Skip to Content

Does the law of attraction really work?

What is the law of attraction?

The law of attraction is the belief that positive or negative thoughts bring about positive or negative experiences into a person’s life.[1] According to this mind-power system, a person’s thoughts and focus determine what happens to them in reality. It relies on the idea that people and their thoughts are made from pure energy, and that through the process of like energy attracting like energy a person can improve their own health, wealth, and personal relationships.[2]

The basic principles of the law of attraction can be summarized as:[3]

– Everyone and everything is made of energy with a frequency that attracts similar energy.
– Thoughts and feelings emit an energy frequency that attracts matching experiences and circumstances.
– Focusing consistently on positive thoughts and emotions raises a person’s frequency, attracting positive circumstances and events.
– Consistently focusing on negative thoughts and emotions lowers one’s frequency, attracting negative circumstances and events.

So in essence, the law of attraction postulates that whatever a person focuses their thoughts and feelings on is what they attract more of into their life. Positive thoughts, emotions, and visualization are said to activate the law of attraction in a positive direction, while negative or limiting thoughts are believed to bring more negativity and obstacles.

Where did the law of attraction come from?

The general concept behind the law of attraction dates back centuries, with historical roots in the New Thought movement of the 19th century. Elements of the philosophy were discussed by the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Napoleon Hill, and Helena Blavatsky.[4]

The phrase “law of attraction” actually originated in the 1906 book Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World by William Walker Atkinson. He described thought vibration as a “universal law” in which thought has its own frequency and wavelength outside the realm of space and time.[5]

In more recent history, the specifics of “The Secret” version of the law of attraction principle emerged with books like The Science of Getting Rich (1910) by Wallace D. Wattles, The Master Key System (1912) by Charles F. Haanel, and The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity (1962) by Catherine Ponder.

The New Thought movement and emphasis on positive thinking through affirmations strongly influenced the modern teachings of the law of attraction.[6] Then in 2006, an Australian television producer named Rhonda Byrne released the documentary The Secret, followed by a book of the same title, that brought the concept into mainstream popularity.[7]

The Secret film and book basically repackaged the law of attraction concept for a modern audience, using speakers like Bob Proctor to explain how the law of attraction works in people’s lives. After huge success and massive publicity, the law of attraction became ingrained into pop culture.

What are the key principles behind the law of attraction?

The main ideas behind the law of attraction include:

– **The power of thought:** Everything begins in the mind. Thoughts are energy which have vibrations that affect what happens in the physical realm.

– **Like attracts like:** The fundamental principle is that similarity attracts more similarity. People’s thoughts and feelings attract corresponding experiences and circumstances.

– **Focus shapes reality:** What people focus their attention and energy on is what they tend to manifest more of into their lives.

– **Visualization:** Vividly imagining and focusing on goals and desired outcomes attracts them into existence.

– **Gratitude and positive thinking:** Being grateful for what you have and thinking positively raises energy vibration to attract more positivity.

– **Living in the present:** Detachment from the past or future and full presence in the now enables clearer intention and manifestation.

– **Taking action:** Using positive mental energy as fuel while taking practical action steps helps accomplish goals.

So in summary, the core components of the law of attraction include focusing thoughts and energy purposefully, visualizing results, radiating positive emotions like gratitude, detaching from negative thoughts, and taking aligned action. By mastering these elements, followers seek to attract fulfilling relationships, optimal health, abundant wealth, and anything else they desire into their lives.

Is there any scientific evidence for the law of attraction?

There are currently no scientific studies that validate the law of attraction. It remains a speculative philosophy and self-help concept rather than a proven mechanism of the mind. However, there are related concepts and observations in quantum physics and psychology that may provide some scientific basis for the ideas:[8]

– **Quantum entanglement:** Particles can become linked and instantaneously affect each other across vast distances, suggesting the fundamental interconnectedness of matter and energy.

– **Observer effect:** The act of observation impacts results in quantum physics experiments, implying that consciousness plays a role in manifesting reality.

– **Confirmation bias:** People are inclined to notice and remember information that validates their existing beliefs. This may contribute to selective evidence for the law of attraction.

– **Self-fulfilling prophecy:** Believing in and visualizing a goal makes it more likely to be accomplished through motivation and focused effort.

– **Placebo effect:** Positive belief and expectation can lead to psychological or physical improvement, even with inert treatments.

– **Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT):** Techniques like positive affirmations and controlling negative thought patterns can relieve depression and anxiety.

So while current science cannot definitively prove the law of attraction, related concepts lend some plausibility and scientific footing to its ideas. There are apparent quantum effects, as well as psychological tendencies, that align with how the law of attraction is intended to work in theory. But controlled studies validating the law itself are still lacking.

