Hyowon Healing Center in South Korea offers an extremely niche service that has seen more than 25,000 participants to date: Living Funerals. The popularity of Living Funerals (or Mock Funerals) at first seems startling, but participants report coming out on the other side with a better appreciation of their lives.
The experience has participants write their last will and testament, don a burial shroud, and lie down in a coffin - which is then closed for up to 10 minutes. The motives for participating in a Living Funeral vary - some face terminal illnesses, while others are sent by their employers as a sort of motivational benefit. South Korea ranked #33 (out of 40 countries surveyed) on the OECD Better Life index. The country performed above average in some areas, such as civic engagement and education, but well below average in subjective well-being, social connections and work-life balance. High suicide rates and mounting pressures both socially and professionally may be some of the reasons why Living Funerals have gained popularity in the country.
So, is it possible to improve the way one experiences life by simulating one’s death? According to many of the reviews, the answer is a resounding yes.
Image by Sharon McCutcheon