It’s likely that you heard of The Secret and all about manifesting love and happiness in your life… but just how valid is this stuff? This week, I explore the science behind attracting positivity in your life and discuss scientifically proven ways to attract more happiness and yes, even love to your life. If you’re a skeptic like me, you might want to stick around for this one!
As a PhD in biology I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to a lot of the woo-woo law of attraction type of stuff. But even I must admit, there may be something to this stuff. Let’s dive into the science of it.
One of the things we know from research around confirmation bias is that you see what you’re looking for. It’s known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. When you buy that blue Tesla, and suddenly you start seeing blue Teslas everywhere! Since the brain is bombarded by 400 billion bits of information every second, it has to decide for you what to focus on and what should be filtered out. But when you first hear a song, or buy a new blue car, or fanny pack your brain holds that discovery in your working memory. So now all the times before that moment when your brain might have filtered the information right past your conscious recognition, instead your brains starts signaling for you to lock into it.
I remember this effect happening in my own life when I first started studying birds. I was so excited about seeing my first hawk. Previously, I’d thought of them as mystical, irregular sightings. And then I saw my second one, and third, and by the 21st hawk I saw over the time frame of 2 days I was underwhelmed. I couldn’t drive my regular route to school anymore without seeing hawks lining the street lights. Hawks are EVERYWHERE! How did I miss them before? Today, I can’t take a walk without seeing a dozen species and hearing their calls. It was a delightful awakening but a shock to my system. It made me wonder, if I could be this oblivious to something that was always right in front of my eyes, what else might I be missing? This is where we get back to how your brain filters positive and negative things.
Our brains are wired to see negativity, danger, and fear. We have developed search images for all the ways in which the world is a scary place and because of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, we find it. But in today’s modern world we are not prey. We don’t have to operate with our heads on a swivel, constantly on the lookout for all that will go bad.
With the relatively sudden change in our environment to this modern day our brains need an overhaul. We need to actively change our search image. Rather than filtering all the abundance and love and art and good things the world has to offer as “well that’s nice but….” what if we paused, noticed, forced our brain to encode all the good.
In order to begin the process of manifesting our goals in life we have to get our whole nervous system on board for the ride. We can’t just wish for good things and casually note them as we float through the day. We have to be bought into a new truth of this abundant world we live in. The hard part here is that for many of us this feels like a huge brick wall. A catch 22. Most of us have to live an experience in order to fully believe it but we also have to believe fully first before we can experience it. And this is where things get really cool… because the good news is…most of us actually have have experienced a world of love and happiness. We’ve just allowed our brains to forget and forgo it Let me explain
Do you remember when you fell in love? It may not have been your first (or your last – I’m not going to ask) but I want you right now, in your own mind, to go back to that time. Imagine the time right after you and your love had just met and visualize how you interacted with the world. Life was beautiful. The birds were singing just for you. You drowned out the boss’s negative comments with a smile and went back to work whistling a tune. You leapt out of bed for your morning run even after having almost zero sleep. Rather than an inconvenience the rain felt like a baptism. This euphoria is something that Dr. Bruce Lipton refers to as The Honeymoon Effect. The cool thing is that YOU created it. You essentially manifested your own heaven on earth for some period of time, because your focus was love. You wore the rose-colored lenses of love and the world for some time returned that love right back to you. So if the world, and our experience of it is what we make of it, how can we begin to make more honeymoon days, months, and years for ourselves, and manifest new goals as well? The trick is to continue to practice savoring all the good we see and reinvesting that love in ourselves. Use the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon to your benefit to see the world around you in a whole new light…turns out, most of this manifesting work is done simply by where you focus your attention. Keep seeing the world with love.