What is manifestation and can it make me rich?

Credit: Sheena Tanna-Shah. Woman meditating with her children
Sheena practices meditation and manifestation with her children Credit: Sheena Tanna-Shah

Sheena Tanna-Shah learned about manifesting when she was at university in Cardiff. Since reading about it, she adopted the belief that if you "ask the universe for your goals and dreams" you will be supported and "the universe will deliver".

Sheena said she was "in a dark place struggling with anxiety and depression" but she tried meditation, writing out goals and "shouting things out to the university" and said this led to her life starting to change.

She said: "I manifested meeting certain inspiring people in my life, having my book published, meeting my soulmate at university in Cardiff when I was going through my darkest times, and succeeding at a career change from optometrist to wellbeing coach.

"These were all manifested through meditation, vision boards, crystals and raising my energy."

To many, this sounds too good to be true - but the amount of people wanting to discover more about manifesting has been rapidly increasing over the years and a growing number believe in the principles.

What is manifestation?

Manifestation is about turning thoughts, hopes or dreams into reality. People practice 'manifesting' in different ways, but most commonly it is achieved through practical steps, meditation and 'affirmations'.

Spiritual mindset coach Sonali Saujani describes an affirmation as: "A phrase or sentence you repeat to manifest something you want in your life.

"It should be in present tense such as 'my bank account is limitless' or 'I am so grateful for my brand new car it makes me feel so happy' or 'I am so lucky and feel so grateful to have the most loving relationship.'"

Manifestation grew in popularity following the release of Rhonda Byrne's bestselling self-help book The Secret in 2006. Since then, more and more people have wanted to try it.

The number of people searching 'manifesting' in Google has increased over the past five years Credit: Google Trends

Google searches for the word 'manifesting' increased dramatically over lockdown. The number of people Googling the term rose by 400% in August 2020 compared to before the pandemic.

Additionally, the hashtag 'manifesting' currently has 1.1 billion views on TikTok, with users uploading videos with tips on how to manifest something every day.

Thinking about your dreams and then watching them become a reality may seem unbelievable, but people like Sheena say it is worth a try.

“It might not work for everyone," she said.

"You may want something and it may not happen in the way you want it to but I believe everything happens for a reason. That’s what I really have faith in. 

“I’m now coaching people in Wales and across the world."

Part of manifestation is writing down your goals Credit: Sonali Saujani

Sonali Saujani agrees with Sheena. Sonali is a 'spiritual mindset coach' who says she teaches her clients that they can "manifest anything" and "have their dream lives". She specialises in money manifestation and says she has worked with clients who have "gone from debts to second properties, six-figure salaries and have bought their dream homes".

For people who want to try manifestation, Sonali recommends trying to spend five minutes each day doing 'affirmations'. She said this would involve "saying what [they are] grateful for and what [they are] currently manifesting." She then recommends taking deep breaths and sighing, which she said "calms the nerves and lowers stress".

Louise Reed said she got 'carried away' with manifesting Credit: Louise Reed

But not everyone who has tried manifesting has had a positive experience. Louise Reed, who lives in the Vale of Glamorgan, set up a business selling products for children three years ago.

Last year she did a course with a confidence coach who spoke about manifesting and helping people to achieve their goals.

Louise said: "I created vision board and amongst other things I manifested having my own warehouse on a small rural business park down the road from me. A few months later, I found out that one was now empty and up for rent. I got so excited as it was part of my vision!"

Louise took out the lease in October 2020, when she said her sales were growing well, particularly because of lockdown and Christmas approaching. But she said in the lockdown this year she had to spend more time looking after her children and could not do as much work.

Louise Reed spent time taking care of her children Eva and Dylan during lockdown Credit: Louise Reed

"I had to limit sales and cut back on advertising. Now lockdown is easing people aren't shopping online nearly as much as 2020, so sales are nowhere need where I need them to be to afford the warehouse."

Louise said she can no longer afford the space and business rates. She wants to move to a smaller warehouse but is now stuck in a contract until October.

She said learning about manifestation made her get "completely carried away rather than being practical and cautious".

"I feel due to my vision board and manifestation I was far too rash making a decision and didn’t do the numbers to make sure it was viable long term."

There is also a belief that if you think too much about negative things happening to you, those thoughts can become a reality or you can 'manifest' negativity into your life.

Nick Lambe, who runs a Covid testing business in Wales, said: "People do over time build up ‘self-limiting beliefs’ and think 'I'm not good enough, I'm not worthy'. I've seen people self-sabotage. They've got talent, skill but then blow it up for no apparent reason."

Although Nick said he would not necessarily use the word 'manifesting', he thinks that if you "pre-prepare your brain and understand how it functions you can get much more out of it."

He said practical steps such as focusing on your goals each day and coming up with plans to achieve them is likely to result in success.

Lee said some people are losing thousands of pounds from 'manifestation' scams Credit: leechambers.org

With the growing popularity of manifestation, there has also been growing exploitation. Psychologist Lee Chambers said he has concerns that many people are losing money from being scammed by so-called 'manifestation experts' with no real credentials.

Lee said: "There are people who I'd openly say are using the terminology unethically.

"Some 'manifestation coaches' might say you'll find your dream partner, you'll manifest a collection of designer shoes, money, etc...

"They're looking at a human need and seeing people who are in an unstable place knowing they'd put a lot of money towards things. They could lose thousands of pounds.

"People can benefit from manifestation without a coach, you could do it yourself... As human beings if we set an intention and focus on an outcome then we will become increasingly aware of making decisions that move us towards that."