We all know how the story ends. 

Death is a universal, shared experience. Yet for many of us over age 45, death is an uncomfortable subject to ponder, and an even more uncomfortable topic of discussion. Different generations, however, view death differently, and we’re learning that younger generations face the issue and plan for it earlier than generations before. 

“Death positivity” is a movement that encourages people to talk openly and honestly about death. It’s about accepting death as a natural part of life and finding ways to make the most of the time we have.

Millennials are leading the way in the death positivity movement. They’re more likely than previous generations to talk about death openly, plan their own funerals, and choose alternative funeral arrangements.

Why are millennials the death-positive generation?The death positive generation, millennials aren't scared of death.

Millennials exhibit a distinctive approach toward death and dying, shaped by several factors. Their unique relationship with death primarily stems from their upbringing in the digital era. As the first generation to grow up with the Internet, millennials have been regularly exposed to images and stories of death from a young age. This has not only made them more comfortable with discussing death, but it has also helped them recognize its inevitability. The ease with which they talk about and accept death reflects a deeper understanding and acceptance of life’s transient nature.

This generation’s openness to new ideas further reinforces their death-positive stance. Unlike their predecessors, millennials are more inclined to question traditional norms and values, including those surrounding death. This attitude is evident in their willingness to explore alternative funeral arrangements and diverse grieving practices. They are not bound by conventional methods, showing a readiness to embrace varied cultural and personal approaches to death. Ultimately, their flexibility and openness indicate a broader shift in societal attitudes towards death and mourning.

Millennials’ strong social consciousness also plays a crucial role in their more open approaches toward death. As a generation more concerned with social justice and environmental issues, their choices around death reflect these values. For instance, they show a preference for eco-friendly funeral options and are more likely to consider organ donation, demonstrating a commitment to making choices that have positive social and environmental impacts. This heightened awareness and concern for the broader implications of their choices underscore the depth and thoughtfulness with which millennials approach death.

The Benefits of Death Positivity for All of Us 

In recent years, the way millennials approach and discuss death has undergone a significant transformation, largely influenced by social media. Social media platforms have revolutionized communication, making it easier for individuals to discuss sensitive topics such as death openly and authentically. These digital spaces have given rise to numerous online communities where people share experiences of death and grief, fostering a sense of solidarity and understanding. This has dispelled taboos surrounding death, encouraging more honest and meaningful conversations.

The death-positive movement as a whole has benefited from social media, too. Gaining momentum through efforts of activists and authors, notably figures such as American mortician and author Caitlin Doughty, this movement has significantly raised awareness about the importance of discussing death. It has empowered individuals with resources and knowledge, enabling them to make more-informed decisions regarding end-of-life care.

 

Millennials are the death positive generation.

Finally, personal experiences, often including the loss of a loved one or a close friend, have shaped millennials’ perspectives on mortality. These encounters with death have heightened their awareness of the importance of proactive discussions about the inevitable, propelling them to take charge of their own end-of-life planning.

 

Millennials’ death positivity stems from a confluence of factors—a digital upbringing, a proclivity for challenging norms, a deep-seated social consciousness and the influence of a growing movement advocating for open conversations about death. As the death-positive generation, millennials are rewriting the script on how society thinks about life’s final chapter.

If you’re death curious, follow my Facebook page to watch for upcoming Death Cafe dates. A Death Cafe is like an open house, giving millennials and people of all generations the opportunity to talk.