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Do we become more fearful as we get older?

Maximus Optimus

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I find myself becoming more fearful as I age. I am 40 years old. im scared to offend people, im scared of dying one day, im afraid to get into a fight now cause I feel too old to be in a fight, i literally feel like a weak person mentally and physically. I never used to be like this when I was younger. How can I get my edge back or is this just part of getting older?
 

mrgoodstuff

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I find myself becoming more fearful as I age. I am 40 years old. im scared to offend people, im scared of dying one day, im afraid to get into a fight now cause I feel too old to be in a fight, i literally feel like a weak person mentally and physically. I never used to be like this when I was younger. How can I get my edge back or is this just part of getting older?
You have to stay engaged in life. To many the 40's are their power years.
 

TheProspect

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Maximus Optimus

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Why?



Why?



Part of it is getting older and the reality aging brings to you, but what also plays a part is mindset and perspective (which is also affected by age).
Im scared to offend people because it seems like nowadays that offending anyone can lead to you getting killed. I see in the news people are getting killed over very small things.

Im scared of dying because life is all I know. i dont wanna be dead for eternity. Eternity is a very long time. It scares me down to the bones knowing that one day I wont exist. There isnt one day where I dont think about dying. I feel like in this life that im trapped in a building with no way out. Death gets us all. Its frightening.
 

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TheProspect

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Im scared to offend people because it seems like nowadays that offending anyone can lead to you getting killed. I see in the news people are getting killed over very small things.

Im scared of dying because life is all I know. i dont wanna be dead for eternity. Eternity is a very long time. It scares me down to the bones knowing that one day I wont exist. There isnt one day where I dont think about dying. I feel like in this life that im trapped in a building with no way out. Death gets us all. Its frightening.
It seems your fear is ultimately death.

The other fears you listed in your OP are all concerned with you being harmed and your body & mind degrading, of which these indicate to you that you are dying or death that could be a consequence. Other threads you have created lately also show this fear.

I'm going to assume you are having trouble with accepting your death, hence your fear and preoccupation with it...

---

I bet you are most fearful of being dead after you spend time dwelling on the thought of the apparent eternity of nothingness that you think that will occur after death, or similar patterns of thinking that stoke this fear. This fear is triggered exclusively by thoughts.

When a gun is suddenly pointed at you, or you feel yourself trip on your shoelace near the edge of a cliff, you probably will feel instant fear that shoots adrenaline through your body and as your body naturally responds to a threat to its immediate well-being. Failure for your body to respond quickly means death. This fear is triggered by largely by your environment and instinctual conditioning.

So, we have the fear of your death and/or well-being being triggered both by thoughts, but also your environment & conditioning...

Environment & instinctual fear:
If you ever get a gun unexpectedly pointed at your face, or you get thrown off a building, you are going to experience your body instantly & instinctively responding to that stimuli. There is not much you can do about that. You can alleviate some of that fear by training, for example being a special forces soldier you may be more conditioned emotionally to handle a gun pointed at you, or being a skydiver or base jumper, you may be more conditioned to the sensation of those initial butterflies of free-falling, etc. But most people don't receive training nor have the natural proclivity to suppress such instinctive fear. This fear for the most part is there to keep you alive -- you have it because of natural selection. You want it to be there. The problem is when it becomes more of a mental phobia...

Mental fear:
When you think about being dead for an eternity of nothingness, you are thinking. Your body responds to those thoughts and experiences fear -- heartbeat rapidly increases and becomes perceptible, perspiration occurs, panic & dread is felt, etc. Your body's overwhelming response to a certain thought pattern (eternity of nothingness, etc) than elicits more thoughts about your eventual death, producing more fear as a defence mechanism to keep you alive -- it focuses and zeroes on what is stimulating the fear, which in this case, is the quality of thoughts in your mind at that moment. Focusing on your fearful thoughts produces more fearful thoughts. Identifying with your thoughts, you realize that your life is finite and you become attached to it and afraid to lose it, you realize that any moment death can come unexpectedly in an instant, more fear kicks in -- fear of physical threat, fear of your body deteriorating, fear of aging, fear of loss, etc. This mental fear seems to be the fear in question for you.

As you get older, your impending and inevitable death becomes more real to you. Each day lived is another day closer to the unknown void of apparent eternal oblivion (See the thought pattern that can stimulate fear of death here?). As a kid and as a teenager, death as a reality is perceived as so far away that it doesn't preoccupy the mind's of most people that young -- I'm not going to die today, or for at least another 50+ years, why worry about it?.

