The idea of manifesting thoughts can sound exciting. If I think hard enough and have the right mindset, I’ll get all the things I want in my life. Sounds great right? In this video, let's talk about why manifesting and the law of attraction can be harmful to your mental health. Especially if you have OCD or anxiety.
The word ‘manifestation' means to create something or turn something from an idea into a reality. In psychology, manifestation generally means using our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs to bring something to our physical reality. Now, there is a difference between wanting something and having a great mindset to achieve it... vs. using the idea of manifesting to get what you want. Some believe that you must do certain behaviors to get what you want. If I want to attract someone else and move them closer to me, I can start by thinking really hard, putting all my energy into this thought. Using meditation, to really visualize that person coming into your life. I picture it all, I’m feeling like I want it to happen. I may be using mantras and using words like, “I’m going to get together with that person” or “when we date, we’re going to watch a lot of movies.” Some use scripting, where they will write out what they desire and be confident they are going to get that thing. Seems pretty harmless right? Maybe it's just confidence. I want something sooo incredibly bad that I simply have a commanding, positive attitude about it and expect it to happen.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of someone else’s manifesting? It’s like saying, someone else has control over you. For some reason you’re all of a sudden drawn to them. My body is moving toward the door, I know think this person is attractive.... It’s saying their thoughts made something happen.
Me having a positive attitude about getting a job, being confident, using mantras doesn’t guarantee me a job. I have to WORK for it. Positive thoughts are wonderful and great, they can bring motivation to move toward things we want and achieve our dreams, but NOTHING is guaranteed. Having this mindset that our thoughts made something happen trains our brain to make connections that are complete guesses. Maybe, I got the job because I was qualified and they liked my personality. This video isn’t about not having positive thoughts. It’s about understanding the dangers of thinking your thoughts are going to make something happen.
There is something called the law of attraction, of which I agree with. It says that you "will attract into your life whatever you focus on." Agreed..... But Here is danger. What happens when you start having intrusive thoughts? The thoughts that just won’t stop. You don’t have control over how many times you have them. You have thoughts about something bad happening. You have negative thoughts about someone else. You have negative thoughts about yourself. These thoughts can be sexual in nature, harm related, religious and just plain random. A thought like, "you're going to throw your baby down the stairs" --- Will my brain now believe that I am manifesting something. It's likely, if I believe and follow the manifesting mindset. The brain lives in fear and prevents something bad from happening when in reality, a thought is a thought. Then it applies to the negative intrusive thoughts. My intrusive thought says, something bad is going to happen as school and tells you this 100 times. With manifesting and the "law of attraction", you must now believe that something bad will now happen.
Individuals who struggle with OCD and anxiety often think that their thoughts mean something great. Anxiety warns them of this danger, so they must follow it right? This is called thought action fusion. Because I have a certain thought, it will now manifest into something real. This affects our mental health because we will now see all thoughts with a lot of meaning. It may stop us from living the life we want because of the fears associated with having a thought that you did not choose to have.
What’s even scarer is the tips those teaching how to manifest. For instance, advice given is to use the 5x55 technique. Write down what you want to happen 55 times for 5 days strait. Hello, does this not sound like a compulsion. Something you are choosing to do to get a desired outcome that you have zero control over. In fact, it plays with magical thinking OCD. People do behaviors to avoid negative situations from happening. Things that actually wouldn't have happened, but just in case, I'll do tap this thing a few times.
Ultimately, here’s the deal. If you want something positive in your life. Be confident, move towards your goals. If it happens it happens. Live and enjoy life. Not get stuck in thinking our thoughts alone will make something happen. I would love love love a million dollars, maybe, if I put all my energy into thinking about having it, I write it down a thousand times, I am confident I will have it....dude, it may show up in my mailbox. Does that sound silly? It does to me.
Thoughts are not facts. Thoughts are thought. It’s an electrical signal that spreads like a wave of a thousand neurons. The only power we have after a thought is formed is what we’re going to do with it. So if I want a million dollars, I'm going to work for it. I'm going to have a positive mindset. I'm not going to magically "manifest" it into my life or my mailbox. Maybe we change the word manifesting to to plain old planning. My goals are get a promotion at work. I'm going to write this down and create steps for me to achieve it. I will evaluate my goals and change things as needed.
how to manifest thoughts
magical thinking ocd
Nathan Peterson, LCSW
OCD can be tricky! I want to provide useful information for your OCD, anxiety, tics, tourette's, BFRBs, and many other anxiety related disorders.