“Manifestation” is a popular new trend focused on helping people achieve their goals through harnessing the Law of Attraction. Put simply: if you can actively visualize yourself achieving your goal, you can make it a reality. Manifestation journaling takes this concept one step further, encouraging you to consciously and consistently write down your intentions, change your mindset, and manifest the life you want.
In this blog, you’ll learn about the origins and methods behind manifestation journaling and why you may want to consider adding it to your wellness toolbox:
What Is Manifestation?
Manifestation is about transforming abstract or imaginary ideas into reality. Like the Law of Attraction, it directs your focus on the things you want most out of life, drawing them closer to you so they manifest in your life in reality.
What is Manifestation Journaling and How Does it Help?
Manifestation journaling involves writing your goals and dreams down in a journal. There are some clear advantages to doing this, not only for improving your future but for managing your present life:
Journaling has been a popular and effective tool in psychotherapy for decades due to its effectiveness in helping people express their emotions. A wealth of research shows that writing about your feelings can alleviate negative emotions. For example, it has in some cases lowered depression scores 1, even by journaling as little as 20 minutes a day for three consecutive days. 2 It has also been shown to help some people reduce burnout and provide many other positive effects. 3
Manifestation journaling is a category of therapeutic journaling that can help you identify your current obstacles to success and inspire you to overcome them. 4
To help make your dreams a reality, make an inventory of your resources. What assets do you have in terms of your skills, experience, and education; family and friends who support your goals; a financial cushion and alternative streams of income; and acquaintances who can connect you to additional resources? Setting aside space in your journal to record these assets will remind you of what you’re grateful for, which alone can have transformative benefits for mental health. 5
Focusing closely on the pen in your hand while tuning into your thoughts and feelings puts you in a mindful state—a state of concentration centering you in the present. Mindfulness is not a new practice: it’s been around in different forms for thousands of years and has recently been incorporated into Western wellness interventions. Research indicates mindfulness can have numerous benefits, including reducing stress, rumination, emotional reactivity, and increasing working memory, cognitive flexibility, and focus. 6
Journaling involves sorting through the jumble of material in your mind to isolate what’s important to you. Manifestation journaling, with its focus on goals and dreams, brings your innermost desires to the surface and reveals what’s standing in your way. Working with the right prompts, you can identify negative thoughts and emotions making it difficult for you to move ahead. As you continue with your journaling practice, you’ll connect these negative thoughts and feelings to themes and patterns in your life. Once these patterns become clear to you, they’ll help point you to a clear path through the fog toward the fulfillment of your dreams.
Charting a path to the future is a challenging undertaking, but once you start your manifestation journal, you’ll have taken the first step: making your dreams explicit. The next step is to figure out how you’ll reach your goals. Fortunately, there is plenty of evidence-based advice on goal setting available. The most prominent one is the efficacy of SMART goals—goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and have a particular time frame.7 Although these smaller goals may sometimes seem far removed from your big-picture dreams and desires, they are vital steppingstones to achieving what you want in life.
How to Make the Most of Your Journaling Practice?
Many tools are available for manifestation journaling, even some apps to get you started on your journey (including the Mindshift app, or this manifest journaling technique that has taken the TikTok world by storm). Here are some top tips to get the most of whichever method feels like the best fit for you:
- Be honest with yourself about your thoughts and feelings. Your journal is for you, so use it as a space where you can unload all the stuff troubling you and record things that make you hopeful and give you energy.
- Recognize you won’t always make steady progress. Setbacks are a normal part of the journey; try to learn from them.
- Shift your mindset to one of accomplishment. Assume you will succeed, and if you don’t, take the opportunity to re-evaluate and recalibrate.
- Prioritize your journaling time—rather than fitting it in where you can, make it a non-negotiable part of your schedule.
Manifestation journaling can be a powerful tool to achieve the things you want most in life, helping enhance your mental health along the way. However, it doesn’t happen on its own. Seek advice from those you respect and trust, surround yourself with a strong support system, seek professional help when you need it, and be prepared to invest your energy and time. With a bit of dedication and the right attitude, you’ll get to where you want to be.
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- 1 Suhr, M., Risch, A. K., Wilz, G. (2017) Maintaining mental health through positive writing: Effects of a resource diary on depression and emotion regulation
- 2 Krpan, K. M., Kross, E., Berman, M. G. Deldin, P.J., Askren, M. K., Jonides, J. (2013).
An everyday activity as a treatment for depression: The benefits of expressive writing for people diagnosed with major depressive disorder
- 3 Dimitroff, L J. Sliwoski, L., O’Brien, S., & Nichols, L. W. (2016). Change your life through journaling–The benefits of journaling for registered nurses
- 4 Benefits of journaling
- 5 Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 377-389
- 6 Benefits of mindfulness
- 7 SMART goals
- 8 A guide to manifestation journaling
- 9 CMHA Mindfulness Brochure