The fear of death is both rational and reasonable--and sometimes even extreme. Death anxiety is an actual psychological condition. But a study at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill--interestingly spurred by the last words of death row inmates--discovered that the closer one gets to death, the more positive they become. In our last newsletter, we published several inspirational stories of people who showed great positivity in the face of adversity. As it turns out, this may be more common than we thought.
Psychological scientist Kirk Gray's interest was piqued after reading the final statements of 500 Texas inmates who were executed between 1982 and 2013--the state of Texas actually posts these online--and finding them particularly optimistic. Gray decided to compare these statements to those of terminally ill patients who had blogged about their experiences and outlook. He took a test group of healthy people and asked them to imagine they were dying, then write down what they thought they would share.
Words like happiness and love appeared frequently in the blogs of the terminally ill, and the wish to spend their last days with loved ones prevailed over dread. The words "I'm ready" were recurring, bringing up the relevance of the "death with dignity" laws that are currently in place in California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, D.C.
While the thought of death may seem shrouded in fear and loneliness, the power of the human spirit is remarkable, and protective.
Source: Science of Us