The Science of Manifestation: The Power of Positive Thinking

Elizabeth Michael
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Brindusa Vanta, MD, DHMHS
Medical editor
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Elizabeth Michael What is Manifestation?  Manifestation refers to bringing specific desires...

What is Manifestation? 

Manifestation refers to bringing specific desires, goals, or outcomes into reality through focused thoughts, beliefs, and actions. The principle of the law of attraction suggests that positive or negative thoughts and energies attract corresponding experiences or circumstances into one’s life.

Manifestation techniques often involve visualization, positive affirmations, and setting clear intentions to align thoughts and actions with desired outcomes. While some may view manifestation as a spiritual or metaphysical practice, others approach it from a psychological perspective, emphasizing the power of mindset and intention in influencing behavior and outcomes. To manifest effectively, individuals can start by clarifying their goals, visualizing success, maintaining a positive mindset, and taking consistent action toward their aspirations. Integrating manifestation techniques with practical goal-setting strategies can help individuals focus their energy and attention on achieving desired outcomes while fostering a sense of empowerment and self-efficacy.

Manifesting is the practice of using the mind/human body/spirit connection to create a desire, wish, or goal in order to achieve tangible results (manifestation).(1) The core belief behind the science of manifestation is that if a person chooses to practice gratitude and focus on positive thoughts regarding a specific goal, they may be able to manifest positive outcomes.


Manifestation is not magical, and the individual who is looking to manifest something specific also has to take steps in their everyday life to achieve their goals. However, manifestation practices may help change negative thought patterns and allow people to utilize their subconscious minds to create their desired realities.(2)

  1. What is Manifestation?
  2. The Surprising Science of Manifestation
  3. How Does Manifestation Work?
  4. How Positive Thinking Can Help You Reach Your Goals
  5. When You Manifest Positive Things, You Get Positive Outcomes
  6. Sources

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A common manifestation mantra is “ask, believe, receive.” This mantra means if a person asks the universe, God, or higher power for something specific and believes in their heart that it’s already theirs, they will receive it. This belief is also referred to as the law of attraction.(3)

People use a variety of manifestation techniques to help achieve their goals and dreams. Some common practices include visualization, reciting affirmations, and writing down specific intentions and goals a person wishes to manifest.(4)

What is Manifestation?

Manifestation is the process of materializing specific desires or goals by channeling focused thoughts, beliefs, and actions into reality. Originating from New Thought philosophy, manifestation asserts that positive or negative thoughts attract corresponding experiences or circumstances into one’s life.

While manifestation is popularized as a method to achieve goals, it lacks empirical evidence to support its claims as a scientific phenomenon.

 Despite its widespread use and advocacy, scientific research has not provided conclusive evidence of manifestation’s effectiveness in bringing about desired outcomes.

 Many of the principles associated with manifestation rely heavily on subjective interpretations and anecdotal experiences rather than empirical validation. While the practice of manifestation may offer psychological benefits such as increased motivation and optimism, it is essential to approach it with a critical mindset and recognize its limitations as a scientifically unproven concept.

Manifestation Definition

The definition of manifestation is based on the theory of quantum physics that everything in the universe is energy. People who practice manifestation believe that the mind is a powerful tool. By aligning their energy with universal energy, they can manifest what they want in life. Specific manifestation and law of attraction techniques can vary from person to person.

However, the underlying goal in all manifestation techniques is to mentally release negative thoughts and feelings and replace them with positive beliefs and positive action. A person can do this through visualizing, journaling intentions and desires, and reciting positive affirmations. When someone visualizes what they want and trusts that their desires will manifest, they may naturally start to take positive actions in life that bring them closer to their goals.(6)

Is Manifestation Real?

There is no scientific proof that manifestation works in terms of individuals simply wishing something into existence. However, some research suggests that people may manifest positive things by believing they have the ability to do so. This means if a person believes they can achieve a goal such as landing a dream job or purchasing a home, they’re willing to take the necessary steps to make their dreams a reality.

