In Islam, as in all the great religions, remembering death allows us to keep a balanced perspective on life. To the extent we deny the reality and inevitability of death, we are likely to overvalue the transient things of this world.
There are many ways to remember death . . . Medieval philosophers often kept a skull on their desks as a memento mori, a reminder of death. A computer screen saver can serve as a modern version. A picture of a deceased relative, of a casket or gravestone can serve as a reminder that we are only here for a limited time.
For a week, make sure that you are reminded of death at least once a day. Notice how this reminder affects your daily attitudes and activities, and also how you feel at the end of the week.— Robert Frager in The Wisdom of Islam