Super-vember post 3: Superpowers hidden in your body and mind

by Kadri Haljas @ 18.11.2017

Super-vember post 3: Superpowers hidden in your body and mind

Has anyone ever told you that you are stronger than you think? Because you are, and in our third Supervember post we present 5 superpowers hidden in your body and mind.

In our previous Supervember posts we discussed the superpowers we have thanks to science and the super people who contribute to our society with their amazing philanthropic activities.

This time we will talk about superpowers we all possess, but do not know about. What can those be?

#5 Control of body temperature

Have you ever heard about incredible things Buddhist monks can do with their bodies? One of them is control of their body temperature and metabolism overall. Researchers from Harvard Medical School have studied this phenomenon and found that monks in the deep meditative state could control oxygen consumption with their minds! Tibetan monks practicing special type of meditation called “Tummo”, or “Inner Fire”, could alter their body temperature by up to 17 degrees, allowing them to heat up cotton sheets that were dipped into near freezing water. Achieving this superpower requires years of disciplined meditation practice, though. That is good news for schools, otherwise many kids would have “fever” before the exams and tests, would not they?

#4 Staying underwater for a long time

Have you ever checked how long you can stay underwater without breathing? For most people this number varies between some seconds to a minute. However, our bodies could be trained to hold breath for over 20 minutes! The living proof of it are Guinness World Record holders in so-called “static apnea” – not breathing under water without swimming. The latest record belongs to Aleix Segura with 24 minutes and 3 seconds underwater. While it looks like all Hollywood heroes have this ability by default, it is good to know that our bodies possess such endurance and anyone can develop this superpower, at least to a certain extent.

#3 Super memory

Have you ever dreamed of remembering every single detail from a picture or book? Or recall what happened on a certain day? How easy the life would get if our memories were flawless as in some superheroes! For some people, however, that is not a superpower, but the way their minds work. On the one hand, it can be related to certain disorders, for example, autism spectrum disorders, when a young artist created a Mexico City skyline drawing after seeing the city for 30 minutes during helicopter ride. On the other hand, super memory is a skill that can be learned. Daniel Bor in his book The Ravenous Brain describes a study when volunteers went from remembering standard 7±2 digits in a row to 80(!) digit sequence in 20 months of practice. Start today, and you can boast magic memory tricks in less than 2 years.

#2 Super strength and speed

Have you ever heard of humans, who under certain circumstances lifted cars, jumped very high fences, or ran with enormous speed? What these stories have in common are exactly the circumstances – they are usually dangerous, life-threatening situations. Under these conditions our bodies enter “fight or flight” mode, so we are prepared to save our life or life of other people. Our brain sends signals to hormonal glands and stress hormones are released to pump our hearts faster and stronger to bring more blood to muscles, so that we are able to perform those superhero acts. However, in order to achieve that some other processes like digestion are put on hold, so it is impossible to be in this mode for a long time without negative consequences for health. But how reassuring it is to know that our bodies are tuned to be heroic when needed.

#1 Echolocation

Have you ever been in complete darkness and just wished you could see without light? The power of “seeing with ears” is well-known in animal kingdom (for example, in bats), and it is also a superpower of Daredevil (not Batman as would expect). However, it is yet again a skill that can be developed in the non-comic book world as well. The best example is Daniel Kish who, after losing his eyesight to cancer as a kid, learned to navigate in the world using tongue clicking, so by tuning in his hearing he can estimate the distance until objects around him. Together with colleagues he founded the “World Access For The Blind” organization where they teach this amazing technique to others, so that blind people can not just live regular lives, but do extreme sports like mountain biking, which not all sighted people would dare to do. What a great example of power of body and mind to overcome limits and turn them into real-life superpowers!

If you know about other superpowers that our bodies possess, let us know. And as many motivational speakers tell (and as we see they are right), we are stronger than we think!

Stay tuned for #TriumfHQ updates to check which superhero you may be in our upcoming game!