful: when one person dies, another can live.
  • Show gratitude. Say to yourself, "I might lose my loved one, but at least I can spend time with him right now. I'm going to focus on that and be grateful for this opportunity. Every moment I'm close to him is a gift." We can also choose to be grateful that everyone, including those we love, has a chance to go through life.
  • If your loved one is hurting, focus on the idea that when they are gone, they will no longer feel pain. Think about the fact that he will rest in peace (no matter what belief you have).

Method 2 of 3: Dealing With Your Fear of Losing a Loved One

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Step 1. Use your resources to deal with the loss

Resorting to inappropriate strategies before such a loss happens is associated with difficulties and chronic grief when this death finally takes place. Therefore, it is crucial to use coping mechanisms when something tragic happens.

  • People often have certain ways of dealing with emotions such as fear, loss, grief, and depression. Here are some examples of positive ways to deal with fear of loss: exercise, writing, art, outdoor activities, spirituality/religion (such as praying), and music.
  • Handle your feelings properly; let yourself feel them and, if necessary, express them. Tense levels of depression (before the loss itself) can indicate a greater adjustment to the loss when it happens. Crying can be a healthy and normal way to release sadness and fear.
  • Create and write in a "fear diary". Report your thoughts and feelings about the fear of losing a loved one.
Overcome the Fear of Losing a Loved One Step 6

Step 2. Take a deep breath

If you panic or feel extreme anxiety about losing a loved one, deep breathing exercises can help you to reduce your physiological reactions (heavy breathing, rapid heart rate, etc.) and stay calm.

Sit or lie down in a comfortable place in a good position. Inhale deeply and calmly through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Focus only on breathing rhythm. Pay attention to the movement of your stomach/diaphragm

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Step 3. Reinforce your self-esteem and independence

Having good self-esteem is a protective factor against difficulties related to death. Relationship problems, such as constant fights and over-dependence on others, can make individuals more vulnerable to chronic grief after the loss of a loved one.

  • Be more independent and plan a more autonomous life.
  • Keep in mind that everything will be easier and you will be able to deal with the loss.
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Step 4. Create meaning and purpose

Believing that the world has a purpose (a function) can help you deal with the reality of death, as well as reduce the fear of losing a loved one. Such "purpose" shows that life has specific reasons (such as family, occupation, helping the world and the community, etc.) - it is not enough just to exist or survive. If you have one or more purposes, you can focus on what you can accomplish and then move on after losing someone important. This will show that there is something worth living for, even if your loved one is no longer by your side.

  • Remember that you are a valued member of society. Focus on the contributions you can make to the world. Do you help others? Are you kind to strangers? Do you volunteer or are you dedicated to charitable causes? Identifying these attributes can help you understand that your life has a purpose and you can continue to exercise that purpose even after you have lost someone. Also, dedicate certain projects and activities to that person in the future.
  • Try to see a meaning in death, such as: death is a necessary part of life or a simple passage to another dimension or reality (for those who believe in the afterlife). What is the purpose of death for you? Will your loved one continue to exist on another plane? Will it always be in the memories of living people? Will your contribution to society be remembered?
Overcome the Fear of Losing a Loved One Step 9

Step 5. Approach a greater force

This force can be anything that has more power than you. Building a connection and thinking about your religious or spiritual beliefs or worldviews can help you deal with issues related to death.

  • If you are not a religious person or do not believe in a creator deity, focus on a greater force like nature (the moon and ocean are very powerful). This force can also be a group of people, as groups can be stronger than individuals alone.
  • Write a letter to your greatest strength expressing your fear of losing a loved one.
  • Say a prayer to this greater force by talking about your feelings and thoughts. Ask for a desirable result from the situation you are experiencing (that your loved one gets better, doesn't suffer, etc.).

Method 3 of 3: Making use of greater social support

Overcome the Fear of Losing a Loved One Step 10

Step 1. Enjoy the time you have with your loved one

If that person is still alive, spend a lot of time with them in their last days.

  • Talk about mutual memories as well as the characteristics you admire in each other.
  • Emphasize how you feel about this person. Say you love her.
  • These "final" conversations can be very difficult, but you should make an effort to express yourself well - so you don't regret it later. Try to write down what you want to say on paper before the actual conversation.
Overcome the Fear of Losing a Loved One Step 11

Step 2. Talk to a relative

Family members who stay together and support each other in times of loss are stronger at dealing with the complicated emotions associated with the loss.

  • If you feel you need it, talk to a family member or friend. It is likely that these people also need to be comforted.
  • Surround yourself with relatives and create a solidarity network. To do this, talk to these people about mutual memories and carry out activities with them.
Overcome the Fear of Losing a Loved One Step 12

Step 3. Open your heart to trustworthy people

In addition to interactions with family members helping to alleviate the fear of losing a loved one, relationships with outsiders are also helpful in increasing your ability to deal positively with the possibility of loss. It can be helpful to discuss your feelings and thoughts with others to reduce fear and anxiety.

If you are a religious or spiritual person, try talking to your "leaders" for comfort and help in finding other more suitable individuals for the support you need

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Step 4. Offer support to others

Not only do we need social support when we fear someone will die, but giving that support is also a great way to feel better.

Talk about death with your children. If you are already a parent, set aside a special time to discuss this issue with your child. Many public libraries and bookstores have children's books that can help you address the topic properly

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Step 5. Keep your relationships alive

One of people's greatest fears about the possibility of death is the end of a relationship. However, these bonds are not broken with death; they continue to exist in memories, prayers, feelings and thoughts about the person who is gone.

Focus on the fact that your relationship and attachment to this person will never cease to exist


  • If you need to surround yourself with distractions from the situation you're going through - like something comical, the company of friends who haven't been affected by the loss, etc. -, devote yourself to them from time to time.
  • If you feel like crying, don't hold back the tears. This is a biological reaction and can be ideal in times of loss and trauma.


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