International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology

Learning to Live through Death

David F. Carreño

University of Almería

Abstract

The present paper addresses two aims. Firstly, it provides an approach to the
psychological process of dying and how to live meaningfully through the last
moments of life. Dying is framed from an existential positive perspective based on
Frankl’s and Wong’s theories of meaning in life. These theories propose self transcendence as the central element of meaning in life. Therefore, the cultivation of self-transcendence when facing death is presented as the best psychological tool against death anxiety. Secondly, the paper focuses on the utility of death awareness to live meaningfully even when we are not dying. A combination of evidence and personal examples are provided to support this approach. Finally, our existential positive research project with cancer patients and undergraduates at the University of Almeria (Spain) is introduced.

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