Understanding the Autonomic Nervous System : A Guide for ADHD Enthusiasts

I’ve always been a curious soul, driven to understand the intricate dance between our body’s mechanisms and our brain’s eccentricities. This journey led me to the compelling relationship between the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). So, let’s unravel this fascinating tapestry together!

Introduction to the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)

At its core, the Autonomic Nervous System is an intricate network, ensuring our survival without us being consciously aware. Think about it – do you remind your heart to beat every second? Or command your stomach to digest food after a hearty meal? Thankfully, our ANS takes care of these tasks, acting as the silent puppeteer controlling our body’s automatic functions.

The Dance of Life: From Grazing to Escaping and Back

Ever observed the tranquility of a deer grazing in the wilderness? There it is, nibbling on fresh grass, ears twitching to the rhythm of nature’s orchestra. It’s in its ‘creation’ state – at peace, growing, and nourishing itself. But in the blink of an eye, this serenity can shift.

Imagine a rustle in the bushes, the shadow of a predator approaching. Instantly, the deer’s entire being switches to ‘survival mode’. Its heart rate spikes, muscles tense, and every sense is heightened. If it needs to bolt, it’s ready.

But here’s the remarkable bit: Once the threat has passed, the deer, after ensuring its safety, returns to its state of calm, back to grazing and being in the present moment.

We, humans, have a lot to learn from this elegant dance of nature. While our ancient ancestors had threats similar to the deer, in today’s world, our predators have transformed into looming deadlines, social pressures, or unexpected challenges. Like the deer, our bodies react, readying us for action. Energy is diverted to our extremities, preparing us to ‘fight or flight’.

However, unlike the deer, we often find it challenging to revert back to our ‘grazing’ state. Instead of letting go once the threat diminishes, we might ruminate on it, extending our time in ‘survival mode’. When this stress lingers, our Autonomic Nervous System can get trapped in this state, constantly diverting energy to our extremities and away from our vital organs. This prolonged stress isn’t just mentally taxing; it’s a drain on our physical well-being too.

Recognizing this, can’t we aspire to be more like the deer? Facing challenges head-on, yet knowing when to let go and return to our nurturing, creative state?

The Balance of Power: Sympathetic (Survival) vs. Parasympathetic (Creation)

Like the two sides of a coin, the ANS consists of two subsystems that keep our body’s equilibrium.

Sympathetic Nervous System: Your Body’s Fire Alarm (Survival)

Imagine you’re walking in a forest and suddenly spot a wild animal. Your heartbeat races, your pupils dilate, and your muscles tense up. That’s your sympathetic system jumping into action, priming you for a fight or flight response. It’s all about coping with emergencies or challenges. In this state, you are in Survival mode.

Parasympathetic Nervous System: Your Personal Spa Therapist (Creation)

After the perceived threat has passed, the parasympathetic system gently takes over. It calms your racing heart, relaxes your muscles, and restores your body to a peaceful state. It’s responsible for the “rest and digest” mode. In this state, you are in Creation, Growth and Repair mode.

Picture this: In every fleeting second, a metropolis of over 25 million cells springs to life within us. That’s like birthing nearly five New York Cities every minute, right inside our bodies! Steering this astonishing symphony is our silent guardian, the Autonomic Nervous System. It’s like the unsung maestro conducting an intricate ballet, ensuring our heartbeats maintain their rhythm and our organs dance to their natural tunes. Prepare to embark on a visual journey that showcases the wondrous, ceaseless marvels unfolding within us. Our bodies aren’t just biological; they’re truly divine masterpieces.

Introduction to Negative States Table

While life is full of moments that uplift us, it also brings situations that challenge our emotional and energetic equilibrium. Such negative states, though often uncomfortable, play a pivotal role in our growth and understanding of ourselves. In this table, we delve into these scenarios that might be perceived as negative or challenging, analyzing them in terms of emotions, brain activity, energy distribution, and more. This serves as a mirror to our inner reactions, helping us navigate and realign during trying times.

High Beta – Imagine driving through a dense fog with limited visibility. Everything’s a blur, and decisions become harder as the brain is incoherent, making systems incoherent. This mirrors what happens in our brains when constantly marinating in high beta brainwave states, often tied to acute stress. In this “fight or flight” mode, our body acts like a car revving its engine, prioritizing power to the wheels but neglecting other vital systems. Just as our car may struggle with air conditioning or radio functions during this intense drive, our body redirects energy from processes like digestion and immune responses, focusing instead on immediate survival. Over time, this constant state of high alert can leave our immune and digestive systems in the lurch. Think about it: isn’t it time we cleared the fog and steered our bodies to a more balanced path?

