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.


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!!


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


Author: kwyattmd

Karen Wyatt MD is a family physician who has spent much of her 25 year medical career working with patients in challenging settings, such as hospice, nursing homes and indigent clinics. She is interested in a spiritual approach to medicine, illness, death and dying and is the author of two books. Check out her website at www.karenwyattmd.com

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