Is it possible to have superhuman strength in the heat of a life-or-death situation?

For instance, how did 22-year-old Lauren Kornacki lift a car to save her father who was trapped underneath? It may have been thanks to pure adrenaline. In the SciShow video below, host Michael Aranda explains what happens to your body during those frightening moments.

Read: Life After Life? Near-Death Experiences Suggest Consciousness Continues Beyond Death​

During life-threatening situations, biological changes happen in your body. When you’re stressed or scared, chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline are released into your bloodstream. Cortisol, known as “the stress hormone,” regulates many changes including blood sugar (glucose) levels and blood pressure, whereas adrenaline prepares your body for fight or flight.

Under scary circumstances, heightened levels of adrenaline are released, which can increase your breathing rate and heart rate. This happens almost immediately and gives you an instant boost of energy. Other research shows that when you’re stressed, your brain releases endocannabinoids, which are chemicals that can make you feel less pain. All of these chemicals may play a role in why you feel more powerful.

But, as common as stories of someone lifting a car to save a life might be, Aranda notes it’s important to realize the person most likely did not lift the whole automobile, but rather a small portion of it. However, cortisol and adrenaline were still at work to allow the person to do it with seemingly little effort.

The science behind the degree to which these chemicals push your body to great limits is not very well understood, considering it’d be unethical to knowingly put people in dangerous situations.

See also: Near-Death Experiences May Be Explained By Heart-Brain Connection​

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