Funeral, burial, grave, loss and other words related to death ignite survival mode in our brains, viewing death as an event that can only happen to other people. Although it is hard to admit, end-of-life preparations help ease these feelings of uncertainty. Selecting the right life insurance policy and beneficiaries for you and your loved ones is a great first step toward providing stability for the future.
Why is life insurance important?
When driving, there is no action required by the driver to activate or use the airbags. Aside from wearing your seatbelt (which is always a good idea), airbags provide an additional form of security as you travel. Life insurance works the same way! Without scrambling or stressing, you can relax knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of after you’re gone.
Yes, you may have life insurance through your employer, but it may not be enough. Most of these policies will cover funeral costs and immediate needs, but payments like mortgage, debt and legacy planning are not always included. Most employer-based life insurance policies generally do not continue if you no longer work for the company. Look into this plan to ensure that it provides the right amount of coverage for your family.
So, why is life insurance hard to discuss?
While it may sound depressing, properly discussing death with your loved ones can reduce stress levels and lead to other long-term benefits. Starting the conversation is the hardest part. We searched the web for psychological reasons why our brains reject conversations related to death. Knowing these reasons will help us understand and work through these uncomfortable conversations about life insurance.
What is going on inside our brains?
Our brains are constantly gaining and storing knowledge to be used one day in the face of danger as a survival mechanism. Despite your brain’s impressive ability to predict, there is one thing it cannot quite grasp and that is our own deaths.
Psychological studies have been conducted that show when subjects are faced with their own death, their brain’s ability to predict shuts down. In other words, the brain refuses to acknowledge that your own death is unavoidable.
Why does this make talking about life insurance so hard?
As soon as you start shopping for life insurance, it is inevitable to imagine not only yourself dead, but life after your death for your family as well. Your brain cannot “compute” this reality. As the brain’s ability to predict decreases, it becomes more difficult to process and accept our own mortality. Some of the first things you are asked to consider when buying life insurance include how much you owe on your mortgage and how much income you want to provide for your beneficiary(ies) after your death. Imagining yourself dead combats the inherent wiring of your brain. No wonder talking about life insurance is uncomfortable!
So, how can we make these hard conversations easier?
Talking about death with family members is different for all of us. Every person brings a unique perspective and experience to the conversation. You can’t copy and paste a script; rather, the dialogue should be personal, thoughtful and filled with empathy. Listen for natural openings in the conversation to bring up these difficult topics. Sometimes you may need to initiate the conversation in order for it to happen. Arrange a suitable place and time and have a plan for what you want to say. Another way to start the conversation is by asking about other people’s experiences. Sharing experiences promotes comfort and connection, making it easier to discuss heavy topics. Be sure to listen actively to the other person’s story and listen for cues to ask related questions. Maintaining eye contact is another way to show that you are present and attentive to the conversation.
Death is a hard topic to digest. It causes many people to feel concerned and uncomfortable. The more we understand how our brains are wired, the more comfortable we can feel knowing that we are not alone. Purchasing a life insurance policy doesn’t have to be a cumbersome task. Being prepared will help ease your mind and provide you and your loved ones greater confidence for the future.
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