Money, love, success … what if it was enough to think very hard for it to materialize? It is the principle of “manifesting”, a mixture of positive thinking and magical rituals, that invaded social networks in the United States during the pandemic.
Wearing a scarf, crystal around her neck, 19-year-old Baila Salifou explains how to make her dearest wishes come true using two glasses of water, Post-it sheets and a lot of imagination. His video has been viewed nearly 500,000 times on the TikTok app.
Write the same sentence hundreds of times in a notebook, visualize your desires mentally, repeat them aloud as if they had already occurred, meditate using crystals or candles, all methods of “manifesting” which abound on the internet.
It is the idea “that by imagining something that you really want, these things will occur”, summarizes with AFP, Gabriele Oettingen, professor of psychology at the University of New York. “It’s a tempting shortcut to making your dreams come true.”
If the phenomenon of positive thinking, born in the 19th century in the United States with the New Thought movement and popularized by Rhonda Byrne’s documentary “The Secret” in 2006, is not new, it is enjoying renewed success. among young Americans since the pandemic.
TikTok, a popular social network among adolescents, has a billion videos viewed with the hashtag “manifesting”, while this term has been used in nearly two million Instagram posts.
Baila Salifou discovered the “manifesting” in 2018 but did not start posting videos on TikTok until last February. His account already has more than 110,000 subscribers.
“I’ve always been a person for whom when they think about something and really focus on it, it becomes reality,” says the Maryland student.
The young woman claims to have succeeded in “manifesting” – understanding materialize – the sum of 2000 dollars in various sales but also a romantic relationship, after having written it in her diary.
Maria Concha, coach of “manifesting” for three years, is delighted for her part of her next vacation to the Turks and Caicos Islands in July, the result of her many sessions of “mental visualization”, according to her.
“I had the best year of my business during the pandemic,” says the 33-year-old, who offers private coaching sessions from $ 5,000 per session.
This new viral trend, criticized as a “pseudoscience” by its detractors, has indeed given rise to a plethora of paid courses and programs to teach neophytes the art of positive thinking.
“The pandemic has given people time to think about where they are in their life, if they are happy, and has forced them to see things with new eyes, and to be more open-minded”, analysis Ms. Concha, who lives in New York.
For Denise Fournier, psychotherapist in Miami, “manifesting” is more attractive because it gives a “feeling of control” over our environment at a time when most people, and especially adolescents, think that COVID-19 has caused them to lose. control over their lives.
“Many adolescents and young adults have inherited a world that seems gloomy to them,” notes Denise Fournier. “It seems to respond to absurd logic to them, their outlook is unstable, which can create a lot of anxiety and a feeling of chaos.”
In this context, according to her, it is logical that the idea of becoming the architect of one’s own life appears very attractive thanks to “a certain formula”.
The psychotherapist recognizes, however, that “manifesting” can easily turn into an “unrealistic” and “superficial” practice if it is not followed by a real commitment to her ambitions.
“If we only fantasize and assume that things will materialize, it will not happen,” says Gabriele Oettingen, author of a study on the risks of positive thinking, published in 2014.
“Our research has shown that the more people fantasize about their future, the less depressed they are at the time, but the more depressed they are in the long term due to their lack of effort and lack of success,” he explains. it.
An observation shared by Maria Concha for whom “manifesting” and visualization always work in association with a form of action.
“If you don’t have a clear idea of your goal, how do you want to act?” She emphasizes.