What is manifesting and how do you do it?

Cara Delevingne wants a baby. Well, she’s manifesting one, anyway. The 29-year-old model says she buys baby clothes for her from her “child who does n’t exist” as a way to manifest babies into her future from her.

“Baby shoes really get me — they break my heart. I went shopping the other day and I bought these tiny Air Jordans, which are purple and they have a lion on them. I’m manifesting”, Delevingne told Harper’s Bazaar UK.

Manifesting is not a new practice. Rhonda Byrne’s bestselling 2006 book, The Secret, was about the ‘law of attraction’, which claimed people could think various things into happening. The term was first coined by author William Walker Atkinson in his 1906 book by him, Thought Vibration Or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World.

But the phrase “manifestation” has seen a stark rise in popularity, not least due to Gen Z discovering their spiritual side. The hashtag #manifestation has 13.9 billion views on TikTok alone.

Just last year the 369 manifestation method — where you write down your desire three times in the morning, six times in the afternoon and nine times at night — went viral on the platform with its hashtag generating over 200 million views.

But manifestation can take many forms and can be as simple (or as complicated) as you like.

What is manifestation and how does it work?

In the simplest of terms, manifestation is a pseudoscience that suggests human thought can result in reality.

“If there’s a car you want, you imagine yourself driving it and then you purchase one from the dealership — you’ve manifested it. It doesn’t have to be anything more magical than that,” Gemma James, aka The Lazy Manifesting Coach, tells The Independent.

Of course, the key here is to be realistic about what you manifest, so don’t go manifesting a Mercedes-Benz if you can’t afford it. James adds: “To actively manifest something means you’re not simply leaving it to chance, you’re intentional about the goals you want to achieve and you take the inspired action until you’ve got it.”

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To actively manifest something means you’re not simply leaving it to chance

Gemma James, The Lazy Manifesting Coach

The basis of manifestation is the belief that positive thinking can provide positive results and attract positive energy, which you can use to benefit all aspects of your life.

“When we focus on something our brain assumes it’s important to us and will therefore make us even more aware of it or of the situations, people and circumstances that will help us get it,” James explains.

“It doesn’t know the difference between something good and bad, it literally acts on what we tell it, which is why we can also manifest things we don’t want — more and more debt or a job we hate for example — if we’re constantly thinking about those things.”

While it may sound a bit “woo woo”, the practice is preached by celebrity fans, including Oprah Winfrey, Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga, so maybe there’s something in it after all? Although perhaps manifestation is easier to do when you have the money to manifest anything you like.

Astrologer Bex Milford of @cosmic_cures says manifestation doesn’t work for the “majority” of people, as most apply a “formulaic approach without understanding the big picture”.

“We can manifest situations and circumstances in our life by the act of focusing our thought waves — which are also energy — into believing that a desired result is going to happen,” she continues.

“Because our thoughts and feelings create energetic vibrations, then when we trust and believe that something is going to happen, the principle of manifestation suggests we change the course of our future to follow these vibrations.”

They key to manifestation is to focus your attention on what you want and then charge this with intention, Milford adds. “Manifestation can help us change our reality into one that is supportive of our dreams, helps us achieve our goals, and attracts wonderful situations into our life.”

How do you manifest?

The first thing you need to do is to get clear about what you want and to be specific with it. If you want a new job, think about the role and the company you want to be working for.

“Focus on that thing as often as possible. Find an image of it and put it somewhere you’ll see it every day,” James says. “Repeat affirmations throughout the day telling your brain that it’s possible for you to manifest that thing, set up automatic anchors such as changing your screensaver to a picture of that goal, changing your passwords to that goal or affirmation and set an alarm to go off every few hours labeled with your affirmation or goal.”

The next step is to act as if that goal has already happened. James suggests writing a journal entry or a letter as if you’ve already achieved it and to take action as if you’ve already manifested it.

The other important part of manifesting is gratitude. “Focus on gratitude every single day,” James says. “Your brain picks up on emotions over everything else and it is literally impossible to feel grateful with a negative emotion at the same time. The more you can focus on feeling grateful, the more your brain will help you be aware of things to feel grateful for. This is the perfect mindset to be in for manifesting.”

Can you really manifest anything?

Yes, says Milford, but only if you truly believe. “Believing it can happen, feeling gratitude, and knowing deep down you deserve it are all crucial,” she continues.

Remember the universe loves detail, so be specific

Bex Milford, astrologer

“Remember the universe loves detail, so be specific. Also, it’s key that you believe this can happen. If you want to manifest an Oscar but have never been to an acting class then do you really believe you can manifest this?

“Also remember, sometimes the universe won’t directly deliver what you asked for, but in that case, it’s often handing you something that will serve you even more. ‘This, or something better’ is the mantra we like to use.”

In theory, manifesting sounds like the answer-all solution to our woes. In practice? We have to be realistic about what we can manifest. Or else, why aren’t we all living the lives of travel influencers?


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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