Ep. 130 How Death Awareness Can Change the World

Learn about studies that have shown the positive benefits of death awareness and why we need more of it in the world.

PodcastDeathAwareness

DEATHEDforeveryoneIn this episode I share some recent studies that validate the fact that being aware of death has positive effects on behavior toward others. This is evidence that we need more classes, workshops, books, films, and discussion groups about death in order to promote health, peace, tolerance, and compassion in the world.

Read the companion article on Thrive Global here.

Remember you can still sign up for the online reading group A Year of Reading Dangerously by clicking here. Join us to read one book about death, dying and the afterlife each month during 2018!

Slide01You can also get the Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class here if you are interested in teaching a class in your community or for college or high school students. In addition when you sign up for the guidelines you could become part of a work group during the month of  March to create a death and dying class.

Sign up for the guidelines!

THANK YOU to all of you who help support this podcast with your donations on Patreon.com/eolu!!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Kenneth Vail and his colleagues at the University of Missouri recently did a review of several studies on death awareness and behavior. They found that increased death awareness was associated with several positive behaviors that could lead to needed changes in how we live our lives and connect with one another. Here are some of the findings:

  • Helping behaviors increased when people were given subtle reminders of their mortality, such as being near a cemetery. These positive behaviors include compassion, tolerance, empathy and pacifism.
  • Pro-environmental behaviors increased for people with heightened death awareness
  • Positive health behaviors such as quitting smoking, starting an exercise program, and performing breast self-exams increased for people who became aware of death
  • People with fundamentalist religious values who had previously rejected members of other religions were more likely to show compassion toward those of other groups when they experienced greater death awareness

In our world that is currently suffering  with environmental degradation, polarization of society, violence, and unhealthy behaviors perhaps increased death awareness could hold some promise for our survival. Join me in improving death awareness this year by reading books and teaching classes on death and dying!

Tune in every Monday for a new episode and if you enjoy this content consider leaving a review on iTunes (thank you – it makes a big difference!)

Until next week remember ….

Face Your Fear          BE Ready          Love Your Life

karen-signature

Ep. 129 How to Teach Death-Ed to College Students with Stacy Smith

Learn tips for teaching college students about death and dying from psychologist and educator Stacy Smith.

PodcastStacyS

stacysmithlgIn this episode I share an interview with Stacy Smith who teaches a course in the Psychology of Death and Dying to students at a local community college. She’ll offer some great tips about teaching your own class and help you get inspired to become a death-ed teacher!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Slide01

Click here to Download the Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class!

 

Thank you to all of the supporters of this podcast on Patreon.com/eoluclick here to become a patron and receive lots of bonuses!

You can still sign up for A Year of Reading Dangerously and join us in reading 12 books about death and dying this year! Sign up here.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Stacy Smith will share how she started teaching her college class: The Psychology of Death & Dying. In this interview you’ll learn:

  • How Stacy got interested in teaching a college class on death and dying
  • How to gain support from school administration and attract students to a death and dying class
  • An overview of Stacy’s lesson plan for this course
  • Projects, assignments, guest lecturers, and field trips she recommends
  • Feedback from students who have taken the course
  • Qualities of a great death and dying class teacher
  • Tips for starting your own class on death and dying

 Stacy Smith has a degree in counseling education and counseling psychology from the University of Colorado in Denver. She created a Legacy program for 5-18 year olds dealing with grief and loss. She has been in private practice for 14 years and specialized in grief counseling. She has been teaching in the Psychology Department at Colorado Mountain College for 5 years, including the class: The Psychology of Death and Dying. She is currently writing a book about destigmatizing mental illness and treatment.

Tune in next Monday for another new episode! Meanwhile, you can join the Reading Group, get the Teaching Guidelines, subscribe to the podcast and leave a review on iTunes!

Until next time remember …

Face Your Fear           BE Ready             Love Your Life

karen-signature

Ep. 128 Why We Need Death Education for Everyone Right Now

Learn why the Death Education movement is vitally important right now for our society and get inspired to teach your own class about death and dying!

PodcastDeathEd

DEATHEDforeveryoneThis week I’m continuing my focus on death education by discussing some important reasons why right now we desperately need more death-ed in every aspect of our society. Learn how you might become a death educator in your own community and start to share your knowledge to help others become aware of death.

