Recently, you may have heard people saying “I’m manifesting it,” when referring to something that they want to see happen in their lives. Or, maybe you’ve seen posts on social media that deal with manifestation. Either way, it’s definitely a practice many have started to research and implement into their daily lives.

Manifestation is a practice from the 1800s that recently became a trend during mid-2020, and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although there is no one answer as to why it gained popularity, it was likely due to the rise of the app TikTok, where users post short videos. On TikTok, users would share videos of how the manifest and different methods they use. A combination of everyone on social media during quarantine and a general desire to find ways to bring positivity and hope into one’s life likely led to the increase in popularity of manifestation. 

Manifestation is a practice that looks different for everyone, but can simply be defined as “something that is put into your physical reality through thought, feelings, and beliefs,” according to the “Manifestation Guide” by Law of Attraction. The word manifestation may bring thoughts of candles, crystals, and talking to spirits to some people’s minds. While that may be how some people choose to practice, manifestation can be as simple as setting goals and writing them out each day. 

“I saw a lot about it over social media but I knew that wasn’t a very reliable source, so I took it upon myself to do my own in-depth research looking into different methods and such,” said Hannah Hatfield (‘22) on how she began manifesting. 

Manifestation may seem like it’s just another new trend going around, but in reality, it is one of the principles of the Law of Attraction, which was introduced in the late 1800s. The Law of Attraction is defined as, “the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on,” which is a pretty similar definition to manifestation. Hatfield spoke to the Law of Attraction and said, “I find [manifestation] very interesting. I think that through the Law of Attraction you can accomplish and draw anything to you, whether that is a job or friendships, depending on what your goal is.” The Law of Attraction is the idea that what you focus on grows because “thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all linked. That means that if you have positive, realistic thoughts you are more likely to have positive feelings, which in turn lead to positive behaviors,” said Hannah Cunningham, ORHS school psychologist. 

Manifestation follows a similar thought pattern to the Law of Attraction, and manifestation is usually associated with setting future goals that you hope to achieve. “Honestly I think that manifesting has a lot of positive impacts. It made me sit down and think about what I want for my future and for myself and really motivates me to take steps in that direction every day,” said Caitrin Ferris (‘22). 

While typically manifestation has positive benefits, sometimes you are manifesting negativity and don’t realize it. All of our lives, and what is currently happening in our lives, can be tied to our past emotions, thoughts, and ultimately, our decisions. 

When individuals have negative thoughts subconsciously or consciously, they are bringing that negativity into their reality. Cunningham explained how this can work, and said, “being in a negative mindset means that you are also likely having negative feelings and negative behaviors. For example, if your thought is “I am going to fail this test,” you are likely to feel unmotivated and not spend much time studying.” Because of this, an element of manifestation is to be consciously aware of the thoughts you are having, and how they are affecting your reality. If you intentionally go into situations with a good mindset, you will see positive things occur in your life. 

However, for some, it’s not easy to have a positive mindset for all situations. If you’re stuck feeling like you are trying to be positive but are surrounded by negativity in your home, workplace, etc., in some circumstances it might be because you attracted that negativity. Or, the problem is that you are choosing to focus on the fact that you’re surrounded by negativity. However, it’s not to say you can’t get out of that, it might just be a mindset change.

According to “Manifestation 101” by blogger Kelsey Aida, there are some simple steps and keys to getting into a head space that lends itself to manifestation. To begin, you must be clear on what you want. The more specific, the better. If it’s something tangible like “being rich,” attach a dollar amount, and a time frame, and have a reason why you desire that. Then, you focus your attention on it by putting the present moment aside and focusing on the future, as Aida described in her article. If you want to have ‘x’ amount of money and are focusing on how you are struggling financially at that moment, you are still exuding negative energy, and then will still receive that.

Another helpful trick is to find a feeling and keep it. One example would be wanting to be more grateful. If you don’t know what being grateful feels like, it’s difficult to turn being grateful into a reality. If you find yourself ever feeling grateful, hold onto that new feeling and manifest a more constant feeling of gratitude. 

Some people think of manifestation as if it’s wizardry, but it comes down to choosing the right thoughts and being in touch with your emotions. A key piece to having positive thoughts is changing preexisting beliefs that are not beneficial to achieving success in your life, and are unhelpful. One tactic of manifestation to achieve this is bedtime reprogramming. According to “How to Manifest What You Want: Manifestation Techniques” by Thrive Global, our we might be manifesting bad things by having off-handed negative thoughts, and may not even realize it. This is even more reason to be intentional in your thinking. According to Dr. Bruce Lipton, our subconscious mind is in an ideal state to take in new information when functioning at the vibrational frequency of theta, which is as we go from waking to sleeping, and vice versa. “What I do is I read my paragraph out loud about what I want to happen before I go to sleep so it will be in my mind as I’m falling asleep. I also read it out loud first thing after I wake up so I’m setting my intention for the day and so it’s the first thing I’m thinking about,” said Ferris.

If during these periods of time in our day, we think or speak our goals or positive self-affirmations, our brain can effectively take those in and rework our belief system to hopefully make our thoughts a reality. Another manifestation technique that is common is simply writing out affirmations or goals. “Writing down goals can help you achieve them. Putting pen to paper (or finger to phone screen) can make your objectives clearer as well as increase commitment to those goals. It reminds you that you are serious about reaching that goal and writing it down encodes that message in your brain,” shared Cunningham.

 As the Law of Attraction touches on, what you focus on grows. Hatfield has tried this type of manifestation, and gave some advice. “Some methods I have learned can be through journaling (writing things over and over), but it is important to put it in a tense like you already have it. For example, it’s not ‘I want all A’s’, it’s ‘I have all A’s.’ Also just keeping them on your mind and thinking about these goals often can help you believe it.” When you want something to happen, you think about it a lot, and subconsciously will take steps to get there. 

A similar approach some people take is the 55×5 method, where they write down a desire 55 times for 5 days in a row. Others may take the approach of long-term manifestation, and write where they want to be in 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year. This approach of setting small things to achieve en route to a greater hope for your future can be beneficial. “Creating small, realistic checkpoints that lead towards your final goal will make it more manageable. For example, if you want to run five miles it helps by running one, then increasing to two, then three… all the way up to five. If you go out and try to run five miles immediately, you may feel discouraged and are less likely to continue to reach for that goal.” With manifestation, you may manifest things along the way like Cunningham described, and ultimately manifest where you want to be long-term. 

These are just some methods of manifestation, and what works for one person may not work for another. Even if you don’t get all the money you desire after 6 months of manifesting it, or if you still don’t develop the friendships you were manifesting, it can still positively impact you. Ferris agreed, and said, “even if manifestation is a joke and doesn’t actually work, I am taking steps towards what I want to do and thinking constantly about what I want my future to look like. I’m going to be making decisions based on these facts and even if my manifestation doesn’t come true, I still would have tried. I would rather have tried everything to have my dreams come true than just settle for something comfortable and familiar.” Manifestation is a practice that if nothing else, can help you focus on more positivity and being more intentional in your daily life, which would never be a bad thing.

By Holly Reid