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These days, you can’t enter a bookshop or scroll social media without coming across the term “manifesting.”

And, having seen it pop up countless times, we knew we needed to get to the bottom of it. We’ve done our fair share of research on the topic: read the books, completed the programs, and consumed the podcasts–so we could take everything we absorbed and provide you with a personal 101.

First things first: what is manifesting?

Manifesting expert (and author of Manifest, one of our favorite books we read as research for this article) Roxie Nafousi defines manifesting as “a self-development practice that will enable you to reach for your goals, cultivate self-love, and live your best life.”

When many people think of manifesting, they think of visualizing a fabulous outfit or the perfect partner and suddenly seeing it come to fruition. The expert consensus? Sure, you can manifest material things, if you want–but it’s really not the point. The point is to empower yourself to act like the type of person you want to be–who likely has a number of the things you want, incidentally. Ultimately, it’s a confidence game; a living embodiment of the oft-repeated phrase “your energy attracts your reality.”

How does manifesting work?

Start by deciding what you want
Nafousi’s book offers a seven-step guide to manifesting. Her first step, which aligns with every other manifesting expert out there (from Lacy Phillips to Dr. Tara Swart to Mimi Bouchard) is “be clear on your vision.” In order to manifest the life you desire, you need to know what you want.

If you’re not sure, create a vision board
For many, “knowing what you want” is the hardest part. That’s why both Nafousi and Swart (neuroscientist and author of the excellent book The Source) swear by drawing inspiration from outside sources like books, magazines, movies, and, yes, even Instagram. If you find images that inspire you or align with a vision of how you want to live your life, cut them out to put on a physical board, create a secret Pinterest board–or whatever method works for you.

Once you’ve completed your board, Nafousi recommends hiding it. Her philosophy? If it’s out in the open for everyone to see, you might be more reluctant to include some of your loftier goals.

Still not sure? Look at who you’re jealous of.

Manifesting expert Lacy Phillips calls them “expanders.” One of the steps in Nafousi’s book is “turn envy into inspiration.” The common thread? There’s more than enough to go around. Many people grow up with a “scarcity mindset,” meaning that when they see someone do something, they believe they’ve cornered that market, and that they can’t do it too. It’s why you’ll often hear an aspiring author or artist look at a piece of writing or painting and say, “I could do that.” Phillips and Nafousi suggest reframing feelings of bitterness around others’ accomplishments. When you see someone achieving something you want to achieve, instead of asking yourself “why them?,” remind yourself that seeing them do it is simply a reminder from the universe that you can do it too.

Next, act as if

Once you’ve gotten clear on what you want to manifest (and it’s fine to focus on multiple things at once), it’s time to act like you already have it. It might sound counterintuitive, but, according to Superhuman founder Mimi Bouchard, the best way to achieve what you desire is to become the type of person who already has it.

Again, this is about energy. Nafousi’s book also follows this philosophy–the second and third steps in her guide are: 2. remove fear and doubt (aka, believe that you can achieve what you want to achieve) and 3. align your behavior (otherwise known as ‘acting as if’).

Want to manifest a career change? That doesn’t mean quitting your job with no savings and no prospects. It means imagining how you’d act if you already had the career of your dreams, and then proceeding to act that way. Maybe it means investing in a top-of-the-line coffee machine so you’re able to stay alert, energized and productive all day, which could lead to a promotion at your job, which could lead to you saving enough money to take a risky career leap. Maybe it means investing in a business coach to help you get closer to your desired trajectory, or maybe it means something else altogether. Only you will know.

If you’re not sure what “acting as if” means, start by trying to feel two emotions every day: self-love and gratitude (both emotions are key to a successful manifesting practice; two of Nafousi’s seven steps are “embrace gratitude without caveats” and “cultivate self-love).

The belief is that the things you desire will only come to you if you love yourself enough to believe you deserve them. And gratitude is the ultimate way to cultivate an abundance mindset and rid yourself of the scarcity mentality that may be blocking you from achieving what you want.

Finally, trust that everything is happening FOR you

One of the most universal tips of manifesting is trusting the universe. We often find ourselves repeating self-development expert Gabby Bernstein’s favorite phrase “it’s this or something better.” When you don’t get what you thought you wanted, it’s imperative to trust that that’s because something better is on its way to you (in manifesting, this is often referred to as a test from the universe–a frequent theme in both Phillips and Nafousi’s–two of her steps being “trust the universe” and “overcome tests from the universe”–work).

Most importantly: the law of GOYA.

Finally, take a page from personal development expert John Assaraf’s book, and live by “the law of GOYA.” Put bluntly, “GOYA” stands for “get off your ass.” Assaraf believes that energy and vision boards–while powerful, can only take you so far. “The last six letters of ‘attraction’ are ‘action,” Assaraf states. His take? Once you know what you want, you’ll know what you need to do to achieve it. Yes, that means aligning your behavior and being open to receiving–but it also means putting in the work. And when you combine a clear vision with aligned energy and inspired action–that’s when the magic happens.

And that’s it! Our comprehensive breakdown of everything you need to know about manifesting.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Casa de Suna.


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