Slide01

 

Click here to get your free Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class to help you create your own class!

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS: 

You can still join A Year of Reading Dangerously and start reading books about death and dying with 700 other people around the globe! You’ll get to take part in live Q&A discussions with the authors of many of the books we are reading. For February we are reading Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty–and she’ll be joining our discussion at the end of the month! Sign up now by clicking here!

Thanks again to all of my supporters at Patreon.com/eolu! Your generosity and encouragement mean everything to me! Become a patron for as little as $1 per month–where else can you do so much good with just $1? Go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Today I’m discussing why we need death education everywhere in our society and here are some of the places where it should take place:

  • Home – parents need to learn how to talk about death and dying with their children rather than shielding them from the reality of death
  • Schools – high school and college classes are a perfect place to introduce death and dying to young, curious students who can only benefit from learning more about death. (Next week I’ll share an interview on this podcast with Stacy Smith who teaches The Psychology of Death & Dying to college students, and on EOLU at the end of February I’ll present an interview about a high school elective on Death and the Meaning of Life with the teacher and 3 of his students.
  • Churches – clergy of all faiths need to be educated about death and dying so that they can better support their congregants on end-of-life issues within their belief system
  • Workplaces – employers need to understand the impact of death and grief on their employees in order to create supportive policies for bereavement leave; workers need to know how to interact with co-workers who are suffering with illness and grief
  • Medical system – doctors, nurses, and all other providers of healthcare need education in how to get comfortable with death, talk about it with patients and families, guide decision-making, initiate conversations with patients
  • Hospitals and nursing homes – need education to create sacred spaces for dying, to support patients and families at the end of life and honor patients’ wishes

Some of the reasons why death education is so important right now are:

  • We are living longer and the incidence of complex diseases like Alzheimer’s is increasing which creates a need for better advance planning. Patients and families need to prepare for the type of medical care and caregiving that may become necessary and understand how they can provide for those possibilities in the future.
  • Medical technology continues to advance at a rapid rate. Our ability to forestall death and keep a body alive has far outstripped our willingness to grapple with difficult end-of-life decisions. We need education to help people plan and prepare for the future and be pro-active about the care they receive. Studies show that those who think and talk about death are more likely to put their wishes in writing, to talk with others about their wishes, and to stop medical treatment when it is no longer helping.
  • Ethical and moral dilemmas about end-of-life issues are splitting our society and families. Debates over physician-assisted dying and discontinuing medical care when it is not helping are going to increase with the aging of the Baby Boom generation. According to Pew Research Center surveys: 47% of Americans favor assisted-dying laws and 49% are opposed; 66% believe that there are times when doctors should stop treatment and allow patients to die a natural death, but 31% believe that doctors should always do everything possible to prolong life. These opposing perspectives are likely to be present in families too, especially if no advance planning has been done.
  • The high cost of being unprepared for death. Lack of advance care planning can lead to higher medical expenses, especially if the patient receive extreme care that was not actually warranted or wanted. Families unprepared for funeral planning are more likely to choose higher cost options and be vulnerable to unscrupulous marketing practices when they are grieving. Failure to plan ahead and put wishes in writing can cause increased stress and guilt for family members who must make decisions without any guidance.
  • The emotional and spiritual cost of ignoring death. As described in episode 127, death is our greatest teacher about life. Those who fail to recognize the inevitability of death are less likely to live to the fullest and appreciate the moment because they think they have plenty of time.

If you care about any of these issues and have been learning about death and dying by listening to this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series, you are the perfect person to become a “death educator.” Start by sharing what you’ve learned with family and friends and consider putting together your own class in your community to help educate others. 

Slide01You can download my free pdf: Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class and get some tips and tactics for starting your own community death-ed class! When you download the handout you’ll receive an invitation to a special work group I’m putting together in March on brainstorming your class.

Click here to get the guidelines!

 

Stay tuned to future episodes of this podcast to get more information about death education: next week I’ll share an interview with Stacy Smith about teaching college students about death and dying. On February 22nd I’ll present an interview on End-of-Life University with the teacher and students from a high school death-ed elective.

I hope you feel inspired to become a “death educator” in whatever capacity suits you, whether you simply share your knowledge with family and friends or start a class in your community!

