Your Neurochemical Self

Getting real with a 200-million-year-old brain

Superheroes Exercise to Maintain Their Superpowers

Real physical strength helps you more than fantasy strength

Do you have powers beyond those of ordinary mortals? Do you feel like you can conquer the universe, even without sleep, exercise or nutrition?

Adrenaline causes that feeling. But after a nice surge, you crash back to Earth. That feels awful and it's tempting to do anything that triggers more adrenaline, fast. The last thing you feel like doing when you crash is exercise, sleep, and eat healthy food.

Running on adrenalinve is popular because it re-charges your batteries. But it erodes the long-run life of your batteries, and even in the short run it starts feeling bad. You know this, but when your batteries run low, the quick jolt is what you think of.

A simple alternative is to imagine the ancient superheroes who came before us. Our ancestors could not afford to let their energy crash because they were surrounded by enemies who wanted to eat their babies. But they did not run around in crisis mode all the time. They relied on exercise, rest and natural food to maintain their superpowers.

Apes do not expect themselves to be in superhero mode all the time. Yet they successfully protected their young from invaders, and a whole race of super apes evolved. You are descended from them. You have inherited a  superhero brain that can produce adrenaline when the galaxy is threatened. But it doesn't stay strong by saving galaxies in every moment. It stays strong with exercise, rest and nutrition.

You have more neurons than your ancient superhero ancestors. You can imagine threats before they are there, and act to prevent them. That is why your belly is full even in the dry season, and your babies are hardly ever eaten by invaders.

But your ability to anctipate problems leads you to worry about your superpowers when your adrenaline sags. When an adrenaline surge is over, you don't feel like a superhero. You even worry about losing your superhero status forever, though you’d never admit it.

We can learn something from the way apes manage their superpowers. Their adrenaline reserves are there when they need them. When their adrenaline droops, they just accept it instead of rushing to more stimulation. They don't have enough neurons to imagine the world being other than what it is. 

Superheroes: The ape force generator is in you! Your superpowers will be there when you need them if you replenish yourself with sleep, exercise and nutrition!! Protect your brain and it will protect you!!!

Much more on your inner baboon can be found in my books I, Mammal and Beyond Cynical: Transcend Your Mammalian Negativity. Free resources are available on my PsychologyToday.com page under "Research Papers," and on my website, InnerMammalInstitute.org.  

Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D., is a Zoo Docent and Professor Emerita of Management at California State University, East Bay. 

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