“Let’s make law of attraction detox centers around the country…we’re almost at that point.”
Working on manifesting a goal can be exciting and fun. Watching synchronicities line up and getting affirmation that you’re on the right track can even feel magical at times. But what if your desire to manifest something is less unicorns and pixie dust and more anxiety and despair?
For many people who learn about manifesting techniques such as affirmations and visualization, there’s an initial excitement and feeling of expansiveness. Despite their appeal, however, manifesting techniques don’t always deliver the instantaneous quantum leaps that people expect. It can take time to manifest an important goal even if you are doing everything right. What do you do in the meantime?
Do you go about your regular life? Or, do you obsess about the goal as though your happiness depends it?
If you’re living in anticipation of the future and have lost appreciation for your day to day life, it may be time to evaluate the emotional toll that manifesting is taking on you. Check in and see if anxiety, frustration, despair, and emotional instability have actually increased as a result of your manifestation practices.
If focusing on manifesting no longer feels good, it may be time to take a temporary break to reset and center yourself.
3 Signs You Might Need a Manifesting Break
1. Your Efforts are Affecting Your Emotional Health
If focusing on manifesting is contributing to anxiety, mood instability, or despair, you know that it’s time to take a break.
Anxiety related to manifesting might look like: chronic worry about running out of time to manifest your goal; trying to force yourself to be happy all of the time due to a fear of not manifesting something unless you are always positive; fear and avoidance of negative thoughts or emotions; fear that your fears will come true; anxiety about not being high vibe enough; being excessively afraid of people because you believe that their low vibes will harm you; and fear-fueled impulsive actions that create more problems than they solve.
I’ve seen this type of anxiety increase in my private practice over the last few years as the cultural interest in manifesting and “good vibes only” has grown. I call it Low Vibe Anxiety.
Sometimes Low Vibe Anxiety is a passing phase that occurs in the beginning stages of a spiritual journey. At other times, it starts a vicious cycle of overcomplicating your life that impairs functioning and contributes to a diagnosable anxiety disorder.
In some cases, the extreme concerns and behaviors around manifesting beliefs and practices are indications of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) rather than anxiety. For example, if you have OCD, your beliefs about the law of attraction could cause you to become so afraid of intrusive negative thoughts that you constantly try to mentally “delete” them. If you’re interested in learning more about how OCD and spiritual beliefs and practices can become problematic, stay tuned to an upcoming post which will cover the topic in greater detail.
Mood instability related to manifesting goals might look like: excessive elation when things are going well quickly followed by rage when things don’t go your way; lack of emotional balance; being emotionally triggered easily and often; and lack of genuine peaceful emotions.
Despair related to manifesting might look like: hopelessness; feelings of worthlessness; blaming yourself for something negative you believe you attracted; spiraling into guilt and shame about what you have and have not manifested; loss of energy; lack of purposeful action; and helplessness. If this type of despair continues, seeking treatment for depression may be warranted.
2. Your Search for Signs and Solutions is Becoming Unhealthy
Looking for signs and solutions is something that many of us do when we feel lost and confused. We need some guidance and welcome the opportunity to get it. However, when our search turns into an obsession with needing answers, it’s likely that an unhealthy level of fear has taken over and needs to be addressed directly.
An excessive search for signs and solutions is often fueled by two things: 1. The belief that we need perfect certainty that something bad has not or will not happen. 2. The belief that there is one correct solution to every problem and that anything less than perfect is inadequate.
An unhealthy search for signs and answers might look like: an intolerance of uncertainty; fearing that something bad will happen if you don’t get the answer; constantly asking everyone for their opinions and reassurance; and not being able to go about your normal activities because you are consumed with the search for signs and solutions.
If you identify as spiritual, this might also look like constantly pulling oracle cards and excessively searching for lucky numbers or signs that you are headed in the right direction.
Again, behaviors such as looking for lucky numbers can be healthy and normal in moderation. If they create a significant level of concern or impact your functioning, however, consulting with a mental health professional would be warranted.
3. You’ve Checked Out of the Present
To be a conscious manifestor, you need to be present. Once you check out of the now in anticipation of the future, you miss any chance you have at experiencing the flow of life. When you’re in the flow, you feel a sense of curiosity and wonder and have a genuine appreciation for the ordinary. You also experience a deep sense of calm as you pursue your goals.
The flow is also how you connect to your intuition. Yes, helpful synchronicities will be more likely to show up and you’ll be more likely to notice them. Rather than obsessing over having a constant supply of synchronicities, however, you’ll be delighted by their appearance and move on to the next moment.
You’ll know when you’re out of the flow because it will seem as if nothing is working.
If you live in the present moment, you feel fulfilled because you’re experiencing the fullness of being alive. A deep sense of calm washes over your goals because they’re just icing on the cake of feeling alive. That’s where you want to manifest from because you already feel abundant.
