According to studies, thinking about death may actually help you become more productive and successful in life, especially in sports.

An experiment on the basketball court

According to a study from the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, researchers at the University of Arizona profiled various basketball players to study their views on death. In one of the experiments put on by the researchers, players were asked to fill out a questionnaire and then play a game of basketball. The findings allege that those who filled out the questionnaire, which asked questions about personal feelings over death, had an approximate 40 percent improvement in their game.

In another study, the players were asked to play a game while one of the researchers was visibly wearing skeleton-themed clothing, with symbols culturally associated with death, in the same room. Compared to players without said variable, as the clothing was only exposed to half the players, there was reportedly a 30 percent improvement in performance during the game.

The findings support the Terror Management Theory

The study was intended to focus on the Terror Management Theory, which concerns“striving for self-esteem” and accomplishing our goals and legacies in life, according to researcher Uri Lifshin, who served as a co-leader for the study.

The study alleges that exposing players to the reality of death actually causes a pro-active reaction, essentially giving the people exposed an unconscious desire to defeat death, and further alleges that producing self-esteem helps to make death not seem so problematic.

In other words, the players became more pro-active because they develop a subconscious “chance for immortality. “ Added to that, said self-esteem can help people believe that they are part of something bigger than themselves.

The researchers hope that the study could be used for more than just athletic pursuits.

Itis hoped that the findings can also be used to help people become more productive in their professional lives as well.

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