Health

Psychology Experts on Whether Manifesting Actually Works

Another potential downside to be aware of: If you attempt to manifest something important and things don’t go your way, it can hurt your mental health. “The concern I have with manifesting, or any mental practice that gives us a sense that we can actually control or steer life outcomes if we just try or think hard enough, is that some people will feel as though they didn’t do enough or that they weren’t good enough, and that’s why life handed them a disappointment,” Dr. Ng says. This isn’t a healthy outlook, because there’s so much that’s out of our control, especially in such an uncertain world, and part of mental well-being is finding effective ways to cope with things that we can’t change.

How to manifest something in a practical way

Manifestation might not sit well with you, depending on your situation. And, again, looking into your metaphorical crystal ball and wishing for something to occur probably isn’t going to change your circumstances overnight. But if you’d like to give it a shot, there are some guidelines for trying the practice in a way that can support your mental well-being.

Keep in mind that there’s no exact right way to manifest, so your strategy can be whatever you want it to be, as long as it consistently includes inner reflection (to get clear on what you really want for your future) and practical actions (to help get you there), Bartz says. Some people may do a formal ritual of, say, lighting a candle and speaking a certain intention during a full moon, while others may incorporate these positive intentions into their daily meditation practice. It could even be taking a brief moment while journaling to write out a specific goal you set for yourself. Here are some expert-approved suggestions to get you started.

1. Acknowledge that manifesting isn’t the same as making a wish.

It’s not like blowing out the candles on your birthday cake. “Instead of thinking about manifesting as a form of magic, think of it as a practice of becoming aware of where your attention is going, noticing the nature and quality of your thoughts, and recognizing the power you have over your own internal experience and actions,” Dr. Fournier says. Going back to the healthy relationship example, this might look like being intentional about putting yourself out there by joining a group (anything from a book club to a softball league) where you could meet new people, rather than simply wishing and waiting for a significant other to one day show up at your doorstep. Being mindful of what your intentions are—and how you’ll get there—is a small way to make significant changes in your life, she adds.

2. Try speaking your goal out loud.

Speaking your goal out loud, even if it’s just a whisper to yourself (maybe every morning when you wake up), is one way to keep you focused on it and to ensure that it’s congruent with your self-reflection. For example, if you’re trying to manifest getting back together with a toxic ex, saying it out loud may be the gut check you need to realize that intention isn’t in line with your true desire to be in a loving relationship.

3. Write out your intention or set up calendar reminders.

The goals or milestones you’re hoping to reach should be top-of-mind, just like your to-do list and events on your calendar. Maybe this means you put your goals down on paper, either on a Post-it where you can see it daily, or in a journal if you want more privacy, Dr. Fournier suggests. You can also set calendar reminders (weekly, say) to prompt you to check in with your vision for even just 10 minutes—to think about the actions you’ve taken (or haven’t taken) toward achieving your goal, as a form of accountability. “Effective manifestation relies on us keeping the intention and vision consistently in focus so that we can align ourselves with it in our thoughts, emotions, and actions,” she reiterates.

4. Consider making it a meditation ritual.

Manifesting can be a spiritual practice on its own, if you choose to use it that way, but you can also incorporate it into a regular mindfulness practice. “Some people like to meditate and envision how they would be feeling after they’ve achieved their goal,” Bartz says. That’s one way of focusing your positive energy toward the reality you’re hoping for and the steps it’ll take to get there. (Here’s how to meditate if you have no idea where to start.)

She also recommends writing your goal on a candle (on the jar) in permanent marker—or simply thinking of a candle as a visual symbol of your goal—and lighting it every day as part of a morning meditation ritual. Will the candle magically burn all of your student debt to the ground or make your soulmate slide into your DMs? Maybe; maybe (probably) not. But, again, by keeping your goal at the forefront of your mind, you might be more likely to focus your thoughts and actions toward achieving it. (And at the very least, candles create a chill vibe.)

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