Your Neurochemical Self

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

Superheroes: Here’s How To Boost Your Superpowers!

Recharge your superpowers with secrets of the ancients.

Superheroes: you are not like ordinary mortals. You do not need sleep or exercise or nutrition. All you need is a new realm to rescue and your superpowers surge.

Superheroes: Don't you hate that droopy feeling when there's no galaxy to rescue? You know how to restore your superpowers, though. You have a secret potion.

But your potion has drawbacks. It erodes the life of your batteries. And it only works for a short time. Then you crash back to Earth and you need more of it, whatever the damage to your batteries. It’s not your fault. You’d be fine if there were more opportunity for saviors of the universe.

Sometimes you worry about the life of your batteries. If they go dead, you hope another superhero will rescue you. Anyway, what choice do you have? 

Superheroes: you have a choice. You can revive your superpowers in the way of the ancient baboon superheroes. Baboons don't use potions to activate their superpowers. They get regular sleep, exercise and nutrition, and their powers are there whenever they need them.

Baboons get their powers from adrenaline. Your power comes from adrenaline too because the ancients have infiltrated your brain. Your superpowers will be there when you need them if you get regular sleep, exercise and nutrition.

Baboons need superpowers because they have enemies who eat their babies. When an enemy invades a baboon colony, super-baboons risk their lives to protect the babies. If they prevail, their fellow baboons honor them and their genes get passed on. Thus, a whole race of superheroes evolved. Their brains produce adrenaline at the slightest hint of a baby-eater. When the threat is gone, their adrenaline falls.

Baboons don't worry when their adrenaline falls. They worry about the hunger in their belly, the fangs of their enemy, and the rivals for their genes. They live in a world of scarcity, so they are always busy looking for food, protecting their babies, and resting so they can do it again. 

You have a lot more neurons than a baboon. They give you superpowers a baboon doesn’t have. 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.

A baboon doesn't worry about food until its glucose drops. It doesn't worry about lions until it smells one.

This is not the way of the human superhero. But we can learn something from the way baboons manage their superpowers. Their adrenaline reserves are there when they need them even though they don't try to manage or artificially stimulate them. That's because they give their bodies sleep, exercise, and nutrition.

A super-baboon does feel droopy after an adrenaline surge. It just accepts that. It doesn't have enough neurons to imagine the world being other than what it is. 

Superheroes: The baboon 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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