Fake it Until You Become it: How to Reduce Your Cortisol Levels

A study has revealed that people may be able to considerably reduce their stress levels by simply posing in a few easy positions for two minutes The hormone cortisol (a stress hormone) was reduced significantly after individuals stood or sat in the positions Cortisol is linked to hair loss: by reducing cortisol we may be […]

Significant Decrease in Cortisol Levels

  • A study has revealed that people may be able to considerably reduce their stress levels by simply posing in a few easy positions for two minutes
  • The hormone cortisol (a stress hormone) was reduced significantly after individuals stood or sat in the positions
  • Cortisol is linked to hair loss: by reducing cortisol we may be able to reduce hair loss and regrow hair

A study presented in a TED talk by Amy Cuddy has revealed that people who pose in “positions of power” for just two minutes, reduce their cortisol levels considerably. This is quite remarkable and very interesting for the positive effects that applying the principals of the study could have on people’s lives.
Reduce cortisol levels
In the TED talk (shown in the video below) Amy explains how people with low stress levels and high levels of confidence are more likely to get better, higher paid jobs. Interviewers tend to pick applicants with low cortisol levels and high testosterone levels, who exhibit traits of confidence and low stress levels.
So if an individual can purposefully reduce their cortisol levels and boost their confidence in two minutes, they could have a significant impact on their life. Furthermore, we can use this principal to promote hair growth!

How anyone can reduce their cortisol levels and change their lives

This amazing study shows that anyone can literally fake being confident until soon enough they literally become confident (based on tangible hormonal changes). People who react badly to stress tend to have high cortisol levels. Vice versa people who are confident tend to have low cortisol levels.
It’s highly beneficial to have low cortisol levels — for our careers and our happiness in general. So it’s quite a wonderful thing that we can use a simple technique to change the way we react to stress by doing something as simple as positioning our body’s into simple postures for two minutes several times a day.
Standing high power poses
Every time a person positions their body into one of the “high power poses” for two minutes they reduce their cortisol levels. If this is practiced regularly, the individual will naturally start to adopt the postures that confident people use, because their hormones will have changed. To me this is remarkable — and it confirms something I had studied years ago and written into the first edition of my book — that we can actually reduce hair loss and improve our health by manipulating our hormone levels. And we don’t need drugs or supplements to do it.

How reducing cortisol helps you grow hair

Did I mention that there is a significant link between stress and hair loss? Cortisol is one of the key stress hormones. By reducing our cortisol levels we can actually reduce hair loss and even help regrow lost hair. So, amazing as it may sound, by posing in a few simple positions for less than ten minutes per day we can actually regrow our hair! Not only that, we can change our lives significantly.

Why this is significant for you

While using the power poses can help anyone reduce their cortisol levels, what we need to understand is that many of us regularly/habitually use low power poses day in day out — and have done for many years. This is saddening to me because it shows how experiences early on in a person’s life can totally change their personality, their confidence and their financial success.
Low power poses
If something or someone in your life (particularly during childhood) caused you to become less confident, it’s likely that for many years you have reinforced your low confidence (hormonally) by adopting low power poses and using “negative affirmations” that cause your cortisol levels to remain higher than confident people’s.
Years of high cortisol levels have probably had a negative impact on intelligent people’s lives all over the world, causing them to over eat, not go for jobs they could easily do and lead less fulfilling social lives. All because of cortisol and it’s relationship with your relationship with reality! I think this is so important that perhaps this is something that should be taught in schools.

How cortisol has shaped our society

Throughout much of my life I’ve been annoyed at how more intelligent people are often overlooked in work scenarios in favor of confident people. In my mind this creates a society full of organisations run and controlled by confident people who control and manipulate more intelligent (but less confident) people in order to get what they want. As a result I hypothesise that our societies are much less efficient than they could be.

Watch the full TED video (highly recommended)

Do you suffer from stress or hair loss?

If so, please take a moment to fill out my short and anonymous 5 question survey, to help me in my long term study into stress related hair loss.

More from Amy Cuddy

I recommend you all head over to Amy Cuddy’s page on TED to see what else she has talked about.

What can you do about this right now?

I recommend you watch the TED talk and start using the high power poses — and start changing your life. If you consider yourself as someone who reacts badly to stress it’s likely that you habitually use “negative affirmations” to reinforce traits that keep your confidence levels low and cortisol levels high.
Negative affirmations are simply common statements we make (out loud or in our heads) that confirm negative thoughts or actions we have had or taken. For example, if I do a presentation in front of some investors and I mess up or feel very nervous, I might later affirm statements such as “I hate presentations”. Affirming such a statement, makes it more true the next time you come to do a presentation.
I realised this years ago, when I wrote the first edition of my book. I developed a “mind training program” that enables a user to undo years of psychological damage caused by habitual use of negative affirmations, by reversing those negative affirmations and overwriting them with positive affirmations.
I suspect that use of positive affirmations and high power poses are two excellent weapons in the fight against stress that could have significant impacts on people’s lives. Armed with such weapons I believe intelligent, thoughtful people could get jobs that are usually given to confident people (who sometimes don’t make the world a better place).
Perhaps using psychological weapons like these we may gain the power to make society more efficient and to make the world a better place.