By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor’s in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
We all have things we’d like to “manifest,” aka bring into our lives–but manifesting doesn’t always come easy when you’re getting started. First of all, that is OK. Second of all, having a handful of methods to aid you in your manifestation journey could be just the thing to help you start to shift your mindset and actually call in more of what you want. Here are a few of the most effective options.
What is manifestation?
Manifestation is essentially a process of transformation, becoming that which you seek, and actively calling in the life you desire. It’s similar to, and directly works with, the law of attraction, which we’ll get into shortly.
Manifesting is all about pairing mindset with action to get real results, and as psychiatrist Anna Yusim, M.D., previously explained to mbg, it was popularized by Rhonda Byrne’s book and movie, The Secret, describing the universal principle that our thoughts create our reality. “We are what we think, consciously and unconsciously. In other words, what we attract into our lives reflects the contents of our mind,” Yusim explains.
Think of it this way: If you want to build a table, you start to visualize in your mind the process of building that table. You know in your heart that you can build the table with the right tools and supplies. You start to get a clear idea of what you need to do in order to build that table. Then, you get the supplies you need and you build it. Boom: table, manifested. The key is the thought came first, you held onto it, and you manifested the table into reality.
While that’s a more concrete, tangible example, that is the essence of manifestation, just replace the table with “love,” or “abundance,” for example.
How the law of attraction works
Manifestation works through the law of attraction, one of the 12 universal laws. This law says that “like attracts like,” and you get what you focus on. As spiritual author Shannon Kaiser previously put it to mbg, “We are all like magnets, both reflecting and attracting what we hold in our thoughts. When we focus on what we want versus what we don’t want, it will show up in our life,” she explains.
A key to remember with the law of attraction is that the universe recognizes resistance and scarcity mindsets. You have to actually believe in what you want–and your ability to get it. For example, if love is what you’re seeking, but you don’t truly believe you’re lovable and you’re not displaying love for yourself, others, or the collective, you’re not aligning or attracting loving energy. (Here’s our full guide to the law of attraction for more information.)
Intrigued yet? Let’s get into our seven favorite manifestation methods to help you get started.
7 manifestation methods
Set yourself up for success with a good night’s sleep.*
One of the best places to start, no matter what you’re manifesting, is journaling. As manifestation coach Kathleen Cameron explains to mbg, the most important factor in manifesting is yourself, so cultivating self-awareness is key. By sitting with yourself every day and taking the time to journal out your thoughts, you can start to recognize where you’re blocking yourself, and how to move forward.
Through journaling, she says, you may realize you’re unintentionally manifesting the opposite of what you want because you don’t truly feel aligned with it, for example.
Neuroscientist Tara Swart, M.D., Ph.D. recommends manifestation journaling for that same reason, telling mbg that journaling daily can help you recognize a scarcity mindset (which will only hold you back) versus an abundance mindset.
Another great addition to your manifestation toolkit is vision boarding; the process of creating a tangible visual of what you’re looking to attract–be it with a mood board of images that depict a change you’re attempting to make, or a virtual folder of a dream vacation you’re manifesting.
“If we don’t have a clear direction of where we’re headed or where we want to go, it can be very easy to get caught up in things that aren’t actually good for us. Creating a vision board is a powerful way of getting to know yourself and what it is you truly want to manifest and call into your life,” reiki master and spiritual author Kelsey Patel, previously told mbg.
Check out our complete guide to vision boarding for more inspo.
Along similar lines to vision boarding, but on a more internal level, it’s also important to visualize as many details as possible about what you’re seeking, and more, who the you is that can attract those things. “You want to bring forth the version of you that’s going to allow you to experience what you want to experience in life,” Cameron explains, adding through visualization, “you become a vibrational match, because you experience the feeling of the new identity today, right now.”
Make a list of your ideal life
Another method Camerom recommends is writing a detailed list of all the things you want to experience–and she means detailed. 50 things in fact! “If you just do 20, it’s just going to be surface level. I want you to really go deep– what would be different in your ideal life? What would you want? What would you experience? What would it be like there?” she explains.
This is further going to help solidify your visualization process as you feel into the reality you’re seeking, because again, by feeling it for real, we’re vibrationally aligning with it. “Feeling is the secret,” Cameron adds.
The 369 method
A favorite manifestation method of many, the 369 method involves writing down what you want to manifest three times in the morning, six times in the afternoon, and nine times in the evening. You then repeat this daily as long as necessary. Seems simple right?
What you’re actually doing with this process, though, is holding your goal in mind throughout the day, which is helpful for tapping into your subconscious. Hypnotist Shauna Cummins previously explained that this method can be useful because it allows your brain to “find what it’s looking for, and therefore [become] more likely to magnetize your desires into action.”
Repeat positive affirmations
Along similar lines to the 369 method, repeating positive affirmations throughout the day is another way to consistently tap into (and rewire) certain thought patterns. After all, we know negative thought patterns can block things from manifesting, so affirmations can help you start to unlearn those patterns. Plus, you can choose any affirmation that speaks to you, from, “I am worthy,” to “Love is always around me,” to “I will land my dream job.”
Take a look at our list of 50-plus affirmations for more ideas.
And last but not least, this “method” is less so a method, but still a step you definitely don’t want to skip. We can journal all we want, but without aligned action, that aforementioned table is never getting built.
As Cameron puts it, it’s about beginning to think like the version of yourself you want to be, feeling like that version, and behaving like that version. “So it’s about really starting to behave according to the new image instead of the old patterns and programs,” she explains.
And that’s not to say if you want to be rich, you should spend all your money as if you were, she adds. In that case, you would be looking to align yourself with who you are when you’re living in abundance. What is that person like and how can you start acting like them?
Are there any manifestation methods that don’t work?
The truth is, manifestation methods can help you, but it’s ultimately an inside job. There aren’t really manifestation methods that don’t work, just as there aren’t methods that are 100% going to do all the work for you. Cameron describes these methods as “additional tools to aid a process,” and that’s ultimately how they should be approached.
What people get wrong about manifesting is thinking that it requires no real change on their part, when it very much does. “It doesn’t have anything to do with the amount of times you write something out, but it does have to do with the person that you see yourself as,” Cameron explains.
Even thinking of this version of yourself that you’re seeking as your “future” self or “higher” self is actually keeping you separate from that self. You already are that self, you just have to align your thoughts and behavior with it.
“If you’re feeling desperate, needy, sad, or impatient, and you do manifestation methods, you could actually be amplifying those feelings and breathing more faith into those feelings,” Cameron explains.
Long story short: mindset is everything. Methods are not.
Manifesting is a process of aligning yourself with that which you seek. Various methods for manifesting can certainly be helpful, but they’re not going to do all the work for you. Nevertheless, they’re a great tool for assistance on your path to manifestation if you need an extra hand.