It may come as a shock to most, but nary a day passes where I don't think about death. Oh, it's not part of a regimen; it just happens naturally. Of course, I wasn't always like this, nor am I so old that one should think the grim reaper was nigh. Moreover, while it may sound morbid, I consider it a gift.
In fact, a goodly percentage of the world's problems are a result of people's failure to contemplate their end, for it is only death that places life in perspective. In other words, it's hard to get too wrapped up in the worldly when you're thinking heavenly thoughts about your final destination.
For instance, it's very common to become so consumed by ambition that it becomes one's religion. It may be a career, sport, art, money, power or something else; whatever it is, though, it's easy to place it at the center of your life and make it larger than life. But when death figures prominently in the equation, one will probably realize what is truly important.
It really is a question of what you're working toward. If a child lives only for the moment, without consideration of his future, he will play and spend his entire time indulging frivolous pursuits (which is why children have parents); this is what we call a misspent youth. But if his future responsibilities -- college, career, family, earning a living, etc. -- factor into the equation, he will know what he should be doing now to prepare. You have to know what your ultimate goal is before you can understand what's truly important and what will help you reach that goal.
So it is with death. Most people live their lives as if they will live forever in this world, even though they know this isn't so. Thus, like an undirected child, they often elevate the relatively frivolous and are blissfully unaware of what they should be doing in this material fold. That's how it works when you lose sight of your final destination.
And this partially explains the misbehavior of so many of God's children. When I hear about a politician or judge caught up in a bribery scandal, a businessman embezzling funds or defrauding others, or some other example of unethical behavior, I know that the person must be very much "of this world." Why, he can't take that money, power or status with him, and if he had pondered his ultimate demise more, he might have paved the way for his worldly demise less.
Then, man tends to put so much pressure on himself. We may agonize over whether or not we'll get that promotion, raise or contract; whether we'll pass the test or win the game. Will we carry the day? When death is real to you, though, these endeavors may not seem so important, and the pressure suddenly may not seem so great. It really is a relief.
As to this, I remember a story about a student who committed suicide because he was fearful that he wouldn't pass muster in his very demanding academic setting (I believe this was in Japan). It's sad, of course. But it occurs to me that if he had pondered his death more, he might not have met with it so soon.