More on my next post...
 

TheProspect

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To reiterate, this mental fear of death is simply caused by your thoughts. To eliminate this fear, or to at least mitigate it so it doesn't constantly impact your life, you have to get rid of those thoughts. In order to do this, assuming you do not believe in an after-life, you have two choices:

1) Distract your mind. Give it something to do. Stay busy, create a purpose, have & work towards goals, do things you enjoy. Your internal monologue cannot resort to contemplating death if you are doing things. At night, you may left alone with your thoughts and this is when the fear usually arises. Stay busy and exercise hard so you're tired at night. Practice meditation to help you become more mindful of when those fearful patterns of thinking creep up on you. The moment you begin to feel the fear or go down the rabbit hole of fearful thinking that produces this dread of death, rationalize yourself out of it (See point 2). If you're unable to, give yourself a task to do -- go for a walk, listen to a podcast, clean the house, etc.... just give your mind something else to do.

2) Rationalize your fear away. This is easier said than done, but basically use logic to demonstrate why your fear is pointless or unnecessary. Here are some thought patterns I've come up with that may help:
- "I did not exist before I was alive to experience death, I will not exist after I'm alive to experience it neither. My non-existence before I was alive did not feel like an eternity of nothingness, so my non-existence after I'm alive won't feel like an eternity of nothingness either. It is only the attention of my mind itself conceptualizing an eternity of nothingness that frightens me."
- "My mind produces thoughts of death. Thoughts of death produce a mental fear of death. When I die, my mind ceases to exist. I will not experience this fear. I will not experience death. It is doesn't make sense to live life fearing what I will not experience."
- "During surgery, I don't recall the timeframe I lost consciousness under anesthesia. I didn't recall losing consciousness, I just remember regaining it (translate to: I don't recall being dead before I was alive, I just remember being alive). Losing consciousness didn't feel like nothingness, not even for a moment. The days leading up to the surgery I could have lived fearfully as to what may happen during anesthesia, or I could have went upon my daily life as is. In either case, losing consciousness & my mind didn't feel like darkness nor nothingness, and it wouldn't make sense to live fearfully if it doesn't ultimately change anything."
- "I don't remember being 3 months old. I don't even remember being 2 years old. I had a mind to be conscious then, and I was conscious, but yet I still don't have any recall of my experience of that time. If I extended that to the rest of my life up until this very thought, how much would that inconvenience me? Probably not at all, because memories are just thoughts. If I extended that to my death and non-existence, the same would apply... I just wouldn't be able to recall my entire life. I wouldn't even have a mind anymore to recall I couldn't recall.
- "Under anesthesia, I didn't experience anesthesia -- there was no active mind to experience the loss of consciousness nor the state of no-consciousness. I couldn't experience fear of anesthesia nor could I recall my life before I went under. I recall regaining consciousness, but I don't recall losing it. When I eventually lose consciousness come death, I will not experience death nor the state of non-existence. I couldn't experience non-existence before I was alive, and I will not experience non-existence after I die nor the fear of non-existence."
- and any other rationalization that helps. The ones that I shared help me. Others include: appreciating life while one is alive, applying meaning & urgency to life (fear of death vs fear of not living life to its fullest), etc.

Rationalizing your fear away can be very difficult.
For many people it doesn't work, or doesn't always work (rationalization is largely just really another distraction, replacing one thought pattern with another), at which point you would either need to go back to distracting your mind some other way, or adopt a religion or some sort form of belief that quells your fear of being dead.... You really don't have any other options...

And if you don't have any other options, and you have no power to change anything, you might as well accept death. The same way a very short man should accept his height -- accept it because obsessing over it literally changes nothing except for reducing the quality of your life by psychologically tormenting yourself.

---

At the end of the day, anything you cling to because you're afraid to lose it will manifest fear in your life... be it a relationship, possessions, money, or life itself. It will impact your ability to live a fruitful and meaningful life...

And if you think living a meaningful life is ultimately pointless because it doesn't matter in the end because of death, then let's assume you're right and it really doesn't matter after you die. It probably doesn't. However, living a meaningful life does matter at one point in time, and that point is this moment. Now.

Mental fear and this moment cannot co-exist -- fear requires a psychological time perception of the future. When you are fearful, you are not present in this moment. As you've grown older @Maximus Optimus, you've grown more fearful because you've become less present. Your mind/attention is in the future. When the "future" arrives, it will be occur in this moment, a future now.

If you spent the rest of how many days of life you have left maximizing your presence, living in this moment, you will simultaneously minimize your time spent mentally living in the future experiencing fear.

