Who here doesn’t want to be Wonder Woman? Those bracelets! The lasso! That power!
But of course, she’s a fictional creation, a comic book hero who’s a strong woman’s fantasy writ large. The thing is, too many people think superpowers exist only in a Marvel world, not the messy one mere mortals live in.
Yoga teacher and transformational coach Sah D’Simone doesn’t think so. In his theory of personal growth, these extraordinary abilities are simply heightened senses that everyone can tap into IRL. They may not always be easy or comfortable to activate, but doing the work can add a lot to your life.
“When a yogi becomes enlightened, he or she can tap into 25 superpowers,” he says. “There are, however, seven that most of us overlook [but that] we all already have—and, with a little discipline, can access.”
Forget Spidey sense—here are 7 real-life superpowers you can definitely harness, according to D’Simone.
1. Positive speech
No matter what those nursery rhymes taught you, words can definitely hurt. Which is why it’s important to “carefully choose [ones] that add to life, people, and places,” suggest D’Simone. His advice? Make communication a mindfulness practice. “After all, research shows that gratitude and positive speech boost serotonin,” he says.
2. Mind-body connection
“When the body’s healthy, the mind’s healthy—and vice versa,” says D’Simone. So one of the best ways to supercharge your bod is by making sure your stomach’s microbiome stays balanced. Research has shown that a healthy gut can do everything from reduce anxiety and depression to help you sleep better—all the more reason to listen to it.
3. Supportive inner voice
In the same way that the body can affect the brain, the reverse is also true. It’s why having a healthy relationship with your inner dialogue is vital, according to D’Simone. “Our brain’s potential isn’t defined at birth,” he says. “We can change [its] architecture through meditation and intentional behavior.”
“Empowering others is how we empower ourselves,” says D’Simone. “Research into epigenetics, [AKA the study of how organisms evolve and change on a foundational level], shows that with friendly intentional behavior, we can influence our gene expressions and slow the inflammatory processes that lead to disease.” So basically, following the golden rule is the emotional equivalent of drinking a turmeric latte.
So much of how you see the world depends on the filter through which you’re viewing your experiences—and D’Simone’s not talking about whether it’s clarendon or valencia. Becoming more mindful, compassionate, and empathetic toward others can allow you to see your life in an objective, authentic way. “As we purify our senses, we come into closer contact with the present moment as it is, unfiltered by our tinted perception,” he explains.
Other than gratitude, another virtuous characteristic worth cultivating is forgiveness. “Research shows that when you’re able to forgive, you may live longer,” says D’Simone who doesn’t recommend dwelling too much in the past—or being hyper-focused on the future. According to him, both habits show an “attachment to outcomes. When you let go, you’re present, and there’s a deep sense of acceptance.”
7. Controlling reactions
One way to approach things from a more positive POV is learning how to calm your nerves. “If your sympathetic [nervous system] is in overdrive, you’re approaching every situation from a reactive perspective,” notes D’Simone. “Instead, strengthen your parasympathetic [pathways] to approach life from a proactive [place] where you have space between the stimulus and response. Meditation is key here too, and work to add a vocabulary of lovingkindness.”