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Autonomic nervous system (ANS) — The part of the nervous system that supplies nerve endings in the blood vessels, heart, intestines, glands, and smooth muscles, and governs their involuntary functioning. The autonomic nervous system is responsible for the biochemical changes involved in experiences of anxiety.

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Actually, behavioral research shows that some people learn to control it very well... look, for example at some branches of Buddhism, where there are monks who have learned to slow their heart rates down amazingly slow. Others have learned to change their response to external temperatures, and nearly naked outdoors in subfreezing, are able to sustain their body and skin temperatures overnight, wearing wet sheets. Those are extreme examples, but anyone who's had training in biofeedback has the potential to control heart rate, blood pressure, startle, etc.

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So basically to learn to calm the body and keep it in that state as much as possible and create a lifestyle where we can maintain that level of calmness even if that means controlling our lives and exposure we can manage the levels to a certain degree of sympathetic involvement and triggering of anxiety reactions-unless there is some other imbalance in the body that triggers the system.

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I kind of look at it from a view of the body being put in a situation where the ANS is put into action out of necessity. If that's the case, then there is no way to control that. Like when my glucose goes low, my brain is DEMANDING more glucose and the ANS is activated to do that. I understand what MightyMouse is talking about, but there are ANS situations we have no control over.

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I can sometimes use the meditation techniques I have learned to help me get some temporary relief from my adrenaline surges. They come back gradually within about an hour of stopping the meditation so it's not a long term fix (or maybe I'm just not that skilled of a meditator.) But, if I'm having a particularly bad day of surges and just need a break, I will do it sometimes. It also slows my heart rate. I haven't been able to achieve any relief from the GI issues with it.

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Since developing POTS, I notice that I'm much more willing to let others take the lead in situations, I spend more time listening than talking, and I have to practice focusing on positive and thankful thinking. Sometimes I have no control over what my body decides to do, but often I can head off a bad flare if I can take some time to put myself in a peaceful state. For me, I do this with prayer and offering thanks. While our mental health is not usually the cause of autonomic problems, it can often contribute to their severity.

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