…what you give comes back to you.
by Julia R., NAMI Mercer Spring 2023 Intern
Over the past few years, across all social media platforms, I have noticed an increase in talk of affirmations, keeping a positive perspective in life, and manifesting. Affirmations help remind you of your worth through short statements such as “I am enough,” “I am capable of achieving my goals,” or “I am trying my best.” Keeping a positive perspective in life can also help maintain happiness: this can be embodied through not taking things too personally, being happy for others’ success, and celebrating your own wins in life, no matter how small. Manifesting is the practice of making one’s dreams or goals come true by visualizing them. This is similar to affirmations, but while affirmations are meant to remind you of things that are true, manifesting is meant to envision new goals for yourself.
These social media posts often include several ways to implement these practices in one’s life. After seeing these posts for some time, I decided to do a little more research to try to figure out if these methods actually are effective. In my “research” on TikTok and Instagram, I found several posts talking about the law of attraction. The law of attraction states that positive thoughts lead to positive outcomes in a person’s life, and negative thoughts lead to negative outcomes.
I was skeptical of this at first: I couldn’t believe how easy this seemed. However, I decided to put my doubts aside and attempt to put this into practice. I’m not going to lie: in the beginning, it was not easy. My old thoughts and habits clashed with the new ones, so it took some time to acclimate. Once I adjusted, I noticed differences in my day-to-day life. Overall, I was happier, found myself more grateful for the small things, had a more positive outlook, and saw growth in my mental well-being.
If you’re still skeptical, no worries! It does seem too good to be true, but there is actually scientific evidence to prove the validity of this phenomenon: the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS “is a network of neurons located in the brain stem” that helps determine behavior. The RAS takes inputs from our environment and thoughts and translates them into our reality. Our brains are constantly looking to make sense of the human experience through evidence. If your thoughts are negative, your brain will find ways to make this a reality. However, if your thoughts are positive, your brain will search for evidence to prove your thoughts correct.
I adopted this practice only about four months ago, but I have truly never been happier. While I used to become extremely anxious and upset if something went wrong, I now have the mindset that everything happens for a reason, so I try to recognize the positive aspects of every situation. I encourage everyone to implement some of these practices into their daily lives, and see just how much your life can change!
Some of my favorite practices include:
- Immediately after waking up, think of 5 things you are grateful for
- Write in a journal consistently – once a day, every other day, once a week, or however often works for you!
- Practice positive self-talk and affirmations
- Recognize that there are positives even in unfavorable situations
- Live in the present moment: don’t ruminate on the past!
Goetz, C. G. (Ed.). (2007). Textbook of clinical neurology (Vol. 355). Elsevier Health Sciences.
Scott, E. (2022, November 7). Let the law of attraction help you with positive change. Verywell Mind. Retrieved April 13, 2023, from https://www.verywellmind.com/understanding-and-using-the-law-of-attraction-3144808