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Working Through Anxiety and Grief with Michelle Shlafman



Anxiety and Grief with Michelle Shlafman


On this episode, I'm joined by Michelle Shlafman, a holistic psychotherapist and coach who has been practicing in the field of mind-body-spirit healing for 10 years. She has a passion for helping clients process grief and anxiety, and I'm really excited to share our conversation with you.


Grief is not a subject I've talked a lot about on the podcast, but is such a important topic, and has such an intertwined relationship with anxiety. I've been wanting to have this conversation, so when I came across Michelle I knew she was the right person to do this with.


Defining Grief


Grief can be really hard to recognize or even explain, so I wanted to start our conversation by digging a little deeper into what we mean by grief.


Michelle describes grief as a deep, visceral experience, that really allows our body to move through difficult life events. It's helpful to remember it's not just about losing a loved one; it could be losing a job, a relationship, or even your favorite shirt. It stirs up all sorts of feelings—sadness, anger, acceptance. Basically, if you feel, you'll go through grief at some point.


Anxiety & Grief


Anxiety and grief are often intertwined, intensifying each others affects. Anxiety can increase when a person is already grieving, and grief can intensify anxiety symptoms, forming a sort of feedback loop. It can be tricky when these feelings blend together, and it can be a really confusing and overwhelming time.


Grief can mimic symptoms of nervous system dysregulation, like those associated with fight, flight, freeze or fawn responses, so it makes sense when grief manifests into physical symptoms, which can look different from person to person.

Michelle believes the nervous system holds all of our experiences, like a blueprint to our lives, and talks about the importance of moving grief from the mind into the body through the nervous system. This helps the process of adjusting to loss, allowing the mind and body to get to know each other's experiences of grief.


Like in anxiety recovery, staying only in the intellectual/mental space of grief without connecting it to physical sensations prevents us from processing and releasing what we feel. Michelle explains how it can be helpful to release grief physically, through movement, meditation and touch, to relieve symptoms and thoughts associated with trying to suppress or fight grief.


Community & Finding Support


Grief can feel super isolating, and whilst we all will have our own unique experiences and journeys when navigating grief, finding community and connection with others who have experienced similar losses can truly help alleviate the isolation of grief.


The feeling of belonging to a shared experience can be a real game changer, showing us we are not alone, and it's often in this space where healing starts to happen. Grief doesn't follow a linear timeline, and there are so many layers to move through, but doing this with support behind you can make all the difference.


Grief is a complex process that looks different for everyone. Honoring where you're at, feeling your emotions physically, and practicing self-compassion are important parts of healing. Make sure to tune into the full episode for lots more wisdom, insights, and practical tips. Remember, it's the small steps that will take us where we want to be. Keep taking healthy action, friend.



Michelle Shlafman, Holistic Psychotherapist & Coach


 

Feeling like you've tried everything but you're still struggling with lots of anxious thoughts, symptoms, panic attacks, and fears? Take my FREE 60-minute masterclass today and learn 5 shifts that will actually help you to overcome anxiety, panic disorder, and agoraphobia. And I promise, you won't hear any of the usual stuff from me - like doing breathing exercises, grounding practices, cutting out caffeine, and doing more exposures. Let's get you the peace and freedom you deserve without it being so hard!


Learn about my masterclasses here - driving anxiety, toilet anxiety, airplane anxiety, overcoming the symptoms and panic attacks



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