For the sake of your psychological well-being, while you're alive I recommend living life moment-by-moment to the best of your ability, with obvious practical exceptions (getting to work on time, the compound effect of a hedonistic lifestyle, etc).
 

Bible_Belt

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I find myself becoming more fearful as I age. I am 40 years old...im afraid to get into a fight now cause I feel too old to be in a fight
I'm 45 and feel like kicking your ass for being such a wussy. It's not your age, get over it.
 

Maximus Optimus

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To reiterate, this mental fear of death is simply caused by your thoughts. To eliminate this fear, or to at least mitigate it so it doesn't constantly impact your life, you have to get rid of those thoughts. In order to do this, assuming you do not believe in an after-life, you have two choices:

1) Distract your mind. Give it something to do. Stay busy, create a purpose, have & work towards goals, do things you enjoy. Your internal monologue cannot resort to contemplating death if you are doing things. At night, you may left alone with your thoughts and this is when the fear usually arises. Stay busy and exercise hard so you're tired at night. Practice meditation to help you become more mindful of when those fearful patterns of thinking creep up on you. The moment you begin to feel the fear or go down the rabbit hole of fearful thinking that produces this dread of death, rationalize yourself out of it (See point 2). If you're unable to, give yourself a task to do -- go for a walk, listen to a podcast, clean the house, etc.... just give your mind something else to do.

2) Rationalize your fear away. This is easier said than done, but basically use logic to demonstrate why your fear is pointless or unnecessary. Here are some thought patterns I've come up with that may help:
- "I did not exist before I was alive to experience death, I will not exist after I'm alive to experience it neither. My non-existence before I was alive did not feel like an eternity of nothingness, so my non-existence after I'm alive won't feel like an eternity of nothingness either. It is only the attention of my mind itself conceptualizing an eternity of nothingness that frightens me."
- "My mind produces thoughts of death. Thoughts of death produce a mental fear of death. When I die, my mind ceases to exist. I will not experience this fear. I will not experience death. It is doesn't make sense to live life fearing what I will not experience."
- "During surgery, I don't recall the timeframe I lost consciousness under anesthesia. I didn't recall losing consciousness, I just remember regaining it (translate to: I don't recall being dead before I was alive, I just remember being alive). Losing consciousness didn't feel like nothingness, not even for a moment. The days leading up to the surgery I could have lived fearfully as to what may happen during anesthesia, or I could have went upon my daily life as is. In either case, losing consciousness & my mind didn't feel like darkness nor nothingness, and it wouldn't make sense to live fearfully if it doesn't ultimately change anything."
- "I don't remember being 3 months old. I don't even remember being 2 years old. I had a mind to be conscious then, and I was conscious, but yet I still don't have any recall of my experience of that time. If I extended that to the rest of my life up until this very thought, how much would that inconvenience me? Probably not at all, because memories are just thoughts. If I extended that to my death and non-existence, the same would apply... I just wouldn't be able to recall my entire life. I wouldn't even have a mind anymore to recall I couldn't recall.
- "Under anesthesia, I didn't experience anesthesia -- there was no active mind to experience the loss of consciousness nor the state of no-consciousness. I couldn't experience fear of anesthesia nor could I recall my life before I went under. I recall regaining consciousness, but I don't recall losing it. When I eventually lose consciousness come death, I will not experience death nor the state of non-existence. I couldn't experience non-existence before I was alive, and I will not experience non-existence after I die nor the fear of non-existence."
- and any other rationalization that helps. The ones that I shared help me. Others include: appreciating life while one is alive, applying meaning & urgency to life (fear of death vs fear of not living life to its fullest), etc.

Rationalizing your fear away can be very difficult.
For many people it doesn't work, or doesn't always work (rationalization is largely just really another distraction, replacing one thought pattern with another), at which point you would either need to go back to distracting your mind some other way, or adopt a religion or some sort form of belief that quells your fear of being dead.... You really don't have any other options...

And if you don't have any other options, and you have no power to change anything, you might as well accept death. The same way a very short man should accept his height -- accept it because obsessing over it literally changes nothing except for reducing the quality of your life by psychologically tormenting yourself.

---

At the end of the day, anything you cling to because you're afraid to lose it will manifest fear in your life... be it a relationship, possessions, money, or life itself. It will impact your ability to live a fruitful and meaningful life...

And if you think living a meaningful life is ultimately pointless because it doesn't matter in the end because of death, then let's assume you're right and it really doesn't matter after you die. It probably doesn't. However, living a meaningful life does matter at one point in time, and that point is this moment. Now.

