If you think it, will it come?

Positive Steps
Sadhbh Dunne

Have you ever heard people attributing the positive things in their life to manifestation? The word ‘manifestation’ has grown increasingly familiar to us over the last number of years. But what exactly is it? Does it work? And if not, why are so many people talking about it?

Manifestation is a type of self-help strategy. It entails focusing your thoughts and attention on a desired outcome to try to bring it into reality. Proponents might say they got their dream job by acting as though they already had it, or they got their dream house by keeping it centre stage in their vision board.

This idea of thinking your goals into existence is not new; it can be traced back to ancient spiritual teachings. However, if you think you’ve seen mention of it growing recently, you’re not mistaken. Interest in manifestation, or the ‘law of attraction’ as it can also be referred to, has risen hugely. Google searches are on the up, and there’s been an influx of TikTok videos, while so-called experts like Roxie Nafousi or Eckhart Tolle hold seminars explaining all. Rhonda Byrne’s 2006 book ‘The Secret’ has sold over 30 million copies. It encourages us to visualise our goals in an effort to achieve them and it has gained a steadfast group of supporters.

The belief that it is possible to achieve things by merely thinking about it and believing it has already happened is understandably enticing. So is it a worthwhile approach or a waste of time?

Approach with caution

Does it work? Well, that’s the million-dollar question. Manifestation as a whole is not based on scientific evidence, and so a certain amount of caution should be exercised.

Psychologists have shared concerns about worrying instances where the good of positive thinking crosses a line into delusion. There are concerns too about the impact that overemphasising positive thinking can have on those with mental health issues like anxiety and depression. (For example, an anxious or depressed person could become stressed and worried that their negative thoughts will accidentally lead to bad things happening.)

Studies have also shown that positive thinking can sometimes have the opposite effect – it can lead to complacency, thus reducing the likelihood of putting in the effort needed to achieving a goal. By simply manifesting, the person thinks they are on the right road to achieving the goal, so they neglect to put in the work and effort that will always be required. If this sounds like you, you might be setting yourself up for failure.

First step only

A better approach is seeing the act of manifesting as the first step towards making you believe something is possible. Use it as a motivator as you work towards your dream each day, rather than thinking of it as all you have to do.

There are psychological reasons for taking ‘first step’ approach. The phenomenon of the placebo effect shows us that the power of our mind is greater than we could ever imagine. Imagining what it would be like to achieve our goal can be enough to drive us towards taking the first positive steps towards achieving it in reality.

The current rise in interest in manifestation could be traced back to the pandemic and periods of uncertainty. People had time to reflect on their lives, and many felt they were experiencing a lack of control. Manifestation seems to offer a way of taking back some control on the future.

If this is you, there is nothing wrong with that! Thinking positively about your goals can absolutely lead to an intentional life. Just remember that placing too much value on your thoughts can be dangerous, and your thoughts will never define you. If this article has encouraged you to explore manifestation some more, you can pick up some great books and easily access more information online.

I firmly believe that one of the secrets to a happy and peaceful life is to not focus on or worry about what anybody else is doing. If your sibling, friend or colleague’s manifestation technique is not having a negative impact on you or them, then don’t concern yourself with it. On the other hand, if the idea of manifestation is something you absolutely want to leave behind in this article, I hope you are at least in a better position to understand where people are coming from when they speak about and believe in it.

Sadhbh Dunne is a qualified life coach based in Westport.

She is the founder of Ember Coaching (embercoaching.ie) and can be reached at sadhbh@embercoaching.ie.

This article originally appeared on www.mayonews.ie