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‘My life completely turned around’: is manifesting the key to happiness – or wishful thinking?

In the first months of the UK’s spring 2020 lockdown, Jennifer Doyle, a teacher and single mother, was at a low point. “I was in a bit of a hole, struggling to cope on my own and focusing only on the negatives of my life,” says the 39-year-old. “Then – during a Zoom quiz, of course – my friend said I should look into manifestation to help. I did – and my energy totally shifted. I started thinking about what I wanted from life, rather than what was wrong with it.”

Doyle was not alone. In early July 2020, Google Trends reported a peak in searches for “manifestation”, which is often described as a way of willing your goals into existence. In the past 22 months, the website Life Coach Directory has seen a 450% rise in potential clients searching for manifestation techniques. On TikTok, the hashtag #manifestation has 13.9bn views. It is part of the huge wellness market, which is worth about £1.1bn.

I too spent the past two years raking up existential questions in response to the world’s chaos (and my impending 30th birthday). What am I doing with my life? When will I next be able to afford a holiday? Faced with another year of broken resolutions, impending deadlines and chasing late invoices, I decided to investigate manifestation further, to see if I could find some answers – and perhaps attract some good stuff to myself.

Read the feature in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 03/02/22]

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