As a society we don’t largely imagine that the end of our life is something to look forward to, or that death will be enjoyable.
In fact a recent YouGov survey found that 68% of people in Britain fear death – not least because 10% of us are convinced we’re going to hell – but according to new research it seems that we might not have the full picture.
This is after a team from the University of North Carolina studied the blog posts of people facing imminent death and found it was “less sad and terrifying” and much happier than expected.
The study asked terminally ill patients, living with cancer and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and inmates on death row in Texas, to write about how they were feeling before they died.
They then used language-analysis software to compare these posts to posts written by people imagining they were facing death, describing how it would make them feel.
And they concluded that the emotions expressed in the real, rather than simulated, accounts were not lonely and anxious but “filled with love, social connection, and meaning” instead.
Not only that put as death drew closer, the blogs became even more positive, and focused more on topics like family and religion.
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Dr Kurt Gray, who worked on the study, said: “Together, these results suggest that the experience of dying—even because of terminal illness or execution—may be more pleasant than one imagines.
“Humans are incredibly adaptive – both physically and emotionally – and we go about our daily lives whether we’re dying or not.”
There were 529,655 registered deaths in England and Wales in 2015, an increase of 5.6% since 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics.
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