Having a fear of life is a real mindset. While some people fear death, others actually fear life.

The fear of death is easy to understand. After all, no one really wants to die. Understanding the fear of life, however, may sound like some silly notion.

The fear of life is basically the fear of living a bold life. Most people who live in this fear are afraid to take important steps and risks that could possibly improve their lives. Thus, they live separate from most aspects of society.

Do you have a fear of life?

Sometimes a person can have a fear of life and never know it. It’s true. Defense mechanisms can shield you from life so much that you build thick walls keeping family or other loved ones out, not to mention the whole of society. Here are a few ways to tell if you or someone you love has this fear.

1. Sicknesses

Those who have a fear of life are more prone to illnesses and disease. This is because of increased stress which comes from the fear. Even though you might not recognize many of your fears, they are still there working on you from the inside and making you weaker.

This stress hinders the healing process, not only in your mind but also the healing of your body as well. Sicknesses such as cancer, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, and heart disease can all come from this stress, and basically from the fear of life.

2. You’re settling

When you have a fear of life, you often settle for simple expectations. Although these realistic expectations may seem logical, they are quite limiting. Those who really live life to the fullest will live for their dreams and never accept a compromise to their morals and beliefs either.

Chasing dreams does not fall under settling for the next best thing. No, chasing dreams requires conquering the fear of living and the fear of experiencing failures. Remember, failures are there to teach us things. The fear of life hinders those lessons.

3. You say no when you should say yes

Instead of taking a leap into something you really want, you will say no and remain where you are. Although saying no keeps you comfortable, it will also limit your potential. You will neither succeed nor fail as long as you keep saying no to the yearnings of your heart.

For instance, part of you may want to take art lessons, but the other part of you who loves to say “no” will argue that you aren’t creative enough. That’s rubbish and you know it. You should follow your heart.

4. You say yes when you mean no

On the flip side, you can also say yes way too much to things you really don’t want to do. It’s good to say yes to the things you desire, but it’s not that great to say yes to things that people “hang over your head”.

To clarify: A friend asks you to take them to run errands, but you have a deadline of your own. If you cannot find time for both, then you have to choose your deadline. Saying yes to your friend can be detrimental to your projects and jobs which have deadlines.

Some people will make you feel guilty for saying no, but learn to say no anyway. It will change your life and eliminate a bit of the fear of life as well.

5. Substance abuse

One of the first signs you will recognize when someone has a fear of life is substance abuse. What alcoholism, drug abuse and other addictions have in common is they are formed by the need to be numb. The problems of the world have become too intense and you have backed into a corner with your bottle of whiskey.

Instead of facing things head on and moving forward, you are choosing to escape into an unreality, a world created for comfort alone. While life is supposed to be about the good and the bad, adventures and failures, to you, life has become a series of drug-induced highs.

Even if the addictions are caffeine or sugar, you still use them as a mood elevator instead of getting to the root of the problem.

6. Procrastination

If you have a fear of life, you will put off important things until later. In fact, you will do this continually until you have accrued a backlog of duties that were never done.

Your life will be on pause basically because you never seem to get to the truly important aspects of life. After some time, beware, your life will start to fall apart because of the things you haven’t done.

7. You try to control everything

A fear of life shows through when you try to micromanage. You know how you always want things to go your way or you refuse to go at all? Yeah, that’s a form of control formed by your fears of bad things happening.

You think you can stop all the negative aspects of life simply by controlling every aspect of your personal life. This is not true. No matter how hard you try to control everything, something will happen to shake you up. This is the universe’s way to reminding you that you’re not really in control after all.

Overcoming the fear of life

It will not be easy to overcome the fear of life, I will just be honest with you. It will take some hard work and some unteaching of the things you have engrained in your soul. From childhood, every failure and disappointment has caused you to pull away from life a bit at a time, hoping desperately that your walls could keep the future hurts and pains away.

Unfortunately, by doing this, you have damaged your ability to bounce back. Your nerves are shot from always being afraid. So, even though this will be a battle, let’s take it one step at a time.

Today, and for days afterward, do something that scares you. It can be small at first but just do it. Over time, you will feel yourself coming back out of your hiding place and enjoying the warmth of the light again. You can do it, and so can I.


  1. https://tinybuddha.com
  2. https://www.mindbodygreen.com

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This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Pang Angh

    Hi, sherrie..
    Is pessimistic also a symptom of fear of life. Because I used to be obsessed with precaution out of fear.

    1. Sherrie


      Yes, pessimism or negativity makes us see the worst in any given situation. When we look ahead with a bit of bravery, this fear of life can cause us to halt, think about all the things that can go wrong, and then decide against what we were trying to be brave for. I have times where I am so afraid, that the simple act of going out to dinner is horrifying. I was hurt so many times that even the most simple of pleasures strikes fear in my heart. Take heed, yes, being negative will definitely cause the fear of life to grow….larger than you could ever believe.

      1. Pang Angh

        Thank you, Sherrie.. I shall take a note of your words. You are beautiful inside- out. Looking forward to learn more from you.

        1. Sherrie

          Thank you, Pang. You are beautiful as well.

  2. Cecilia nganga

    More educative

  3. John

    Hello Sherrie, I wish that I had these words of advice as a much younger me.
    I am fortunate as I have made some steps out of my comfort zone, and as a result beat back feelings of depression and feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders at times.
    Now I always try to remember to put my mask on first, and when I come to a Y in the road, listen to my heart.))

    I would also like to say how much I enjoyed and benefited from reading The Power of Misfits, I convinced two friends to also read it, Thumbs up, !!

  4. Paul Miller

    Well said… Thank you… I will incorporate these thoughts in my teachings to my Sangha…p

  5. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

    I must make a correction first off. The Power of Misfits was written by Anna, not me. She is a talented person who has tapped into the gifted areas of the introvert. Her book is amazing and I recommend it to everyone.

    Thank you for reading. I also wish I knew back then what I know now. But then again, I may not have certain people in my life if I’d lived any differently. Take care.

  6. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

    Thank you for reading, Paul.

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