Aging and death is inevitable. It happens to every living creature on our earth. Many people suffer fear or anxieties with these two unavoidable occurrences that they share with their loved ones and ultimately experience themselves. There are many factors involved with this conscious recognition of one’s mortality.
Emotion is a key ingredient in the fear of aging and death. The limbic system is a neural system that is below the cerebral hemispheres in the brain. The parts of the brain in the limbic system involved in this anxiety are the amygdala and the hippocampus. The amygdala is small ,comparable to two kidney bean- sized neural groupings that are associated with fear and aggression (Meyer, D.G. 2010). The hippocampus helps process specific memories for storage. Between the two they take on the job of handling emotional experiences such as fear consciously and subconsciously. Through laboratory animal testing and studies, death anxiety needs either or both the amygdala and the hippocampus and actual elements of fearful situations to produce anxiety ( Lehto, R.H., PhD, RN, OCN and Stein, K.F., PhD, RN, FAAN. 2009).
Cognitive elements also play a very significant role in aging and death anxiety. The cognitive ingredients in the fear of death and aging are attitudes and the inability to see into the future. Perceiving the unknown is an almost impossible challenge for us. Certain beliefs that we hold such as religious convictions can help us achieve this goal. According to a study that was done on University students that were taking a thanatology course, which is the study of the phenomena of death, reported having less fear about dying when they had religion in their life. (Lehto, R.H., PhD, RN, OCN and Stein, K.F., PhD, RN, FAAN. (2009).
Where we are in the terms of our psychosocial development also plays a role in aging and death anxiety. Researchers have found that when students are in the moratorium identity status the anxiety of death is higher...