If you enjoy this podcast please consider leaving a review on iTunes – it will be greatly appreciated!

Until next week remember:

Face Your Fear          BE Ready           Love Your Life

karen-signature

Ep. 127 The Consequences of Ignoring Death

Learn how our 100-year history of ignoring death has led to a death-phobic society and the consequences we face as individuals.

PodcastIgnoreDeath

DEATHEDforeveryoneIn this episode I share my thoughts on the negative effects, for individuals and for society in general, of our dysfunctional relationship with death. This topic leads into my theme for 2018: Death Education for Everyone, which you’ll be learning more about in upcoming episodes!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

There’s still plenty of time to join the year-long reading group for 2018: A Year of Reading Dangerously. We just finished reading When Breath Becomes Air for January and are moving on to Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty for our February selection. Click here to join the reading group!

Huge thanks to all of my current supporters on Patreon.com/eolu! I appreciate your generosity very much and also the emotional and spiritual support I derive from knowing that you are listening and that you care about the work I’m doing!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

For the past century we here in the U.S. (and other developed nations, as well) have been gradually slipping into a state of ignorance about death. With the rise of modern medicine and the funeral industry, death has been removed from the home and from day-to-day life, allowing us to shove death into the far reaches of consciousness and to deny to ourselves that it exists.

But death is an essential component of life that cannot be ignored without causing some negative consequences. Today I’ll talk about these factors that result from ignoring death:

  • We think there’s always more time
  • We forget that life is fragile
  • We don’t cherish our relationships
  • We don’t appreciate change
  • We are unable to find meaning in life
  • We don’t live life fully

Here are the quotes I included in today’s discussion:

“Man … lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” – Dalai Lama

“Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” – Steve Jobs

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is true and important.” – Steve Jobs

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” – Norman Cousins

“Many people die at twenty-five and aren’t buried until they are seventy-five.” – Benjamin Franklin

So commit to start recognizing the presence of Death in your life every day until you can embrace and appreciate Death as a necessary component of Life. Then go out and start teaching other people to do the same thing!

Tune in each Monday for a new episode. If you enjoy this content please consider leaving a review on iTunes!

Until next week ..

Face Your Fear              BE Ready            Love Your Life

karen-signature

Ep. 126 Understanding the Fear of Death with Kelvin Chin

Learn how Kelvin Chin has helped people from all over the world look at and cope with their fear of death.

PodcastChin

kelvinchin2In this episode I share an interview with Kelvin Chin, attorney, mediator, and meditation teacher, who helps people address their fears of death individually and through workshops and lectures. He is the author of the book Overcoming the Fear of Death through each of the 4 main belief systems.

View Kelvin’s website here.

Get the book on Amazon here (through my affiliate link.)

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

You can still join A Year of Reading Dangerously and spend 2018 reading one book each month about end-of-life topics. We’re having a great time so join us! Click here to learn more.

Thanks as usual to all my supporters on Patreon.com/eolu! I’m so grateful for your donations – they help me keep this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

My guest Kelvin Chin is the Executive Director and Founder of Overcoming the Fear of Death Foundation. Kelvin will share his experiences providing free counseling for people from all over the world to help them reduce their fear of death regardless of their belief system or culture.

In this interview you will learn:

  • How Kelvin started doing this work
  • The 4 Main Belief Systems about Death that cover all religions and cultures
  • How to help yourself or others overcome the fear of death
  • Why inner change is more important than changing external beliefs
  • How Kelvin’s talks and lectures about the fear of death are helping to reduce that fear for his audiences
  • The benefits of meditation in coping with our fears

OFODcover

Kelvin’s book is now available on Amazon. (NOTE: If you use my affiliate link to purchase the book I will receive a small commission from Amazon, which will not affect the amount you pay. Thank you!)

 

 

Tune in every Monday for a brand new episode! Leave a review on iTunes if you enjoy this content – I greatly appreciate it!

Until next time …

Face Your Fear             BE Ready             Love Your Life

karen-signature

 

Ep. 125 How to Have a Peaceful Death

Learn some steps you can take NOW to ensure that you will be at peace when you reach the end of life.

PodcastPeacefulDeath

momThis week I’m sharing with you my reflections on what it takes to be at peace when you die. I just observed the 5th anniversary of my Mom’s death and I was inspired to create this podcast by thinking about the peace she experienced at the time of her death and how she was able to achieve that! 

