Manifestation is the idea that through regular meditation and positive, constructive thought, you can make your dreams become a reality. This idea has come in many forms over the span of human life, with similar concepts ranging from Hinduism’s karma to modern day Positive Psychology. This also pairs with the Law of Attraction, or the idea that by raising your internal frequency you will attract other things/experiences/goals that are also at said higher frequency.
Lots of spiritual gurus and social media influencers commonly refer to manifestation/law of attraction when talking about how they made their dreams into their reality. Now, I’m not here to burst the magical manifestation bubble or discredit any of its utility. But rather, I’m using this space today to talk about the aspects of Psychology that come into play when we talk about manifestation. What psychology terms can we use to talk about manifestation and law of attraction? Well, keep reading to discover the psychology behind manifestation.
Cognitive reframing is the act of changing the way you view something in order to create less stress and regain a greater sense of peace and control over the situation. This is a tried and true method that therapists & psychologists use all around the world to help their suffering clients.
By this concept, we learn how to view our lived experiences through a different lens. We seek the good in situations or, at least, the good that could come from any given situation. The thought is that by changing the way you look at a certain experience, you are then changing your actual experience of it.
When it comes to the art of manifestation and law of attraction, cognitive reframing comes in when you start to look at the life you already have as good and fruitful. To manifest something properly, you must believe that you already have it (whatever “it” is). For this to occur, you must truly believe that what you want is already yours or is already on it’s way to you. This means you begin to view the life you are currently living as the beginning of the life you have with whatever “it” is. This in itself is reframing! You have reframed the way you view your life in order to create less stress about that which you do not have and regain control over that which is already on its way to you. This leads me to the next point of…
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Resilience is the term for “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress.” Meaning you overcome unfortunate events and manage to keep on keepin’ on with life.
The aforementioned cognitive restructuring plays into this by helping us to view the life we are currently living as just part of the path to what we desire. By thinking from this mindset, we begin to accept that which happens to us because we know it is part of the process that will bring us to our greater selves.
Being resilient doesn’t mean you don’t experience difficulty or distress, or that you will never be upset again. It simply means you acknowledge that pain is part of life but also know that you are able to overcome anything that comes your way. A great way to build your resilience is through connection, leading us to the next point being…
Social Identity Theory
Our social identity is our sense of who we are based on our group memberships. Feelings of social identity are the positive self-esteem feelings we get from our social groupings. When we begin venturing into the world of manifestation and law of attraction, we learn about our frequencies.
Like attracts like is a common saying in relation to these concepts, referring to the idea that if you maintain a high frequency (aka positivity and optimism) you will attract other people and experiences that are also vibrating at said high frequency. When we buy into this idea and begin living in accordance, we start to reconsider our social connections.
We start to align ourselves with other individuals who believe in similar things that we believe in, and who maintain positivity and optimism just as we do. This begins a cycle of social influence where the positivity and the attraction lifestyle just keeps being passed around and supported by one another. Therefore, our social identity shifts as we start to realign ourselves with new connections. Realignment comes from envisioning what we want our life to be like and taking the steps in this direction.
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As we envision our dream life, so to say, we create an image of what we want to happen and what we want to be like. This, my friends, is visualization at work. This is the process of accessing your imagination to realize all aspects of something. This is actually a really impactful tool that therapists/psychologists use with clients who are depressed or suicidal.
There is mental visualization where you vividly picture your desires, and then there are tangible visualizations. These would be your vision boards, affirmation walls, and so on. By getting into the details, we are able to see exactly what it is that we want. We create this vision of our dreams and desires. There are tons of stories out there of people who visualized themselves as successful in some realm or another, just google it and read all the happy stories. Once we have this vision of how we want our lives to be, and we begin the manifestation process of believing it is already ours and is on its way to us, we then start to see things happen.
Another facet of the psychology behind manifestation is the good ol’ confirmation bias. If you’ve taken any Intro to Psychology courses I’m sure you’re familiar with this term. I don’t mean to bring these in as a negative take, but it’s a possibility nonetheless.
Confirmation bias is the act of seeing things that confirm our beliefs and ignoring that which don’t. We begin to notice things that align with our beliefs (desires) and use this as confirmation that we are right. For instance, if you began manifesting your dreams of being financially independent, and you come across an ad for a well-paying job within your realm of interest and qualifications, you’ll believe that it was placed there intentionally thanks to your high frequency and attraction. While this very well may be the case, would you have noticed this ad a month ago before you began your manifestation journey?
Alternatively, if in this same week you lost $40 out of your wallet, you probably didn’t think of this as an act against your desires. You would probably be upset about it and then move on from it without much thought about the bigger meaning.
Self Fulfilling Prophecy
This comes within the same breath as confirmation bias in Psych 101 classes. Self fulfilling prophecy is the idea that our expectations about a specific thing lead us to behave in certain ways that influence the outcome and therefore make our expectations come true.
Have you ever been invited to an event with one of your friends, and you believe from the minute you were invited that it’s going to be a total bore and you’re going to hate every second? Then you went to the party, had no fun, and returned home unfulfilled yet satisfied that you were correct with your assumptions.
Well the same concept goes here! If we believe that our dream life is already happening, then we are going to behave in ways that align with this belief and therefore bring us closer to the intended outcome. If my dream is to have a thriving online business, and I begin manifesting this intention and working within the law of attraction mindset, I will naturally begin to work harder to accomplish this goal, even if I’m not totally aware of it at first. I will feel more motivated to take the extra steps to advertise, market my business, recruit customers, and so on because I know those are the steps that will bring me closer to my goal.
In Sum, Manifestation Is Rooted In Science
Psychology is one of those beautiful fields that can be applied to just about anything. With the ever growing popularity of natural attraction and manifesting your goals/dreams, it’s important to also know the psychological components at work behind the scenes. As a therapist, I think manifesting your desires and acting in accordance with these goals is a great idea. If this is what you can get on board with to help reorient yourself to a happier, more fulfilled life, then that is amazing and should be practiced regularly! Hope you enjoyed learning about the psychology behind manifestation!
Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are about manifestation and attraction mentality!