There is a benefit in accepting that someday you, too, will die. Recognizing your mortality can help you take stock of your life and open your eyes to the opportunities in front of you. Sensing your mortality can be a catalyst to create something that will outlast you, touch lives that will outlive you, and experience the places and things you’d always filed away in your mind’s “someday” drawer. Now is the only time there is. When you recognize that life is finite, you can finally get life right. To live like you mean it.
Or, you can let mortality cripple you. You can let your fear of death shrink your life.
If you want to be a seize-the-day person and use the time you have left well, try these strategies for accepting your mortality so you can live your fullest life.
1. Take care of mortality’s paperwork
Do you have legal documents that will help those you leave behind know what to do with your stuff when you’re gone? Do you have a living will that will help your family and friends make medical decisions on your behalf?
While making preparations like these may not help you feel anymore ok about death, it will help alleviate some anxiety, and it will assist those you love and who love you and want to be helpful to you.
2. Use mindfulness to get comfortable with mortality
While mortality’s paperwork is more for the benefit of others, the emotional and spiritual acceptance and preparation for mortality is for you. While ruminating endlessly on death isn’t healthy, using mindfulness to sit with the idea can reduce the very anxiety we imagine thinking about death will trigger.
Sitting mindfully with your mortality means not denying that someday you’ll die, worrying about it without resolving your feelings, or pushing off thinking about it until later. Instead, just observe and acknowledge your thoughts and emotions. Mindful contemplative reflection can help calm you, making it easier for you to take more steps toward living your fullest life.
3. Discuss death at the dinner table
Death is a topic people really, really don’t like to talk about. We’d rather have arguments about politics over Christmas dinner than talk about dying. This is, of course, terribly unhealthy for us. Refusing to have a conversation about something doesn’t make that thing go away.
There is an interesting organization called Death Over Dinner [http://deathoverdinner.org/] that holds events where people can get together to talk about dying. You can also hold a dinner of your own. Get together a group of friends who are in the same boat as you and who may also be apprehensive about having an open conversation about the thing we all think about, but never speak of.