According to spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, if you’ve checked out of the present, you won’t feel the fullness of life. Instead, you’ll feel lack and seek it from somewhere in the future.
Checking out of the present might look like: you live as though you’re just waiting for something to happen; you believe in scarcity and see others as obstacles or people to be manipulated; you live in your head and are rarely present in your body; you spend an excessive amount of time thinking about, talking about, imagining, and planning for the future; you’re desperately attached to specific outcomes; you over-focus on doing and spend little time being; and you’re consumed with changing your negative thoughts into positive ones because you identify with your thoughts rather than the awareness behind them.
While being more mindful is called for if you want to be a conscious manifestor, it’s so much more than that. It’s about the realization that the manifestation journey isn’t just a means to an end. Life is meant to be lived, not to be anticipated. If you live in a constant state of anticipation, you are going to miss the very thing you’re here for.
Manifesting can be a wonderful practice, but not if it harms your life or makes you miss it entirely.
Tips for Taking a Manifesting Break
If you decide that a manifesting break is something you need, what do you focus on instead?
Focusing on emotional wellness is the fastest way to reclaim your emotional health and recover the vitality you’ll need to eventually reengage with your goals in a healthy way.
Here are 7 tips for making the process of reclaiming your emotional health easier.
1. Seek Support
Consider therapy if your emotional health has declined and is affecting your functioning. Whether over-focusing on manifesting has contributed to or even caused anxiety, depression, or OCD symptoms, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Let your loved ones know what you need and allow them to support you as well.
2. Give Yourself a Trial Period
Taking a break can be hard, so start small. Give yourself the day off from focusing on your goal then slowly build from there until you genuinely feel better and don’t go back to your old patterns. Ultimately, a few weeks or even a few months might be most beneficial because a consistent effort over time is what it takes to rewire your brain and break a pattern.
3. Focus on Things You Love
What’s going right in your life? What did you enjoy before manifesting took over your life? Who are the people in your life who support you? Who could benefit from your appreciation? When was the last time you danced to your favorite feel-good playlist? Do you actually savor your meals or scarf them down while scrolling? When was the last time you sang along at a concert or felt moved to tears during a pivotal scene in a play?
Focusing on things you love with presence can revive you in ways that nothing else can. Remember how full the moment can be and start living in it.
4. Be Compassionate with Yourself
You’ll be tempted to continue over-focusing on manifesting because it is still a habit. Be kind to yourself and gently guide yourself back when your attention strays back to manifesting. Remember that self-compassion is an ongoing practice rather than an arrived at state. Practice saying kind things to yourself when you’re struggling such as: This is a hard moment. May I be kind to myself right now. May I give myself what I need.
5. Practice Sitting with Uncomfortable Feelings
We can’t always change our feelings, but we can change how we respond to them. Start to change your relationship with uncomfortable feelings by seeing them as something natural and temporary that you can tolerate and even embrace. The more you practice sitting with emotions, the better you get at it.
6. Learn Some Self-Soothing Tools
When sitting with an emotion just isn’t happening for you, practice healthy self-soothing instead. Self-soothing isn’t about avoiding emotions, it’s about making the choice to reduce your stress response in a healthy way before you process an emotion.
Here are some things you can do to self-soothe: use a weighted blanket; take a shower; use aromatherapy; put on comfy clothes; listen to relaxing music; exercise; read; have a warm cup of tea; watch your favorite movie; hum, sing, or play a musical instrument; dance; use a fidget or sensory toy; do a guided meditation intended for relaxation; or go into nature. You can also make a self-soothing bag so that you’re always prepared to cope well with emotional distress. Experiment with different options and see what works for you.
7. Evaluate the Health of Your Beliefs
The reality is that something can be both true and unhelpful at the same time (and yes, some things can be just untrue and unhelpful).
For example, while the original intention behind a spiritual belief such as the law of attraction may be to empower you, it can also wreak havoc on your emotional life if it triggers an inflated sense of responsibility and substantially lowers your tolerance for the normal ebbs and flows of positive and negative thoughts and emotions.
Take some time to evaluate some of the beliefs you have around manifesting and spirituality and see if they are too rigid to be healthy for you right now. For example, if you hold the manifestation belief that “thoughts become things” and it contributes to feeling anxious and policing all of your thoughts, you could consider altering the belief to thoughts are just thoughts and my heart’s intentions become things.
If you need help evaluating whether your beliefs are inflexible and causing harm, you can consult with a mental health professional who is willing to work collaboratively with trusted spiritual leaders.
Hopefully, you’ll soon discover that loosening your grip on manifesting and allowing flow and emotional vitality back into your life is possible. Once you start to feel better, try not to reinstate a strict agenda. Be open and flexible as you pursue your dreams with peace and presence. Most importantly, remember to take occasional mental health breaks rather than give up on your dreams prematurely.
I’d love to hear from you. Do you stop to take a break from manifesting when you need to?