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Manifesting: Does it Work?

Although the internet has always been full of Youtube vloggers and Instagram influencers posting countless video tutorials on achieving your biggest dreams, another trend known as manifesting has recently gained mass popularity through its claim that you can think anything you want into existence.



With the COVID-19 pandemic leading to a rise in mental health issues along with the stress of daily life, it’s no surprise that this idea’s following has grown immensely over the last two years.  People are constantly seeking methods to improve their well-being and achieve their ambitions, and manifestation may be the key. 



However, I am often skeptical of new trends, which leads me to ask the question: does manifesting work? This article will investigate, through research and personal testimony, whether manifestation is effective and produces positive results. 



Though there is no concrete scientific proof that one can make their wildest dreams come true solely through thought, manifesting is based on a pseudoscience principle called the Law of Attraction, which claims that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person’s life. This principle was a foundational part of the New Thought movement in the 19th century and was supported by famous philosophers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson. 



Furthermore, the idea that thinking and living in a certain way attracts similar experiences is connected to the placebo effect, in which medical patients notice an improvement in their symptoms after being given a placebo pill with no active ingredients. Just the act of doing something you believe will make you feel better can cause an increase in endorphins.



Moreover, countless individuals swear by manifestation’s mystical abilities and have experienced many positive outcomes through practicing it daily.



For Puja Prasad, a second-year Economics and Communications major at UC Santa Barbara, manifesting is “a mindset more than anything else. It’s about being more positive, goal-oriented, and looking towards the future and the outcomes you want.”



Though Prasad was very skeptical upon first hearing about it, after learning more about the potential benefits, she decided to try manifestation during her first year of college. Explaining her first experience with manifesting, Prasad thought it was best to “start with something small.” 



I had manifested that I wanted to find money on the ground, visualized it, and went through all the steps: decide what you want, ask for it, take aligned action, and then wait and receive it into your life. A few weeks passed, but then one weekend, my family came to visit, and when we walked over to look at my bike, there was a ten-dollar bill under the wheel! That's when I decided to continue with it,” Prasad said. From that moment on, she began integrating manifestation into her daily routine, using it to strive for academic, professional, and personal ambitions. 



Speaking on ways to manifest successfully, Prasad explained, “One of the best things to do is try to achieve a higher frequency of energy by focusing on positive things. For me, the best way to do this is to use a gratitude journal, where you can write about all the things you have to be grateful for rather than dwelling on the negative things you may be experiencing. Focusing on the good things in your life will then ultimately attract positive outcomes and experiences.”



Along with a free ten dollars, Prasad claims manifesting has taken her from being a pessimistic person to someone with a different outlook on life. “Manifesting gave me something to look forward to. I ask myself what I want to get out of my day and how to reach my goals. Whether or not it works, you feel more positive and grateful overall.” 



Finally, for those looking to get into practicing manifestation, Prasad says, “You have to commit with an honest effort fully. If you do this, you will have incredible results. What would you do if you could create anything in your life? If you're going to do it, go all in, trust the process, and be grateful.” 


However, while Prasad has found great success with manifestation, some methods may be more effective than others. An article from the Berkley Well-Being Institute reveals one of the two most popular manifestation methods, The Law of Attraction—which proposes that everything we manifest in real life comes from our thoughts—holds no scientific proof. Moreover, critics of the Law of Attraction method claim that it is inaccurate and can lead to a lack of compassion.


According to the article: “The idea that we are responsible for everything that happens to us is a dangerous idea that can lead to self-blame or even depression. Especially since these manifestation methods are based on evidence.”


Instead, the Berkley Well-Being Institute recommends trying science-based manifestation techniques, meaning they are founded in research and proven to be effective, such as goal-setting and adjusting your mindset.


Furthermore, the article suggests using manifestation methods that revolve around building concrete skills that can, in turn, be a tool for reaching your goals and aspirations. According to the article, skills that can improve manifestation results include eagerness, initiative, intrinsic motivation, a desire for self-improvement, passion, commitment to your goals, self-confidence, and resilience. 


There are also quick and easy manifestation methods anyone can part in daily. According to Prasad, some of her favorites include: “repeating positive affirmations to myself each morning and writing down my goals for the day in my journal. I know these things may seem small on their own, but when you truly channel your energy into them, it gives you a sense of hope to hold onto.” 


I still have yet to attempt to manifest something. However, as I have learned about others' experiences and researched the impact that positive thinking can have on your mental health and overall positivity, I have realized you can’t go wrong. Whether or not you believe in its abilities, perhaps next time you have an upcoming interview or an important event, or you want to find some unexpected wealth like Puja, consider giving manifestation a try.

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