The #1 Best Way To Manifest Something, According to a Neuroscience Expert & Brain Doctor

Updated: May 14, 2024

Stanford neurosurgeon James Doty, MD confirms manifestation is real—and it's even more in your hands than you've probably heard before.

Similar to lifestyle practices like yoga and plant-based eating, manifestation is an approach that originated in ancient spiritual beliefs but has soared in popularity in recent years.

Thanks in part to influences like the 2006 book The Secret and inspirational speakers and authors such as Abraham Hicks, most modern teachings on how to manifest are based on the law of attraction. The law of attraction suggests that the best way to manifest something is to conjure the sensation of the emotional reward one imagines they’ll feel when they receive what they desire. Many law of attraction believers have shared success stories from the practice, which often involves techniques like emotional meditation.

But the metaphysical interpretation behind the law of attraction has been backed by relatively little science—until now. James Doty, MD is a Stanford University neurosurgeon and adjunct professor and the author of Mind Magic: The Neuroscience of Manifesting and How It Changes Everything, out May 7, 2024.

In this new work, Dr. Doty defines manifesting as establishing “an intention such that it gets embedded into our subconscious, which functions below the level of consciousness.” He continues: “In practice, that means that whether or not that intention is present on a conscious level, brain mechanisms that remain focused on the goal are activated around the clock.”
The Healthy by Reader’s Digest shares the following excerpt from Dr. Doty’s Mind Magic with permissions from Avery/Penguin Random House.

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Mind Magic Book courtesy Avery/Penguin Random House

With its fixation on past and potential dangers, the SNS (sympathetic nervous system) effectively shuts down our positive imagination, and we lose sight of what could be or what is possible, especially in terms of improving our lives and experiencing greater connection, fulfillment, and well-being. Without the power of our imagination, and without a curious, flexible, and open mind to consider its visions, we are deprived of the very engine that can get us out of the vicious cycle of negative experience and negative identity.

The paradox is that, through mental rehearsal and visualization, we are “reminding” ourselves of how the positive outcome will feel when we experience it in a moment to come. Our minds are literally going back to the future.

Adapted with permission from MIND MAGIC by James R. Doty, MD, published by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of PenguinRandom House, LLC. Copyright © 2024 by James R. Doty, MD.