Read the companion blog on this subject here.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Join A Year of Reading Dangerously and read fantastic books about death and dying all through 2018! Learn more and sign up here.

Thanks to my latest supporter on Patreon.com/eolu: Cheryl Durden! Your contribution to this podcast and to the End-of-Life University Interview Series is greatly appreciated!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

After writing a blog this week called “Why Some People Don’t Die in Peace” I decided that I should go further and address HOW to actually be more at peace when the end of life arrives. So here are my thoughts! These are all things to start working on now in order to be at peace in the end:

PHYSICAL:

  • Plan ahead for your time of dying: What type of care do you want to receive? Where do you want to be when you die?
  • Appoint a reliable healthcare proxy to speak on your behalf
  • Create advance directives and talk about them with everyone (family, medical providers, clergy, friends, attorney)
  • Do “death-cleaning” by giving away all the things you don’t need any more
  • Think about where you will live and who will take care of you if you are unable to care for yourself. How have you provided for these possibilities
  • Make note of all of your preparations along with all of your financial and ownership information. Make sure this is accessible to family members who may need this information in the future.
  • Plan ahead for your funeral and burial

MENTAL:

  • Prepare yourself for death by reading and learning what happens at the end of life
  • Participate in a Death Cafe to have conversations about death
  • Watch films about the end of life (like “Extremis” on Netflix)
  • Attend workshops, classes, lectures in your community about death and dying

EMOTIONAL:

  • Get your emotional “house in order” by reviewing your unfinished business – who do you need to forgive? What unhealed wounds are you carrying?
  • Work on practicing forgiveness now
  • Let go of old resentments
  • Make amends for your own errors in the past

SPIRITUAL:

  • Find meaning in life, no matter how difficult the circumstances of your life
  • Learn to live every moment and find joy and love wherever you go
  • Figure out what really matters to you and make sure you are living that every day
  • Face your fear of death to help you overcome all fears in your life and live with more joy

Thanks for supporting EOLU! I appreciate your listening – if you enjoy this content please leave a review on iTunes. Tune in next week for another fascinating episode!

Until then …

Face Your Fear              BE Ready               Love Your Life

karen-signature

Ep. 124 Graceful Passages: The Healing Power of Music with Gary Malkin

Learn from this Emmy-award winning composer how music is a form of “energy medicine” that can transform grief and the end-of-life experience.

PodcastMalkin

ALMalkincroppedIn this episode I share an interview with Gary Malkin, composer of the music for “Graceful Passages,” a CD used in hospices around the world to comfort the dying. Gary will discuss how music has the potential to heal on a physical, emotional and spiritual level and why healthcare should include the arts in the future.

Learn more at http://www.wisdomoftheworld.com

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS: 

A Year of Reading

You can still sign up for A Year of Reading Dangerously and join our online reading group. For the month of January 2018 we are reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Sign up below to receive email notifications each month and to join our stimulating conversation on Facebook and by live conference call.

https://mailchi.mp/karenwyattmd/yearofreading

Patreonbecome2xAs always, support for this podcast comes from my donation page at Patreon.com/eolu. Thank you to all of my current donors who are helping to keep this show and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air. Special thanks this week goes to Laurie Dinerstein-Kurs for increasing her pledge to the Platinum level! If you’d like to contribute (as little as $1 per month) go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

This week I welcome Emmy winning composer Gary Malkin to talk about his CD for end-of-life transitions: Graceful Passages.

Key takeaways from this interview include:

  • How Gary composed the music for Graceful Passages and where the inspiration came from
  • How music can be used as a tool that calls people to be fully present and can be very helpful in end-of-life scenarios
  • Why music is helpful in times of grief
  • Why we should look for music that is “life-enhancing” or “positive intention” to have a soothing effect and create a response of relaxation
  • Science is documenting that music and other art forms can increase heart coherence, cause the release of oxytocin (the “love hormone”) and enhance immune function
  • Why periods of silence are important and how deep breathing and soft toning can help bridge the fear of silence

Thanks for tuning in! You’ll find a new episode every Monday so be sure to come back. Leave a review on iTunes if you enjoy this kind of content!

Until next week remember:

Face Your Fear           BE Ready             Love Your Life

karen-signature