RankSceneLikely Triggered EmotionBrain WaveFrequency Range (Hz)Energy DistributionPosture/ImageryChakra(s)
Out of
1Overwhelm at WorkStress, AnxietyHigh Beta20-30Intense glow in headHunched over desk, papers everywhere, tense expressionSolar Plexus Chakra
Crown Chakra
2Social IsolationLoneliness, DepressionTheta4-8Dim, isolated glowAlone in a dark room, looking out of a windowHeart chakra
Solar Plexus Chakra
3Public SpeakingStress, AnxietyHigh Beta20-30Intense glow around head, chest, and stomachStanding on a stage, spotlight on, hesitant stanceThroat Chakra
Solar Plexus chakra
4Traumatic EventsShock, TraumaHigh Beta20-30Erratic, uneven glowWide-eyed, frozen in placeRoot Chakra
Solar plexus Chakra
5Chronic Pain or IllnessDespair, FrustrationTheta4-8Dull glow at pain pointsLying down, grimacing with discomfortAll chakras
6Financial StressAnxiety, DesperationHigh Beta20-30Intense glow in head and handsLooking at bills or empty wallet, distressed faceRoot Chakra
Solar plexus Chakra
7Breakup or DivorceSadness, GriefTheta4-8Uneven, dim glowSitting with a box of memories, teary-eyedHeart Chakra
Sacral Chakra
8Death or LossGrief, DesolationTheta4-8Dim, weak glowIn mourning attire, looking downHeart Chakra
9RejectionDespair, SadnessTheta4-8Dim, weakened glow in chestSlouched, holding a rejection letter or looking awayHeart chakra
Solar Plexus Chakra
10Major Life ChangesAnxiety, UncertaintyBeta13-30Erratic glow throughout bodyStanding at a crossroads or with packed bagsSolar Plexus Chakra
Root Chakra
11ConflictAnger, FrustrationBeta13-30Bright glow around head and fistsStanding face-to-face with someone, arguingSolar Plexus Chakra Throat Chakra
12Bullying or HarassmentFear, HumiliationHigh Beta20-30Dull glow, intense around heartBeing cornered, defensive postureSolar Plexus Chakra Sacral Chakra
13Excessive News ConsumptionAnxiety, DespairHigh Beta20-30Uneven glow around headGlued to a TV or phone with news, distressed expressionThird Eye Chakra Throat Chakra
14Performance PressureStress, AnxietyHigh Beta20-30Intense glow in head and chestStanding under a spotlight, sweat on browSolar Plexus Chakra Throat Chakra
15Lack of SleepExhaustion, IrritabilityBeta13-30Very dim glowYawning, droopy eyes, trying to stay awakeCrown Chakra
16Excessive Consumption of StimulantsAnxietyHigh Beta20-30Overly bright, uneven glowHolding multiple coffee cups, jittery postureSolar Plexus Chakra
17Social Media OveruseEnvy, SadnessBeta to High Beta13-30Bright glow around head and handsStaring at a phone or computer, envious or sad expressionHeart Chakra
Third Eye Chakra
18Unmet Personal ExpectationsDisappointment, SadnessTheta4-8Dimmed glow around head and heartLooking at a list of goals, despondent expressionSolar Plexus Chakra
Heart Chakra
19Chronic FearAnxiety, ParanoiaHigh Beta20-30Intense, erratic glowConstantly looking over shoulder, fearful expressionRoot Chakra
20Feeling TrappedDespair, AnxietyTheta4-8Dim, caged-in glowStanding against a closed door or behind bars, looking outSolar Plexus Chakra Sacral Chakra
This information offers an additional layer of understanding, providing a holistic perspective that blends cognitive emotions with the body’s energy anatomy. Remember, these depictions are broad generalizations. The specifics might vary based on individual personalities and their reactions to situations.
Autonomic Nervous System

Introduction to Positive States Table

Our journey through life often takes us through various experiences that manifest in various states of being. These states, many of which we perceive as positive, are interconnected with our emotions, brain activity, energy distribution, and even posture. Here’s an exploration of such optimistic scenarios, mapping them across different parameters. Let this serve as a guide to understanding the harmonious balance within us and how our internal systems respond to these uplifting scenarios and ensuring the brain and internal system are Coherent and functioning optimally.

