Whilst religious forms of spirituality are in decline, the wellness and self-care trend of 2020 has seen millennials adopt alternative spiritual practices. What is it about law of attraction that makes spirituality become so alluring to millennials and how is the trend being seized by influencers as the self-help gurus of the 2020s?
The #liveyourbestlife hashtag would direct you to images of young women in bikinis and a sunrise in Santorini. All that changed in March 2020 when the World Health Organisation announced a pandemic and millennials desires to jet across the world were stripped away. Yet, they have sought a spiritual path that focusses on looking inwards in their pursuits to living their best life during lockdown – that is, through the power of manifestation.
The ‘law of attraction’ is an established philosophy and spiritual practice that empowers people to exercise complete control over the outcomes of their lives. It rests on the idea that what our mind focusses on is what we will manifest into our lives. The formula follows that happy thoughts equals happy life, whilst negative thoughts equals negative life.
‘The Secret’ (2006), written by Rhonda Bryne, quickly transformed the ‘law of attraction’ into a mainstream phenomenon after being an international bestseller and selling 35 million copies worldwide. Renowned spiritual practitioners such as Eckhart Tolle, Jay Shetty, Oprah Winfrey and Gabrielle Bernstein speak prolifically about the magic secret to long-term and unconditional happiness and set the foundation for a movement that would be catapulted in 2020.
Gabrielle Bernstein and Jay Shetty (with one million and eight million Instagram followers respectively), are key players and have built prolific businesses teaching people how to create miracles through their mind. The movement strongly posits that setting goals and focussing on positive thoughts can help you to manifest everything and anything you want in life.
Research by mental health charity ‘Mind’ revealed that more than half of British adults (60 per cent) and over two thirds of young people in Britain (68 per cent) have said their mental health got worse during lockdown with conversations around wellness and self-care taking centre stage. In our desperate attempts to regain control in a world of uncertainty, it is very alluring to seek a practice that empowers us to turn the dreary circumstances into feelings of abundance.
London-based hypnotherapist, Grace McGeehan said: “Being locked down for a whole year and living in a state of uncertainty, people are really starting to think about what they want to do with their lives.
“The ‘law of attraction’ is also an immensely positive way to look at things, and we need as much positivity as we possibly can at the moment” she added.
It therefore comes as no surprise that Google searches for ‘manifesting’ increased by 400 per cent in the UK and US by August 2020, compared to pre-coronavirus. By October 2020, manifestation had become the latest social media trend and the #manifest hashtag on TikTok alone had over a billion views.
McGeehan said: “I believe social media has a huge role to play for the ‘law of attraction’ also becoming such a phenomenon. With so many influencers preaching about the topic.”
Social media influencers have become the self-help gurus of the 2020s. Seizing the social media trend to offer up free content that helps their followers visualise and set intentions, many are promising the manifestation of money, career progression and overall happiness.
Ex Made in Chelsea star, Mimi Bouchard, has built an entire business on the manifestation concept called the ‘Mimi Method’ where she offers guided meditations, meditative workouts and other helpful mind training exercises.
On her website, Mimi proudly claims: “A few years ago I cracked the code on how to stop living an average existence, and how to start living an incredible one…Taking charge of your mind and moving your body in a way, you will uncover your truest, best self.”
On Instagram, the wellness trend has been led influencers who promise that £10,000 will land on you lap if you simply comment ‘YES’. No wonder it’s caught the attention of the millennials as they scroll through their Instagram feed during the weary days of lockdown.
In a modern secular world, the British Social Attitudes survey reveals that 52 per cent of the British public do not regard themselves as belonging to any religion. So, what is it about the ‘law of attraction’ that is so appealing to millennials?
McGeehan said: “Younger generations are seeing and hearing so many stories from older, experienced, wise folks who have adopted this practice or way of living and are seeing how powerful it can be. Not everyone is religious, but everyone has something or someone in their lives other than themselves they look up to for guidance and help. Be it God, the universe or whatever else it may be.”
The ‘law of attraction’ craze is not an organised form of spirituality that requires you to read the old and new testament and to rock up to church every Sunday. Instead, your Priest is the prolific social media influencer whose content is free and readily accessible via YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.
This revelation allows millennials to be spiritual from the comfort of their own home. The influencers’ role is to deliver free spiritual practice right to their phones (the sacred object we’ve all been even more glued to in the past year). It’s a win-win for all as the pandemic confines everyone to their homes and is evidently yielding outstanding results.
Amongst other quarantine trends such as banana bread, Peletons, and TikTok dance routines keeping people occupied during lockdown, manifesting is evidently the most alluring. In a current feeling of powerlessness to effect any real change around broader issues such as climate change and systemic racism manifestation and the ‘law of attraction’ is giving hope to our millennials.