If you’ve ever experienced a panic attack, you know how scary and overwhelming they can be. It can feel like your system is being flooded with an uncontrollable amount of panic and anxiety, accompanied with a fear that it won’t stop.

The most common strategy that I see people try is the same one that usually makes attacks worse: trying to shut the uncomfortable feelings down. Instinctively, it makes total sense, right? Isn’t that the point? To make it stop, so you can find relief? Unfortunately, this method tends to work against our system’s natural way of functioning instead of with it.

What most people don’t realize is that uncomfortable feelings such as panic, anxiety, overwhelm and fear are the nervous system’s way of saying, “Hey! There’s a problem over here!” Remember, our nervous system’s job is to get ready to address a perceived threat—an emphasis on “perceived.” When we don’t pay attention, the alarm sounds louder (i.e. panic/anxiety feels bigger).

Fortunately, a somatic approach where you learn to tune into your body and your nervous system can be a very effective way of dealing with both panic attacks and anxiety attacks. The trick is learning how to do this effectively, which can include:

  • learning to tune into what your body is trying to tell you more frequently,
  • learning how to tune into your body when the feelings are smaller, and
  • knowing what is helpful to tune into and what will exacerbate it.

And the other bonus? These same skills support our mental health and personal growth in a myriad of other ways too.

I’d welcome an opportunity to meet with you to see if this approach could be a good fit for you to reach your mental health and personal growth goals.

Wishing you health and well-being,


Melanie Behrner
Associate Counsellor | Website | + posts

Melanie Behrner is a Registered Professional Counsellor (RPC #2175) registered with the Canadian Professional Counsellor’s Association (CPCA). She holds a diploma in Transpersonal Counselling Psychology from Clearmind International Institute, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Simon Fraser University and a certificate in Life Coaching...

View Melanie's biography and counselling schedule.