Memento Mori Meaning: Why Embracing Death Will Free You 

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If you have searched “memento mori meaning” looking for a simple explanation of what it means and how you can incorporate it into your everyday life, this is the article for you.  

Learning about memento mori is going to have lasting positive effects on you and your life, and by the end of this article, you will know why embracing death can help you lead a happier life.  

Let’s get right into it and take a look at what memento mori means and why it is so powerful.  

What is The Official Memento Mori Meaning? 

The official memento mori meaning is “remember that you will die”.  

This may seem a little morbid to some, but as you are going to find out in this article, keeping death in mind can have a plethora of benefits.  

The memento mori origin came from ancient Rome.  

When commanders would return to Rome after a victory in combat, people would go out to the streets and sing their songs and praise them. 

However, while in their glamorous chariots getting praise, the generals would get slaves to stand by them and whisper memento mori into their ears.  

This was set up voluntarily by the generals, as the dangers of becoming prideful can easily lead to one losing their edge. 

There are also other time periods in history where memento mori shows up – it even played an important role in early Christianity.

There’s also another memento mori phrase that not many people know about – “memento mori memento vivere”. 

The memento mori memento vivere meaning roughly translates to “remember you must die, so remember to live”.  

This phrase is not as popular as memento mori, but it is worth showcasing how it got adapted for other uses.  

Why Embracing Death Can Reduce Worry & Make You Happier 

At first glance, reminding ourselves that we are going to die can seem incredibly morbid. 

Most people avoid thinking about death their entire lives – talking about death is even taboo in the western hemisphere.  

However, the truth of the matter is this; embracing memento mori can reduce stress and anxiety, make you happier, and change your perspective on life as a whole. 

The Small Things No Longer Matter 

Once you begin to contemplate your own death, all of the small things in life tend not to matter as much. 

Got a work presentation that you are absolutely dreading? This is nothing in comparison to death. 

Worried that you don’t make enough money? Well in sixty years, this problem will take care of itself.  

This can reduce anxiety and stress in everyday life, and all of the things you once worried about will suddenly seem not as important.  

Of course, you will still have worries and fears. 

This is just normal. 

However, the impact they have on your life will be diminished.  

Allows You to Appreciate the Time You Have Left  

There is one quote that has always stood out to us at MovingForwards:  

“Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now take what’s left and live it properly.”

Marcus Aurelius   

This is an interesting idea, and it is one that allows us to truly value our lives and the time we have left. 

By considering yourself as already dead (we are all terminally ill in a sense – we are all going to die), life becomes much more enjoyable. 

You begin to see things from a brand-new perspective. 

No longer are you rushing to the finish line – now you take the time to enjoy yourself along the way. 

Taking this approach to life can be incredibly freeing, and it can make you much happier as a whole.  

Memento Mori is More Than Just Accepting Death  

It’s also worth noting that memento mori is not only about accepting death – it’s about understanding life.  

It’s not just you that is going to die – it is everything and everyone. This gives you an insight into how the world works. 

While everything feels important to us right now, even major world events are just little bumps in the timeline. 

The span of time and the universe is so vast, and in comparison, we are infinitely small.  

The same things are happening now that were happening a thousand years ago – people trying to build wealth, wars that threaten to demolish entire civilisations, jealousy, anger, happiness – it has all happened a million times over.  

We truly are a small speck in the grand scheme of things. In just a hundred years, everything you know and everyone you love will be gone.  

Memento mori allows us to take a peek behind the curtain and discover what life really is.  

This isn’t a cause for sadness – it is a cause for celebration.  

Everything is in a constant state of transition, and without a firm foothold to stand on, the only option is to enjoy this strange thing we call life for as long as we are able. 

You might as well try and take the small amount of time we have left and try to make the world a better place.  

How To Apply Memento Mori in Your Own Life  

So, we know what memento mori means and how embracing it can benefit us, but how can we incorporate it into our own lives?  

 Well, for one, we need to change the way we think about death, or rather, think about it more often. 

It is perfectly okay to think about death – it is just a natural part of life.  

You are not going to bring on your own demise just by thinking about it.  

With time, you will begin to become more comfortable with the thought of death, and your worries and anxiety will begin to dissipate in turn.  

However, the truly important part of memento mori is remembering it even during tough times. 

When you fall ill or a friend or family member passes away, you need to remember that death is not necessarily a bad thing. 

All things die – it is not anything embarrassing or bad per se.   

It’s also a good idea to think about not only your own death, but about how small of a role you play in the world.  

Even a huge event in your own life will not even be a blip on the overall timeline – in a hundred years, everyone who knew about it will also be gone.   

This is not supposed to be depressing; it’s just the natural order of things. 

By accepting death and realising how small we are in the grand scheme of things, you will experience less anxiety and stress, and you will be able to deal with tough times with a new stoic mindset.  

Memento Mori Meaning – FAQs  


What Does Memento Mori Mean?  

Memento mori is an ancient Roman saying that translates to “remember that you will die”. 

Its main uses are to ground us and remind us that we are mortal, and that we should make the most of the time we have left.  

What is The Memento Mori Meaning in Art? 

The memento mori meaning in art is to remind us that we are going to die.  

This feeling can be quite difficult to portray in art, which is why memento mori themed art is often adorned with skulls, dark colours, and bleak tones. 

Featuring memento mori in art can also make an art piece much more serious – it brings us back to reality and can even make us question if we are spending our time wisely.  

What is The Memento Mori Origin?  

The memento mori origin is dated back to ancient Rome. 

High-ranking generals and commanders would get slaves to stand in their chariots when returning from a victory on the battlefield and whisper memento mori in their ears while they were being praised on the streets. 

This reminded the generals that they were not immortal, and it stopped the praise from clouding their judgement.   

What is The Memento Mori Meaning in English? 

The memento mori meaning in English is “remember that you will die”. 

The original phrase was Latin, and it serves as a reminder to remind us of the bigger picture.  

We hope you will put the information in this article to use.  

Questions like “what does memento mori mean” as well as “what is a memento mori” are getting asked more and more, and for all intents and purposes, this is a good thing.  

Letting go and accepting how fragile we are as humans can allow us to get a better understanding of ourselves and the world.  

This can make life go much smoother, and you will find that rough times go by just that little bit easier.  

If you would like more information on stoicism or just more self-improvement advice in general, feel free to take a look through MovingForwards to view our other articles on the same topic.  

Explaining the memento mori meaning is just a fraction of what we have to offer.  

See you next time!