The new year is often a time when people decide to make a change in their life and try something new—whether that’s a new activity, new routine, or maybe a new lifestyle trend.
The turn of this new year has seen a big increase in people trying out the ‘Lucky Girl Syndrome’ trend, and while it’s been trending for many months, it seems that the new year has encouraged more and more people to try it out for themselves.
Whether it’s something you truly believe in, or is a mentality that you just can’t imagine ever working, Newsweek delved into the topic further. We reached out to experts, looked into scientific studies, and also spoke to three women who claim ‘Lucky Girl Syndrome’ has changed their lives for the better.
What Is Lucky Girl Syndrome?
The hashtag #luckygirlsyndrome has over 130 million views on TikTok. But, what does it mean? Lucky Girl Syndrome focuses on daily positive affirmations and manifestation, and users of the trend are claiming that they have been able to think their dreams into reality.
They claim you need to use “manifestation,” or thinking positive thoughts, to encourage positive acts, and to see the good in the tiniest of things. The thinking is, if you think positively and put that good energy out into the world, it will come back to you in many ways.
‘Because of Lucky Girl Syndrome, I Was Able To Quit My Corporate Job’
One content creator who has been manifesting and doing positive affirmations for the last 10 years is Natasha Ibrahim, 26, who feels that since shifting her mindset away from negativity she has allowed good things to happen to her.
Ibrahim told Newsweek: “Before I shifted my mindset this way, I was stuck in a negative feedback loop. I believed bad things happened to me, so they did. However, with the shift, more opportunities to travel and explore the world came into my life.”
The social media content creator has shared her experiences on her TikTok account, @thenatashaibrahim, where she often posts about doing positive affirmations during her travel lifestyle. “I believe that everything starts with a thought,” she continued.
“I know that if I believe in the possibility of something and work towards it, I can make it happen. Having this mindset has allowed me to take risks to reach the life I desire, knowing that everything is going to work out. I was able to leave my corporate job and pursue my passion which I have been lucky to build a career out of.”
‘One Day After Starting Lucky Girl Syndrome, Someone Paid For My Manicure, And I Got Tickets To Vegas For Way Less Than Expected’
Megan Miller, 24, came across the #luckygirlsyndrome TikTok hashtag on January 2 and decided that being more positive was something she wanted to try in 2023.
In just a few days since beginning her manifestations, Miller has found herself on the receiving end of multiple good deeds already.
Miller told Newsweek: “I decided that in the new year, I was going to try to be more positive and thought it couldn’t hurt. A day after starting this mantra I had a video go viral, someone paid for my manicure, and I convinced my friends to take a trip to Vegas.
“There were specific things I wanted to accomplish, trips I wanted to take, musicians I wanted to see. I think the biggest thing I learned in 2022 was that life is short and you’re only young once. I began to manifest the things that would make me happy and bring joy to my life.
“Waking up with a positive mindset every day has truly been the biggest change in my life. It changes your entire perspective of the day that’s ahead of you.”
‘Because Of Lucky Girl Syndrome, I Have Been Able To Manifest My Dream Apartment’
Another viral Lucky Girl Syndrome TikTok creator is university student Samantha Palazzolo, who began manifesting in October 2022 and is grateful for the positive changes she’s seen in her life already.
When we spoke to Palazzolo, she told Newsweek: “I saw a few TikToks about Lucky Girl Syndrome and how to apply it to your life. I decided to try it for myself and immediately began believing in it after lucky things kept happening.
“I have been able to manifest my dream apartment and bedroom, dream media appearances, a community of like-minded people on TikTok and many new friends have come into my life.”
One recurring piece of advice many content creators suggest is to think small at first. Big changes can take place, but you can also find luck in the small gestures. “If I am frustrated about not being able to find a parking spot close to where I need to be, I remind myself that I’m so lucky and everything works out for me,” Palazzolo assures herself.
“Then I can recognize that maybe parking further was a blessing in disguise because I met someone on the way inside or stumbled upon a penny with its head up. Lucky Girl Syndrome has allowed me to focus on the positive and the bigger picture.”
Is There Any Science Behind Lucky Girl Syndrome?
The psychological notion of self-affirmation theory was proposed by Claude Steele in 1988, with a view that individuals are keen to maintain their integrity and sense of self. A person can tell themselves an outcome and believe in it, therefore believing they can control it.
The theory has been incredibly popular, and psychologists have continued to broaden their research and understanding. Research involving MRI scans has shown that neural pathways that involve positive valuation become more active when a person considers their personal values with an affirmation.
A 2015 study published in the book, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, looked at how self-affirmations activate parts of the brain that are associated with valuation and reward. Testing 67 participants, 33 of which used self-affirmations and 28 didn’t use any, each person filled out a questionnaire reporting eight personal values to them and were given a monitor to track their exercise.
After one week, they underwent an MRI scan and they were each given what was deemed “potentially threatening messages encouraging physical activity”, to observe how their brain received them and whether doing the daily affirmations helped to discourage any concern.
Participants were then monitored for the next four weeks to see how those “threatening messages” would impact their behavior, and if doing the affirmations would have a positive effect. What they found was that those who did daily self-affirmations displayed more brain activity in the valuation and self-processing networks, and they were also more likely to do more exercise to reduce their sedentary behavior.
From their results, they were able to show that a person who does self-affirmations can show a more positive self-evaluation and the individual can imagine positive outcomes happening to them, rather than thinking the worst.
So, if Lucky Girl Syndrome is about thinking positively and giving oneself strength through mindset, can it cause any problems?
The Dangers Of Lucky Girl Syndrome
Lucky Girl Syndrome can open people up to many good things in life and gift them a positive outlook, however, it could also be a “dangerous concept”, according to Perri Shaw Borish, founder of Whole Heart Maternal Mental Health, specializing in therapy for maternal health.
Regarding Lucky Girl Syndrome, Borish told Newsweek: “I think it’s a dangerous concept because it ends up blaming victims or people who don’t have good luck. It’s also a lot more empowering to give credit to oneself, or other people, who work hard and have grit.
“Giving credit to luck is a slippery slope and also implies that those without luck are undeserving, and that luck is evenly distributed, which it’s not.”
How Popular Are Positive Affirmations?
A survey conducted in 2022 by jewelry company Shane Co asked 2,300 Americans about their take on all things manifestation. Results of their survey found that 52 percent of Americans believe in the power of manifestation, but only 28 percent of people actively practice it to achieve realistic goals.
Shane Co’s survey also found that the most popular financial manifestation—or goal that they want to achieve—is a new job, with 15 percent manifesting that for themselves. Finances aren’t the only thing people are hoping for though, as another category was love-related manifestations, and they found that 19.2 percent of people manifest finding a new partner.
There are multiple ways of manifesting, they range from practicing self-affirmations, visualizing an outcome, or others choose to keep a journal about what they’re hoping to accomplish.
Manifesting has been a popular notion for some time, but with social media hashtags and content creators sharing what they believe manifesting has brought to them, more people are trying it out for themselves to find out if it works for them.