What are common techniques for applying the law of attraction?

Practical techniques for activating the law of attraction in one’s life include:[9]

– **Visualization:** Vividly imagining the desired result, from sensory details to emotions. Envisioning it already achieved in the mind’s eye.

– **Affirmations:** Repeating positive “I am” statements like “I am happy and successful” to reprogram limiting beliefs.

– **Gratitude practices:** Giving thanks and cultivating feelings of abundance to raise frequency and attract more positive experiences.

– **Meditation:** Quieting the mind and developing inner peace to get clarity on desires and align actions with spiritual purpose.

– **Emotional mastery:** Processing negative emotions rather than suppressing them while consciously nurturing positive emotions like inspiration, love, joy.

– **Mindful creation:** Taking aligned action in a conscious, present state rather than mindless reaction or default routines.

– **Visual reminders:** Using vision boards, photos, physical objects, or written reminders of goals and desired energy states.

– **Positive thinking:** Catching and reframing negative thoughts and self-talk to return to an empowered, optimistic mindset.

– **Giving back:** Volunteering, practicing random acts of kindness, and making charitable donations with no expectation of reward to raise energy vibration.

The extent to which these practices actually shape reality according to the law of attraction philosophy is debated. But they provide structure and ritual for focusing one’s mental and emotional energy purposefully.

What are some common misconceptions about the law of attraction?

There are a few common misunderstandings about the law of attraction that should be clarified:

– **It is not an exact, tangible science:** The law of attraction is a speculative philosophy and its results cannot be precisely measured or predicted. Outcomes depend greatly on the individual.

– **It does not mean only thinking about desires fulfills them:** Practical action aligned with positive intention is considered essential for manifestation, not just thoughts alone.

– **It is not a substitute for professional treatment:** The law of attraction should not replace medical, psychological, or financial advising. It is meant to complement practical solutions.

– **It does not mean ignoring all negativity:** Processing and learning from failures and challenges is considered part of using the law of attraction effectively for growth.

– **It is not a quick fix for all problems:** Manifestation can require sustained focus and effort. Falling back into negative patterns can impede results.

– **It does not guarantee getting whatever you want:** While incredible outcomes may happen, the law of attraction does not promise you can manifest anything at all beyond limits.

– **It is not a way to control other people:** The law of attraction involves raising your own energy and frequency to attract compatible circumstances. Manipulating others violates this principle.

So in essence, the law of attraction is meant as a self-empowerment philosophy for manifesting your best life, not a magical solution that eliminates work, relationships, personal responsibility, or addressing problems. Appropriate effort and action are considered key parts of attracting positive results.

What are examples of how the law of attraction can work?

Here are some examples of how practitioners apply the law of attraction in their lives:

– After being laid off from her job, Sarah used vision boards, meditation, and affirmations to focus on finding her dream career. She took classes, networked, and visualized herself in a great new job. After several months she was offered a much better, higher-paying marketing position.

– Struggling with chronic pain, Jean began an affirmation and gratitude practice every morning. Instead of dwelling on feeling disabled, she imagined and wrote down all the things her body allowed her to do. Over time her pain and mobility gradually improved.

– Steve dreamed of starting his own company. He researched business ideas, joined networking groups, and visualized his success daily as if it already happened. He mindfully watched for opportunities, found investors, and successfully launched his startup.

– Maria wanted to find her soulmate after a painful divorce. She focused on radiating self-love and worthiness. She pictured living happily with her ideal partner. Dating still took effort, but soon after she met John who became her husband.

– After losing motivation in college, Kyle taped vision board photos over his desk of himself as a successful graduate, using gratitude to energize his studies. He passed his classes, raised his GPA, and by focusing on his strengths landed a good finance job.

So while anecdotal, these real-world examples describe how people have put the principles of the law of attraction into practice. Along with taking aligned action, their mindset, energy, and vibration focused on visualizing and realizing their desired outcomes.

What are the potential benefits of applying the law of attraction?

**Some potential benefits of practicing the law of attraction include:**

– Increased optimism and empowerment
– Clarity on desires, values, and priorities
– Enhanced motivation and sense of purpose
– Greater confidence and self-efficacy
– More mindful, present state of being
– Ability to refocus thoughts and change energy
– Patterns of gratitude and abundance mindset
– Sense of spiritual connection and flow
– Heightened intuition and inspiration
– Improved mood, creativity, visualization
– Connection to the mind-body link
– Stress relief and positive neuroplasticity

So while the objective truth of manifesting through thought energy is debated, the law of attraction framework has many psychological benefits. Focusing mental and emotional energy purposefully fosters a more positive, empowered state of being. Practicing gratitude, presence, and creative visualization can be healthy skills. And taking action on goals and dreams leads to outcomes not possible through thoughts alone.