RankScenarioEmotionBrain WaveFrequency Range (Hz)Energy DistributionPosture/Imagery
1MeditatingTranquility, peaceTheta4-8 HzCentered, heart & headSitting cross-legged, peaceful
2Deep SleepRest, rejuvenationDelta0.5-4 HzSlow, uniform body glowLying, deep breathing
3Walking in NatureRefreshed, alertAlpha8-14 HzMild glow, limbsWalking, relaxed, observing

Walking barefoot on earth
4Focused LearningEngagementBeta13-30 HzGlow around the headAt a desk, engrossed
5Listening to MusicJoyAlpha8-14 HzRhythmic glow, heart & headReclining, with headphones
6Intimate MomentsLove, connectionBeta-Gamma13-100 HzGlow, heart & contact pointsEmbracing a partner
7Creative ProcessInspirationAlpha-Theta4-14 HzFlares, head, hands & heartPainting on a canvas
8Eating Delicious FoodPleasureAlpha8-14 HzWarmth from the stomachSeated, savoring a bite
9Playing an InstrumentJoyAlpha8-14 HzEnergy in hands & headPlaying a piano/guitar
10Physical AffectionComfortAlpha8-14 HzWarmth at embrace pointTwo people hugging
11Group ActivitiesCamaraderieBeta13-30 HzEnergetic flow, limbsPlaying a sport, high-fives
12TravelingAdventureBeta13-30 HzRadiant, head, eyes & feetExploring, eyes wide
13Playing with Pets (Safely and under guidance)JoyAlpha8-14 HzWarm, hands & heartLaughing, petting a pet
14Engaging in HobbiesPassionAlpha8-14 HzConcentrated, hands & headGardening or capturing a photo
15Watching a MovieJoyAlpha8-14 HzWarm glow, heart & headSitting, eyes glistening
16Reading a BookInterestBeta13-30 HzConcentrated, head & eyesReclined, engrossed in a book
17Cooking/BakingPassionAlpha8-14 HzRadiant, hands & heartIn the kitchen, deeply involved
18Community ServiceAltruismAlpha8-14 HzGlow, heart & handsHelping, gentle smile
19Relaxing in NaturePeaceAlpha8-14 HzHarmonizing with natureLying on a blanket, gazing skyward

Walking barefoot on grass
20CraftingCreativityAlpha8-14 HzFocused, hands & headCrafting, engrossed in details
21FastingDiscipline, slight discomfort
Beta13-30 Hz
Energy seems slightly diminished but focused; light around the stomach
Standing or sitting, hands on the stomach, contemplative
22Having a Sauna
Relaxation, warmth
Alpha8-14 Hz
Radiant glow all over the body, intensified around the skin
Sitting or lying in a sauna, sweating, relaxed
23Hug from an Alpaca (run by professional Farmers for therapeutic reasons)Comfort, surprise
8-14 Hz
Warm glow at the point of embrace, warmth spreading to the entire body
Standing, gently embracing an alpaca, a soft smile
24Engaging in Play Therapy (often used in ADHD and other therapeutic contexts)Engagement, exploration
8-14 Hz
Energy fluctuating based on the activity; hands and head particularly active
Sitting on the floor, engaged with toys or art supplies, focused
25Listening to a Loved One’s Heartbeat
Connection, Comfort
Alpha8-14 HzWarm, steady glow, especially around the head and chest
Laying head on a loved one’s chest, listening intently
26Aerobic Exercise (Running)Energetic, invigorated

Beta13-30Strong glow in legs and lungs
Full stride, hands pumping
27Laughter with Friends
Joyful, connected

Beta13-30Even glow, spikes radiating outward
Sitting/standing, laughing heartily
28Weight Training
Determined, strong

Beta13-30Glow focusing on trained muscle group
Exerting, depending on exercise
29Sexual Intimacy
Passionate, connected

Theta to Delta4-8 (Theta) & 1-4 (Delta)
Glow throughout body, heightened on zones
Lying/sitting, intertwined
This information offers an additional layer of understanding, providing a holistic perspective that blends cognitive emotions with the body’s energy anatomy. Remember, these depictions are broad generalizations. The specifics might vary based on individual personalities and their reactions to situations.
Chakra meditation
Aligned chakras - adhdknowledgehub
Autonomic Nervous System
Autonomic Nervous System
Autonomic Nervous System

ADHD: More than Meets the Eye

Being both an enthusiast and an advisor, I’ve often been asked: “What’s the link between the ANS and ADHD?” It’s not just about distractibility or hyperactivity. There’s a physiological orchestra playing behind the curtains.

The Overdrive Problem in ADHD

Those with ADHD often find their sympathetic system in overdrive. This doesn’t mean they’re perpetually frightened, but their bodies might feel like it. Imagine drinking ten cups of coffee. That jittery, restless feeling? That’s akin to what an overstimulated sympathetic system feels like.

