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3 Signs You Need to Take a Break from Manifesting

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“Let’s make law of attraction detox centers around the country…we’re almost at that point.”

-Matt Kahn

Working on manifesting a goal can be exciting and 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 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 live in the moment or constantly worry about the outcome? If focusing on manifesting no longer feels good, it may be time to evaluate the toll it’s taking on your mental health and consider 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 because you believe that negative emotions repel and positive emotions attract; excessively worrying that your negative thoughts will come true; trying to suppress negative thoughts; 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 are interested in learning more about the law of attraction and OCD, I address the topic in depth in another post.  

Mood instability related to manifesting goals might look like: excessive elation when things are going well quickly followed by rage or despair when things don’t go your way; lack of emotional balance; being emotionally triggered easily and often; and moods being tied to goals and productivity levels.

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. These obsessions and behaviors can indicated OCD.

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

Once you check out of the now in anticipation of the future, you’re less likely to experience and enjoy 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’re also more likely to experience calm and resilience 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.

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 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; or you over-focus on doing and spend little time being.

It’s important to remember that the manifestation journey isn’t just a means to an end. Life is meant to be lived, not 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 3 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. In addition to therapy, find spiritual communities and friends who support your mental health as well as your spiritual development. If they don’t support your mental health, it might be wise to ask why that’s the case.

2. Be Compassionate with Yourself

Be kind to yourself when you’re tempted to over-focus on manifesting again. 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.

3. 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.


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 to stay open, flexible, and detached from the outcome.  Most importantly, remember to take occasional mental health breaks rather than give up on your dreams prematurely.

If you’d like to get help with healing from manifestation beliefs and practices that are triggering or exacerbating mental health symptoms, I created a course called Healing from Negative Manifestation Experiences.

I’d love to hear from you. Do you stop to take a break from manifesting when you need to?

Ask Dr. Kress
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I have been manifesting a specific person to the point of making me crazy. I have become obsessed with feeling like if I don’t manifest it won’t happen. I am taking a break to focus on me and focus on my self worth instead of letting disappointment and rejection define my worth. Your article was very insightful. Thank you

I’m so glad to hear that the article was helpful! Taking a break from manifesting something to focus on ourselves can be so healing. I wish you the best!

Thanks so much for this! I’ve been manifesting for years and although I’ve had successes, I’ve been in a rut now when I’m “trying” to manifest a stretch money goal. At first I was doing ok maintaining a positive vibe, but after a few weeks of doing the inner work of maintaining that vibe without results, I feel the exhaustion. At that point, I knew I’m burnt out and in need of a manifesting break!

Also, I’d like to say that I love your approach in Trauma-based manifesting! Most of my money blocks and limiting beliefs were from my parents who are narcissists and have deep trauma themselves, and no wonder I had so much guilt and shame around money that of course, I can’t manifest the money. It was only when I accepted myself and healed those wounds that the money started flowing in. But man, for the longest time of following all these teachers and doing all the basic manifesting stuff, none worked! So thank you so much for acknowledging that there is a missing piece to this manifesting thing!

Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Tiffany! Taking a break from manifesting can allow us to reset and try a more healing approach. It really is the missing piece!

this is SUCH a helpful post. I’ve been looking for this exact thing to try to explain what happens sometimes with me. thank you for sharing it.

So glad you found this helpful, Alex! You’re welcome and I wish you the best!

I used to enjoy practicing manifestation. It was something I did for a few minutes everyday and forgot about it for the rest of the day and it was fun to do. But lately my ocd got a bit bad but I quickly recovered from it. But I think it caused something bad. Now when I sit down to manifest it makes me anxious about visualization and getting the details right. And even if the manifestation practice felt good, I then start to think what if I’m not able to visualize properly and feel it the next time I sit down to practice it. So I went from enjoying the practice to feeling anxious about it.

Thanks for sharing your experience. Unfortunately, manifestation practices can sometimes increase anxiety and OCD symptoms. Psychotherapy can help if symptoms continue. I wish you the very best.

Hi Tanishka. I’m sorry to hear that. Often working on our mental health can help us get unstuck, create new patterns, and feel like we’re at a higher vibration. That might mean finding a therapist or group (local or online through telehealth) that can guide or support us. I hope you find that helpful.

Thank you, I needed some guidance and have been giving myself anxiety about my anxiety, if that makes any sense. This quote, “thoughts are just thoughts and my heart’s intentions become things,” really resonated.

Thank you for sharing, Sara. That quote can be used as a mantra to manage anxiety around negative thoughts and manifesting. So glad it resonated with you! Best wishes!

Thank you. This article has been very helpful to me. I think it was just what I needed to see.

This is great. Can you write more about OCD and manifesting? I think I struggle with this and didn’t even know it.

Hi John. Thanks for commenting. The impact of some manifestation beliefs and practices on OCD is a really important topic. I just wrote about it. You can find the article by clicking here. Hope it helps.

I don’t take a break even though I should. I just keep pushing and getting more nervous about everything working out. Now I see that I need to take a break and be nicer to myself. Thank you.

Glad you found the information helpful, Luiza! Taking breaks and self-compassion are so important.

I definitely have low vibe anxiety and need a manifestation break! Thank you for sharing the tips. Sincerely, Miranda.

You’re welcome, Miranda! So glad to hear the tips resonated with you.

I am constantly fearing about my negative thoughts (whenever I come across anything negative it gets associated with my loved ones and I fear as I think it will manifest). I am very much afraid about this as I think it will manifest. Is this natural to struggle with thoughts like this? I am definitely going to take a break from manifestation now.

Hi Abhijeet. When we start to develop a lot of fear around our negative thoughts manifesting, psychotherapy can definitely help. A therapist who has experience with anxiety and OCD would be best. If you are in the US, Psychology Today has a good therapist directory where you can search for a therapist who specializes in anxiety and OCD. I hope that’s helpful. I wish you the best.

This article was really reassuring to read. I knew that when I started waking up (which is when I manifest) feeling irritable and unenthusiastic for the day that maybe my mind needed a break. Turns out I hadn’t been taking care of my emotional needs because I was trying to be upbeat all the time and confronting whenever I felt upset seemed counteractive to manifesting. Thank you for your advice

Taking a break from my usual manifesting practices because it was making me feel overwhelmed and overthink everything. Thank you for your perspective. I’m trying to get pregnant and I feel worse when my family tells me to just relax and my friends tell me that I need to just be happy first and it will come. They have good intentions but I need emotional peace and to stop blaming myself right now. So far the break has been helpful.

Thank you for sharing, Ashley. So glad to hear that your manifesting break is helpful. Wishing you continued inner peace and self-compassion.

I never take breaks from my job goals and it’s making me exhausted and want to give up. I thought that if I wanted to manifest I have to think about my goal all of the time and pretend that it’s already happening. Maybe that’s just a belief and I can take a break and not constantly try to make myself think positive thoughts. Is it a belief?

Hi Elizabeth. “Acting as if” and positive thinking can be considered practices that are based on spiritual beliefs. Manifesting breaks can help us evaluate how flexible and supportive our beliefs are. If we discover that our beliefs need to be a bit more gentle and less all-consuming, it often results in more flexible and self-compassionate practices.