What are the potential downsides or dangers of the law of attraction?

Potential downsides or issues to be aware of with the law of attraction philosophy include:

– Unrealistic expectations, impatience, disappointment when desired results do not manifest
– Blaming oneself for negative experiences, believing thoughts “attracted” them
– Guilt or self-shaming when unable to control thoughts and feelings
– Obsessive attachment to goals, affirmations becoming compulsions
– Eliminating planning, preparation, logic in favor of magical thinking
– Disregarding professional help or practical solutions needed
– Falling prey to scams that promise secret principles or shortcuts
– Avoiding action, work, accountability needed for success
– Rejecting science, reason, and critical thinking as lower vibration
– Desperation, despair from over-focusing on lack or problems
– Inability to deal with reality if things go wrong unexpectedly
– Exacerbation of mental health conditions like anxiety or mania

The law of attraction requires a delicate balance. While increased positivity, vision, and purpose can be beneficial, taking it to extremes may lead to denial of reality, blind faith in magical thinking, or lack of appropriate responsibility. As with any self-help method, integrating it in a balanced, moderate way is key to getting the most value from the philosophy.

Does the law of attraction really work?

There is no conclusive scientific proof that the law of attraction works as described for manifesting direct results from thoughts and energy. However, certain evidence and principles suggest it may have some basis in quantum mechanics and psychology:

Arguments For Arguments Against
  • Placebo effect demonstrates mindset influencing reality
  • Visualization and positive thinking boost motivation
  • Quantum physics reveals the interconnectedness of consciousness and matter
  • Focusing attention guides perception and behavior
  • Studies show benefits of meditation, gratitude, optimism
  • No scientific measurements validate manipulating energy
  • Cognitive biases like confirmation bias are more likely
  • Thoughts alone cannot radically change external reality
  • Positive thinking does not cure illness or override physics
  • Desired results frequently fail to materialize

**In summary:**

There is no solid scientific proof directly validating the law of attraction as a literal mind-over-matter manifestation mechanism yet. However, research related to placebos, cognitive biases, positive psychology, quantum theory, and the mind-body connection suggests possible factual mechanisms for some of its concepts.

While thoughts alone cannot replace action and hard work, focusing mental and emotional energy does appear to impact perception, behavior, and motivation in measurable ways. Visualization, optimism, and focused intention can influence outcomes by shaping attitudes and actions to manifest goals.

So skeptically, the law of attraction is an inspirational philosophy that may have self-fulfilling effects but is not scientifically proven. But with an open mind, it can be seen as a framework for harnessing natural psychological and motivational processes to manifest positive change. The “attracting energy” narrative gives structure to enhance mindset, intentions, and behaviors in a purposeful direction.

The truth likely lies somewhere in-between. As science evolves, it may uncover more tangible evidence for the power of consciousness. For now, the law of attraction requires faith in the immeasurable and subtle aspects of reality creation through energy and vibration. It depends on how experientially real the individual finds these effects. The attraction process stems from seeing direct “proof” in how thoughts tangibly guide actions, motivation, synchronicity – essentially aligning the mental realm with the physical by realizing how consciousness sculpts reality.


In many ways, the mystical concept of the law of attraction requires a leap of faith. It operates in the realm of subtle energy that current science cannot measure or validate empirically. But there are components of the mind-matter interaction that show promise and potential effects worth exploring.

Skeptics will likely remain unconvinced of the law’s metaphysical basis. Yet an open-minded analysis allows the possibility of subtle forces at work. And believers can attest to visible results from applying the law of attraction principles in their lives.

Ultimately, the ideal approach is likely balancing pragmatism with an openness to concepts beyond current understanding. If the principles inspire positive action, heightened intention, greater emotional mastery, detachment from outcome, and alignment with inner purpose, then applying the law of attraction framework serves you well. But attachments to “magical thinking” outcomes should be tempered with rationality.

The question of the law’s deeper truth remains open for debate and interpretation through individual experience. But applied judiciously, it provides a constructive mindset, set of rituals, and empowering beliefs with potential to help manifest your dreams and elevate your state of being regardless of external proof. The attractiveness of the philosophy alone – its core message of self-empowerment and control over reality – propels behavior change in ways that lend some credence to its premise.

Believing is seeing when it comes to the mystically elusive law of attraction. Its validity stems from the eye of the beholder.