The Neurochemical Story

Dopamine and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters often discussed in the context of ADHD, play crucial roles in both the brain’s reward center and the Autonomic Nervous System’s functioning. An imbalance here can lead to ADHD symptoms and an imbalanced ANS response.

Harmony is Key: The Importance of ANS Regulation

Imagine an orchestra where the violinists play too loudly while the cellists doze off. That’s what an imbalanced ANS feels like. For ADHD individuals, achieving Autonomic Nervous System harmony can mean reduced anxiety, better focus, and overall improved quality of life.

Strategies for Balance: Beyond Medication

Medication is one tool in the toolbox, but several non-pharmacological strategies are worth exploring.

Mind-Body Techniques – Autonomic Nervous System

Techniques like mindfulness meditation or guided imagery can help bridge the often tumultuous gap between the mind and body. We can nudge our ANS towards balance by focusing on our breath or visualizing calming scenes.

The Earth hums with an energy, a vibration that’s both grounding and rejuvenating. There’s something deeply magical about syncing our pulse with that of our planet. On many evenings, my husband and I have felt this firsthand. We’d step outside, with the Musicosy eye masks with music coming through them, the sky painted with hues of twilight, and settle down for our chakra meditation. With our feet bare, caressing the cool, dew-kissed grass, it’s as if the Earth whispers its age-old secrets, helping align our energy with its rhythmic flow. But this is just one path to connection. You might also try hugging a tree, feeling its bark against your skin and its roots delving deep. Or perhaps laying flat on the ground, surrendering every ounce of tension to the Earth, letting it cradle you. It’s these moments of intimate connection with nature that remind us of our place in this vast universe, grounding us in gratitude and serenity.

Diet and Lifestyle: Your ANS Diet Plan

Certain foods and supplements, like Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and B vitamins, have been found to promote a balanced ANS. Also, never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep and regular physical activity.

Products and Therapies

While I’m not one for relentlessly promoting products, some genuinely can make a difference:

Weighted Blankets

It’s like a gentle, continuous hug throughout the night, promoting deep, restorative sleep.

Biofeedback Devices

By offering real-time data about our physiological functions, these devices help us understand and control our ANS responses.

Autonomic Nervous System Tracker

MUSE 2: The Brain Sensing Headband – Meditation Tracker – Multi Sensor Headset Monitor with Responsive Sound Feedback Guidance from Brain Wave, Heart, Body & Breath Activity

Natural Supplements

Mother Nature offers remedies that can support ANS balance, from calming chamomile to invigorating ginseng.

The Grand Ballet: Body Automation and the Analytical Mind

It’s mesmerizing to consider that about 95% of our bodily functions are automated and run by our ANS. It’s like having a super-efficient autopilot system. This leaves approximately 5% for our conscious, analytical mind. Our body’s automation allows our conscious mind to focus on creativity, decision-making, and emotions without being bogged down by basic survival tasks.

When it comes to ADHD, our body automates approximately 95% of its functions. However, our conscious, analytical mind is constantly assessing, planning, and overthinking. This cerebral chatter occupies a considerable amount of our conscious bandwidth. Recognizing this interplay is crucial in understanding ADHD and harnessing its potential. This constant tug-of-war between automation and analysis can be both a challenge and a strength for those with ADHD.

Embracing the Dance of ANS and ADHD

Life, with all its challenges and surprises, becomes more manageable when we understand and embrace our body and mind’s quirks. By tapping into the power of the ANS and understanding its rhythm with ADHD, we can lead enriched, fulfilling lives.

Conclusion – Autonomic Nervous System

Both ADHD and the ANS are incredible aspects of human physiology and psychology. By delving deeper into their interplay, we can find strategies to live not just adequately, but vibrantly.

Frequently – Autonomic Nervous System

  1. How do the ANS and ADHD connect? Both are intricately linked through neurotransmitter activity and physiological responses.
  2. Does ADHD always mean an overactive sympathetic system? Not always, but there’s a higher likelihood of it.
  3. Can lifestyle changes alone manage ADHD? Lifestyle changes can help significantly, but it’s essential to consult with a professional to find a comprehensive approach.
  4. What are the signs of an imbalanced ANS? Symptoms can range from chronic fatigue, anxiety, digestive issues, to sleep disturbances.
  5. Is it truly possible to control our ANS? We can influence it through various techniques, fostering better balance and health.
Autonomic Nervous System

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Doctor Harneet

In the ADHD Knowledge Hub, I share insights inspired by my personal journey with ADHD and my experience as a mother to a son with ADHD. My goal is to present evidence-based information, stemming from my professional background and personal understanding. My aim is to offer understanding and perspective, to assist you in navigating your own journey through ADHD.

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