For example, if a person wants to manifest a new job and they believe it will happen, they may instinctively use habitual action and exhibit determination to move closer to their goal. Whether it’s waking up each morning and submitting resumes to potential employers or taking business courses to sharpen their skills, these actions have the power to potentially manifest positive results.(7)

a woman reciting affirmations using the science of manifestation

The Surprising Science of Manifestation

The science behind manifestation pertains to the idea that replacing negative thoughts and feelings with positive thoughts and habitual action can naturally lead to positive results. In scientific terms, the manifestation process requires action on an individual’s part if they want to successfully achieve their goals.(8) 

For example, if someone has a dream of purchasing a home, they may use journaling manifestation techniques to achieve their goal. Journaling is a habitual action in which an individual records their goals and dreams in a notebook. The practice of writing out exactly what they want allows the idea to permeate the subconscious mind. This can result in taking action to create positive change and manifest their desires.

Examining the Science Behind Manifestation

No scientific studies confirm that manifestation or the law of attraction is real or that a person can manifest an idea with their mind. However, some researchers suggest that positive thoughts promote positive actions.(9) If a person has an idea or belief that they are destined for success, they may feel confident and behave in a way that aligns with achieving their desires.

The quantum theory law of attraction states that a person’s beliefs can affect their reality. When practicing manifestation, a person may be able to create a “placebo effect” in their subconscious mind and physical body. They use visualization to create a clear picture of their desire in their minds and imagine how they would truly feel in the moment if their wish were to materialize.(10)

The Placebo Effect

The placebo effect is a phenomenon in which individuals experience improvements in symptoms or outcomes after receiving a treatment or using a practice, such as manifestation, that has no active therapeutic effect.

This effect underscores the significant influence of beliefs, expectations, and perceptions on health and well-being. In the context of manifestation, the placebo effect shares similarities in the sense that one’s beliefs and mindset can influence outcomes. 

When people strongly believe in the power of manifestation to bring about positive change, they may experience a placebo-like effect, where their expectations shape their experiences and outcomes. However, it’s important to note that the placebo effect has its boundaries and may not be applicable to all situations or outcomes. While manifestation techniques can enhance motivation, confidence, and resilience, they may not always lead to tangible results or measurable changes, especially in cases where external factors play a significant role.

Understanding the placebo effect’s role and limitations can provide insights into how beliefs and perceptions influence outcomes in various aspects of life, including health, performance, and personal development. While manifestation practices can positively impact mindset and motivation, it’s crucial to maintain a balanced perspective and acknowledge that manifestation alone may not guarantee specific results. 

Integrating manifestation techniques with practical action steps and evidence-based strategies can enhance overall effectiveness and help individuals achieve their goals in a holistic manner.

Psychological Studies

Psychological studies have explored the connections between manifestation, optimism, goal-setting, and success, shedding light on their interplay in achieving desired outcomes. 

Research suggests that optimism, characterized by positive expectations about the future, is linked to resilience and adaptive coping strategies, which can contribute to greater success in various domains of life.[18]

Additionally, research has highlighted the importance of goal-setting in driving motivation and performance, emphasizing the effectiveness of setting specific, challenging, and achievable goals in enhancing success rates.[19]

While empirical research on manifestation specifically is limited, studies on positive psychology and mindset affirm the role of optimistic beliefs and goal-directed behaviors in fostering personal growth, achievement, and well-being.[20] By cultivating a positive mindset, setting clear goals, and aligning actions with intentions, individuals can enhance their chances of success and fulfillment in life.

Ethical Concerns

Manifestation practices, while often promoting positivity and goal achievement, also raise ethical concerns and the risk of self-delusion. 

One ethical concern revolves around the potential exploitation of vulnerable individuals by promising guaranteed outcomes through manifestation techniques, which may not always deliver tangible results. 

Moreover, the emphasis on manifestation as a means to control external circumstances may foster a mindset of entitlement or avoidance of personal responsibility, undermining efforts toward genuine growth and resilience. 

Additionally, the pursuit of manifestation without critical reflection or awareness of its limitations may lead individuals to engage in self-delusion, where they become overly reliant on wishful thinking and unrealistic expectations, potentially hindering their ability to navigate challenges effectively and adapt to setbacks with resilience and grace. 

Therefore, it is crucial for people to approach manifestation practices with discernment, ethical consideration, and a balanced perspective, recognizing the importance of taking proactive, ethical action in pursuit of their goals while acknowledging the inherent uncertainties and complexities of life.

