The Power of Affirmations, Visualisation and Manifestation


Who doesn’t want to manifest his desires and lead a more fulfilling life? In my new episode ‘The Power of Affirmations, Visualisation and Manifestation’, hypno-psychotherapist Luigi Sciambarella talks about these powerful tools and how they have emerged as game-changers in this area

American automobile magnate Henry Ford famously stated, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”  The quote speaks to the idea that limitations are often self-imposed and that a positive, can-do attitude can be a powerful determinant of success. From the mantras of Vedic India to the meditative practices of Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka, each tradition has recognised and harnessed the mind's ability to shape reality through focused thought, affirmations, and visualisation.

In this article, as on multiple episodes of my podcast, I’ve turned the spotlight on various techniques to guide you to create a life aligned with your deepest desires and values.

  1. Affirmations: To do it, you must believe you can

Affirmations, as many of you may know, are simple, positive statements that individuals repeat to themselves regularly. “What people fail to realise about affirmations is that what you're telling yourself, often, is an affirmation…and you [also] need to look at the affirmations that you're using to your disservice,” says hypno-psychotherapist, Luigi Sciambarella on an episode of my show.

Let me break it down for you: Suppose an individual repeatedly tells himself, "I am a terrible public speaker." This negative self-talk is also essentially an affirmation. It reinforces the person's belief in their inability to speak effectively in public. As a result, they may experience increased anxiety and continue to perform poorly, thus perpetuating a cycle of negative reinforcement.

Conversely, if the same individual starts to consciously replace the negative affirmation with a positive one, such as, "I am becoming a confident and skilled public speaker. I can handle nerves and express myself clearly," they begin to shift their mindset. Even if they don't fully believe the statement at first, the regular repetition of this positive affirmation can gradually change their attitude and self-perception. Over time, this positive mindset can lead to better preparation, decreased anxiety, and improved performance during public speaking engagements.

Amongst the GenZ, affirmations have become a hot topic, with TikTok and Instagram flooded with how-to videos. Advika Pandey, 20, was introduced to them by her cousin. “What they do is reduce the intensity of self-doubt and scepticism,” she says, “I feel more optimistic about situations that are out of my control, situations where I don’t know what the outcome will be.”

Affirmations are recognised as inherently positive statements that can shift one's focus from negative to positive thinking. This shift is crucial in reducing the tendency to dwell on negative experiences, a phenomenon studied and documented in the research by Wiesenfeld et al. (2001).

  1. Visualisation: Will it into being

“I do not fix problems. I fix my thinking. Then problems fix themselves,” is a quote attributed to Louise Hay, the renowned motivational author, who was widely known  for her transformative teachings on self-healing and the power of thought. Hay's insights are grounded in the psychological practice of visualisation.

Visualisation, with its origins in shamanic rituals and meditation practices, involves creating detailed mental images of desired outcomes, thereby engaging the brain's creative and emotional centres to make these goals feel real and achievable.

Consider the example of Jim Carrey. In conversation with talk show host Oprah Winfrey in 1997, Carrey revealed that he practised visualisation. “I wrote myself a cheque for $10 million for ‘acting services rendered’ and I gave myself five years, or three years maybe. I dated it Thanksgiving 1995 and I put it in my wallet, and I kept it there and it deteriorated and deteriorated. But then, just before Thanksgiving 1995, I found out that I was going to make $10 million on Dumb and Dumber”, Carrey said on the show.

Scientifically, visualisation's effectiveness is partly attributed to the activation of the brain's mirror neurons, which simulate real actions. When we visualise, these neurons fire in patterns similar to the action itself, creating neural pathways that prepare the body to enact the visualised scenario. For instance, a study in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology found that when basketball players visualised free throws, their physical performance improved significantly.

Manifest: Change your reality

The idea behind ‘manifestation’ is that by nurturing positive thoughts and emotions, we draw positive experiences into our lives. Critics may dismiss manifestation as lacking scientific foundation, yet its underpinnings are deeply entrenched in psychological and neurological studies. "Through regular practice of affirmations and visualisation, we effectively rewire our brain to adopt new, positive patterns of thought," notes psychologist Pritha Saha. “Engaging in these practices can desensitise the amygdala, the emotional core of our brain, reducing its reaction to negative stimuli and fostering a natural inclination towards positivity. This, in turn, cultivates a mindset that's conducive to manifesting one's desires.” It’s also important to understand that unlike mere ‘wishful thinking’, manifestation requires taking inspired action towards one's goals. Proponents of manifestation encourage individuals to recognise and seize opportunities that may have previously gone unnoticed due to limiting beliefs or negative thought patterns. For more on how to practise all these, tune into my podcast. While it may not guarantee overnight success, it offers a roadmap to a more empowered and fulfilling life, where dreams have the potential to become reality.

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