Can You 'Manifest' Wealth? What To Know About This Controversial Topic
People often talk about "manifesting" your wealth—what does that mean, and does it work?
"I used to use 'manifesting' language in my practice, but I've since stopped; now I say 'create,' which I think more accurately reflects what's happening," says financial therapist Bari Tessler. "Because having a healthy relationship with money really comes down to not only having positive thoughts about money, but it's about the practical end, too. It's a combo of envisioning and hard work."
So what does this look like day-to-day? Well, the "envisioning" (or what some people describe as manifesting) comes into play in two ways: shifting negative self-talk around money and setting goals.
"Thinking positive thoughts about your relationship with money is always a good thing: Just start by realizing you might have negative thoughts and reframing them to something more gentle and kind," says Tessler. "A negative thought can spiral, and it's something you want to pull yourself out of by shifting your mentality." She notes this may look like someone constantly telling themselves that they're "just not good with budgeting" or that they "just don't know how to negotiate for more." By framing yourself this way, it makes it hard to envision changing.
From there? "Set an intention," says Tessler, who also calls these "financial ceilings." This can range from things like I'd like to increase my hourly rate for projects, or I'd like to save a certain amount of money, to I'd like to put a down payment on a house. "You want your financial ceilings to be realistic: something you can reasonably meet so you don't get discouraged," she says. "And yes sometimes you can have a large jump toward a goal, but often it happens in smaller increments."
So now that we've defined manifesting—or whatever term you want to use to describe it—does it, uh, work? "Setting an intention is wonderful, but it's only one part of it. You need to put in the practical steps too. Many people think the only thing you need to do is 'put it out there,'" says Tessler.
And your practical steps will vary based on your intention. If it's saving more, it will likely mean you need to create or redo your monthly budget to accommodate. If it's asking for more at work, come up with a game plan as to why you deserve it and how you plan to present that to your employers.
Here's a very real-world example from Tessler: "When my husband and I were looking to buy a house, we set that as our goal and did the work to back it up. We researched what neighborhoods we could afford, what we wanted out of home, how much we could spend. We looked all around our city looking for the right fit. And we started talking to people about our plan and goal. Eventually, a friend emailed us a listing that was everything we wanted, and we went to check it out as fast as we could. Sure, we got the home because we put the intention out there—but we also got it because we had done the necessary work prior."
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.