Quantum Theory

Quantum theory states that everything in the universe is made of energy. When someone declares an intention and practices manifestation techniques to align their energy with universal energy, they can naturally tap into the gifts of the universe.

There are several quantum theory manifestation techniques. These include journaling, deep visualization, and meditation. The belief behind quantum theory is that everything an individual senses already exists in the universe. By utilizing manifestation techniques to visualize a specific desire and creating an internal belief that the desire is already fulfilled, quantum theory states that material manifestation can be achieved.(11)

The Law of Attraction

The law of attraction is one of the most well-known manifestation practices that utilizes quantum theory techniques to bring visions and thoughts to reality. People who practice the law of attraction believe that thoughts are energy atoms that can be manipulated to create a specific reality.(12)

In simpler terms, the law of attraction states that what an individual thinks or feels determines their reality, whether the thoughts or feelings are positive or negative.

For example, a person who is struggling financially may choose to believe and create the feeling that they are financially secure and surrounded by abundance. The law of attraction dictates that this person can create the reality of abundance by simply believing it is so.(13)

How Does Manifestation Work?

The theory behind how manifestation works is that by focusing thoughts, feelings, and actions on a specific goal, the law of attraction will help bring forth the desired outcome. People use manifestation techniques such as sitting in meditation, reciting positive affirmations, journaling, and visualizing to help solidify their beliefs and intentions in their subconscious mind.

Once the ideas are deeply ingrained, the person will release control over the outcome and allow the universe to make their desired situation happen naturally.(14)

Research has shown that maintaining a positive perspective and a belief in one’s own abilities can help create positive change, which can cause lifelong dreams and desires to manifest.(15)

a man wondering what manifestation is

How Positive Thinking Can Help You Reach Your Goals

Practicing positive thinking and using techniques such as reciting affirmations and visualizing can help individuals shift from negative thinking to positive. Over time, the practice of positive thinking can affect every aspect of everyday life, allowing for a new reality to take hold.

When a person commits to thinking positively and believes deep down that their goals are attainable, this can lead them to instinctively take actions toward manifesting a new reality.

Thinking positively can help improve self-esteem, which in turn can give a person the confidence boost they need to go for what they want in life. Positive thinking isn’t a magical cure for self-esteem issues or mental health problems. However, the practice encourages individuals to look at life with optimism and stop negative thoughts and self-doubt from interfering with their goals.(16)

Will Manifesting Help Me Get My Dream Job?

While practicing manifestation can’t guarantee that an individual will land their dream job, it may help them take habitual action to achieve their goals. Manifesting techniques such as visualization and practicing positive thinking can help a person halt negative beliefs that may be hindering their overall chance at success.

When a person commits to a manifestation process and chooses to believe that good things can happen with the power of positive thinking, they may be able to open their world to new opportunities.

However, it’s important to remember that manifesting is not magic, so the individual must actively participate in their own manifesting process. In relation to achieving a dream job, the person can take steps such as sending out resumes, contacting prospective employers, and building their skill set to match the job’s specific requirements.

Can Practicing Manifestation Boost Positive Emotions?

The science behind manifestation suggests that positive emotions, thoughts, and energy may help individuals attract positivity in their lives. When someone feels happy and content in their world, their positive emotions are naturally boosted.

While it’s natural for individuals to feel all types of emotions, ranging from sadness to elation, choosing to be positive is an important part of any manifestation process. By staying positive when practicing manifestation and putting trust in the universe or a higher power, individuals may instinctively feel optimistic when they look toward the future.(17)

When You Manifest Positive Things, You Get Positive Outcomes

When a person chooses to let go of their limiting beliefs and negative feelings and work toward manifesting good things in their everyday life, they may achieve positive results. There is no scientific evidence that a person can “think” their way into a new reality. However, setting a specific intention of aligning personal energy with the energy of the universe and believing wholeheartedly that goals are attainable can help people achieve goals. The power of positive thinking teaches individuals to intentionally change their thought patterns and beliefs to manifest positivity in their lives. By believing that anything can be achieved through positive thoughts, imagination, and universal guidance, individuals may develop a strong sense of self-confidence that helps them take the necessary steps to reach their goals.

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