Death anxiety is a negative psychological reaction to the prospect of our mortality. It is related to human beings’ inability to accept mortality and is a common phenomenon. This study investigated whether a brief gratitude intervention could reduce death anxiety. Participants in the gratitude cohort were asked to recall and then write for about 20 minutes about gratitude-inducing events for which they felt “grateful, thankful, or appreciative.” Participants in the gratitude cohort reported lower death anxiety than those in the control groups. By re-examining life events with a thankful attitude, people may become less fearful of death due to a sense that life has been well-lived. Because gratitude can be induced using a very brief procedure, there are broad applications in clinical and health-care settings for the relief of death anxiety.
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