Activities that help POTS patients cope

What POTS-friendly activities give you enjoyment and make you feel better emotionally? This question is frequently posted online, often accompanied by expressions of frustration or despair, because the POTS patient feels so limited in what she can enjoy, compared to peers, who seem to be "really living." We can never have too many ideas for cheer-inducing activities, so the POTS Patient-Powered survey asked.

394 POTS patients reported whether each of the below activities either doesn't help, helps a little, helps a lot or is a life-saver! Here are the ratings:

Pets and online support groups were the big winners, with 87% of patients reporting that pets help at least a little. According to, only 62% of American households have pets, so either some POTS patients are enjoying other people's animals or else we are unusually fond of pet ownership. I know my 3 dogs keep me laughing, never complain if it's been a while since my last shower, and love it when I lay on the floor - what perfect POTS companions!

The high ratings for online support networks might reflect the method we used to recruit respondents; online support networks.

To get more ideas, we also asked patients to write in any other activities that help, and here's what was listed:

  • Getting support from other people who have POTS or who understand it (21 mentions)
  • Being with family (15)
  • Getting out with family (4)
  • Talking to friends (15)
  • Having friends over (4)
  • Prayer (5)
  • Time with spouse or boyfriend (3)
  • Time with children or grandchildren (7)
  • Hug or affection from family or partner (4)
  • Sleeping (8)
  • Meditation (6)
  • Writing or blogging (6)
  • Being with my kids (2)
  • Sitting down, relaxing, with legs up (2)
  • Being allowed to complain or cry temporarily (3)
  • Playing a musical instrument (6)
  • Singing (2)
  • Gardening (2)
  • Being alone (1)
  • Taking a bath (2)
  • Coloring (4)
  • Drawing (1)
  • Physical intimacy or cuddling with partner (3)
  • Getting good grades (1)
  • Comedy or laughing (2)
  • Having a good cry (4)
  • Magazines (2)
  • Reading (1)
  • Audiobooks (1)
  • Ballet (1)
  • Swimming pool (3)
  • Exercise (3)
  • Gentle yoga (1)
  • Massage (1)
  • Bath (2)
  • Reflecting on past accomplishments or improvements (3)
  • Working for myself (1)
  • Finding distractions (1)
  • Promoting POTS awareness (2)
  • Baking (3)
  • Eating a snack, sweets or ice cream (3)
  • Taking online classes (1)
  • Shopping (3)
  • Going to counseling (3)
  • Gratitude practice (2)
  • Riding or training horses (2)
  • Going outside (4)
  • Biofeedback (1)
  • Sit down, calm down, relax (2)
  • Looking at old photos or videos (1)
  • Going to 4H or other club meeting (1)
  • My service dog (1)
  • Aromatherapy (1)
  • Manicure/pedicure (1)

These results seem to suggest that social interaction - with pets, family, friends, counselors, significant others, and with others who understand POTS - brings a fair bit of comfort. This fits with our findings on the social cost of POTS, which found that a whopping 96% of patients reported that POTS prevented them from socializing as much as they would like.

Feeling understood emerged as a theme, also. The high ratings for online support groups, plus the many write-in mentions of interacting specifically with others who either have POTS or understand POTS, suggests that patients appreciate feeling understood and not alone in their health struggles.

We have lots more findings here, or to receive occasional email updates on new findings, you can sign up on our homepage. Be well!


activities coping