Wednesday June 19, 2019

Dying is ‘Less Sad’ than you Think: Study

The research showed that the final blog posts of terminally ill patients and the last words of death row inmates are filled with nothing but love, meaning and social connection

Dying flower. Wikimedia
  • The writings of terminally ill patients and inmates on death row were examined in this research
  • For comparison, a group of online participants were asked to imagine that they had been diagnosed with terminal cancer or were death row inmates
  • The writings of people who were actually close to death were much more positive than those who were only imagining their condition

Washington D.C, June 13, 2017: Thinking about death can result in considerable angst. All of us have a common curiosity about the before-and-after of death. According to a new research, the actual emotional experiences associated with dying are both more positive and less negative than people usually tend to believe.

Researcher Kurt Gray of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said, “When we imagine our emotions as we approach death, we think mostly of sadness and terror. But it turns out, dying is less sad and terrifying–and happier–than you think.”

The writings of terminally ill patients and inmates on death row were examined in this research. It is suggested that we are disproportionately focused on the negative emotions caused by dying; our obsession with death as a negative idea keeps standing in our way of considering the broader context of everyday life.

According to Gray, humans are incredibly adaptive, both physically and emotionally.  We carry on with our daily lives whether we’re dying or not. In our imagination, dying is a lonely and meaningless event that pushes us into a vast blank space, away from the happiness of life. But the research showed that the final blog posts of terminally ill patients and the last words of death row inmates are filled with nothing but love, meaning and social connection.

In a recent Modern Love column written by beloved children’s author Amy Krouse Rosenthal the positive emotions that follow this kind of meaning-making were exquisitely expressed. Rosenthal passed away due to ovarian cancer 10 days after her column was published in The New York Times. She penned down her feelings about finding someone to marry her husband after her impending death with profound love and appropriate humour.

In their first study, Gray and colleagues focused on analysing In their first study, the emotional content of blog posts from terminally ill patients who were dying of either cancer or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or some other life-threatening disease. The blogs needed to have at least 10 posts over at least 3 months and the author had to have died in the course of writing the blog to be included in the study. For comparison, a group of online participants were asked to imagine that they had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and to write a blog post, keeping in mind that they had only a few months to live as well.

The researchers used a computer-based algorithm, trained research assistant coders, and online participant coders to analyze the actual and imagined blog posts for words that described both negative and positive emotions, such as “fear,” “terror,” “anxiety,” “happiness,” and “love.”

According to ANI reports, the results made it clear that blog posts from individuals who were terminally ill included considerably more positive emotion words and fewer negative emotion words compared to those written by participants who simply imagined they were dying.

ALSO READ: Owning a Dog may help Older Adults to be more Active: Study

Closely looking at the patients’ blog posts over time, the researchers also realised  that their use of positive emotion words actually increased as they neared death, while their use of negative emotion words did not. These patterns remained common even after Gray and colleagues took the overall word count and number of blog posts into account; suggesting the fact that the increase in positive emotion words in the posts was not simply due to the effects of writing over time.

For the second study, the researchers opted for another similar analysis comparing the last words of inmates on death row with the poetry of death-row inmates and the imagined last words of another group of online participants. Again, it was observed  that the words of those who were actually close to death were less negative and more positive in an emotional tone than the words of those who were not actually close to death.

Even though Gray and his co-authors have acknowledged that the findings may not apply to all people who are approaching death and it is unclear whether individuals who are facing a great deal of uncertainty or those who die of old age express similarly positive emotions as they come close to the end of life, ultimately the findings assert that our expectations or imaginations may not match the reality of dying which has important implications for how people who are dying are treated.

The observations have been published in Psychological Science.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang



Next Story

What is Negative Energy and How to Combat It!

Eliminate all types of negative energy from your life

Meditation, negative energy
Meditation and relaxation techniques can combat negative energy. Source: Pixabay
  • The first and foremost step to minimize negativity is to acknowledge its presence
  • Negative thoughts must be replaced with positive ones
  • We must not let negative energy take control of our lives 

New Delhi, July 19, 2017: Negative energy can take the form of a feeling or a thought that can make us feel that we can’t break free and we’re in a fix. When we say ‘soul’ is an energy then it can be said that the thoughts we create, be it positive or negative- has certain energy or life. One of the factors that contribute to negative energy is fear- this includes both conscious and unconscious fear. This article of health and healthy thoughts will guide you to learn how to identify it, when it makes an attempt to intrude your life and how to beat it by strengthening your thoughts.

One shouldn’t permit any of the following 6 negative energies to obstruct one’s life:

A strong correlation exists between mental health and stress. If the negative energy of anxiety is allowed to control one’s life, it will hold them back from achieving various things in life. The most troublesome problem is the tendency to ignore anxiety symptoms and pushing them aside. It will only increase the negative energy present in your life in the long run. Most adults do have some amount of stress present in their life and this spreads negative energy even more.

Fortunately, there are ways to relieve such problems using relaxation exercice and techniques. It is hard to overcome stress, nervousness, and fear, but they can be worked upon with the help of a therapist who can teach us how to control of one’s emotions.

ALSO READ: Anger Issues? 8 Ways to Get Done With it Now !

Having depressive moods constantly has an adverse effect on your physical and mental well-being. Bad moods can actually intervene your ability to think in a clear manner. It is essential to face your emotions as it can help you identify when you are feeling depressed and comprehend how to control it. First and foremost, take out a couple of minutes for breathing and reflecting. Breathing exercises and meditation will calm your mind down and body and will stop you from burying down your feelings. Pinpoint the cause of negativity, and take an appropriate action.

People that do not make an effort to minimize the negative energy surrounding them suffer problems in maintaining lasting relationships. Socializing with other people may feel tiring when you are constantly in a bad mood. When you think you are being dominated by negative energy, take out some time for yourself. Additionally, you can also tell a trustworthy friend about what your problem is. Good and meaningful communication, as well as active listening, are some of the ways to get rid of it.

It has been told to us that complaining cannot solve the situation in any way. Despite this, most of the people complain constantly to tackle negative energy. Rather, it becomes a hurdle to overcome the situation and invites toxic energy. A person who complains about mostly everything will eventually push away their loved ones.
If you are angry and upset about a situation, minimize complaining, stop overthinking and focus on remaining positive.

These can be easily identified, as this occurs when you arrive at a certain place and you start to feel low, drained, irritated or tired. This can be due to negative vibes that you feel from this space, for instance, your work place, or your own house. When you find yourself in these negative spaces, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Identify what is causing the negativity in this space, and work to remove it.

There are various bodily reactions to negativity, such as lack of sleep, muscle pains, and headaches caused by tension. It might make you feel nervous, frustrated, or sad. Practicing relaxation techniques, doing something that you find enjoyable, and reducing stress will relieve you from this negative energy to some extent. Taking care of your body in a proper manner by exercising regularly and following a good diet will also help eliminate the negative energy get you in any physical manner.

It might not be easy to eliminate negative energy from your life. You can clear out negative energy by first taking responsibility for your feelings, and not blaming someone else.
Next, learn to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. This will take practice, efforts, dedication and requires you to make the choice that you want to minimize negative energy daily. Gain the courage to acknowledge that you create your life experience.
Nobody wants negative energy to pervade their lives, yet many of us permit it. Incorporating some changes within will enable us to quickly see positive changes in our lives.

-prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter @Hkaur1025