The popular TikTok movement claims to offer you more control over your life, but may set unrealistic expectations.

By Emma Kahmann.

Manifestation, witchcraft, and the usage of crystals as healing properties have been around for centuries. More recently though, TikTokers have redefined spirituality and how to manifest the perfect life all in the span of a 15-second video. The manifestation hashtag on TikTok has over 6.5 billion views, where creators on the app are sharing tips on how exactly the spiritualistic method of manifestation works. But is the popular TikTok trend a healthy source of inspiration, or just a distraction from safer coping mechanisms?

Manifestation is not a new concept. The term started gaining popularity as early as 1882, when Cambridge Academics funded a group of mediums to develop a scientific foundation on the supernatural. At that time, mediums practiced manifestation in seances in order to summon physical signs of life which would attract both good and bad spirits. In the past year, TikTok users have altered the meaning of manifestation so that it focuses not on summoning spirits, but rather experiences the users wants to happen the Law of Attraction, a philosophy which claims that our thoughts can directly affect our reality.

TikTok user @manifestwithmandy has accrued over 80,000 followers on the app, where she promises her audience the ability to “Manifest what you want in 24-48 hours.” Her videos advise people on how to manifest love, monetary success, and overall happiness all through the mantra that our thoughts produce our reality.

The fault with this thinking, according to experts, is that everyone’s reality is both good and bad; bad things happen regardless of manifestation rituals. As therapist Dr. Denise Fourner writes in Psychology Today, the problem with manifestation is that “it implicitly suggests that what happens to us in life is exclusively a matter of choice; by extension, then, people who suffer great misfortunes…somehow brought it upon themselves through negative thinking or a lack of intention.”

While the new trend can be helpful in showing the relationship between thoughts and actions, not everything in life can be so easily predicted. The real success comes from the actions that are carried out by manifestation.