Mental fear and this moment cannot co-exist -- fear requires a psychological time perception of the future. When you are fearful, you are not present in this moment. As you've grown older @Maximus Optimus, you've grown more fearful because you've become less present. Your mind/attention is in the future. When the "future" arrives, it will be occur in this moment, a future now.

If you spent the rest of how many days of life you have left maximizing your presence, living in this moment, you will simultaneously minimize your time spent mentally living in the future experiencing fear.

For the sake of your psychological well-being, while you're alive I recommend living life moment-by-moment to the best of your ability, with obvious practical exceptions (getting to work on time, the compound effect of a hedonistic lifestyle, etc).
Bravo The Prospect. Well said. That was one the best responses that I have ever read on this forum. Very thoughtful and informative. I appreciate that answer to the fullest. Im actually gonna copy and paste it to take it with me on my phone. On a side note do you think I can lessen or get rid of my fear by doing legal psychedelics in another country. Like with DMT or using weed consistently.
 

ThisIsSparta

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I find myself becoming more fearful as I age. I am 40 years old. im scared to offend people, im scared of dying one day, im afraid to get into a fight now cause I feel too old to be in a fight, i literally feel like a weak person mentally and physically. I never used to be like this when I was younger. How can I get my edge back or is this just part of getting older?
Dude.... look at all the threads you opened lately, you really have a problem with your age and should get professional help.

Until then, go to the gym, start lifting, join a Dojo/martial arts club and train, do manly stuff, stop being a soy-boy, DO THE THINGS! NOW!
 

bmp2cpm

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I’ll give my opinion here. I may be completely wrong, but…

1) By all your posts, I sense you had a difficult childhood. I believe you are still consistently employing skills from childhood that allowed you to survive being a child. Thing is, they are completely useless as and adult in your 40s. They are holding you back from being the man you were meant to be.

What I tell you to do here is incredibly difficult. I speak from experience on this one. Now is the time to face it. You are not getting any younger.

2) Know that in this world, if you occasionally p*as off people, you are doing something right. Women are attracted to men who lead and focus on succeeding. Men who walk constantly on eggshells are a big turnoff for all women.

3) Just about every kid or teen as taken some basic martial arts training. This gives you confidence. I’ve never been in a fight. But under the right circumstances, I would rather leave this world the same way I entered it, kicking and screaming. The alternative is constant, debilitating fear.

Learn basic self defense concepts.

4) Say what you want about religion, but it gives people good coping skills with the constant stresses of live. I sense you would benefit from additional coping skills.

5) Read some John Corey by Nelson Demille. Emulate John Corey. You won’t be sorry.

Best of luck!
 

PowerQuest

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I find myself becoming more fearful as I age. I am 40 years old. im scared to offend people, im scared of dying one day, im afraid to get into a fight now cause I feel too old to be in a fight, i literally feel like a weak person mentally and physically. I never used to be like this when I was younger. How can I get my edge back or is this just part of getting older?
WHY?
That´s just stupid.

Sorry dudebro, but it is just more or less retarded. Be bold and live your life because every second you have less of it.

This is something you chosen in your mind and has nothing to do with age.
 

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In2theGame

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I actually feel the opposite. I come to realize A LOT of things in society and life experiences we've gone through is all bullsh!t. Might be the lowering of testosterone that's causing these feelings.
 
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TheProspect

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On a side note do you think I can lessen or get rid of my fear by doing legal psychedelics in another country. Like with DMT or using weed consistently.
It's possible.

I've had personal experiences with psilocybin. Although psychedelics can definitely change the way you see things, I wouldn't necessarily recommend them to just anyone, nor would I suggest that they will certainly solve your problems or alleviate your fears.

Psychedelics have brought me the most amazing experience of my life, but also on a separate occasion the most traumatic experience of my life as well. You'll need to do your own research and determine if they're something you really want to try.

I recommend downloading the Waking Up app by Sam Harris and consuming all the content on the app regarding psychedelics. Alternatively, you can simply search "Sam Harris psychedelics" on YouTube, and I'm sure there will be a lot of informative videos on the subject.
 

corrector

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I find myself becoming more fearful as I age. I am 40 years old. im scared to offend people, im scared of dying one day, im afraid to get into a fight now cause I feel too old to be in a fight, i literally feel like a weak person mentally and physically. I never used to be like this when I was younger. How can I get my edge back or is this just part of getting older?
I'm vaccine hesitant.
 
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