March 16, 2023/Wellness

‘Lucky Girl Syndrome’ Isn’t the Antidote To Bad Luck, but It Can Help Challenge Negative Thinking

This term from TikTok encourages positive affirmations around ‘luck’

woman crossing her fingers on both hands

We’ve all heard of familiar sayings like the “luck of the Irish.” Similarly, your parents may have encouraged you as a child to pick up a four-leaf clover to bring on some good tidings. Or maybe you have a long-standing ritual you do to help your sports team win like wearing a certain color of socks.

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Luck isn’t a new idea, but lately, you might be seeing new ways to view it and work it into your life.

A recent TikTok trend utilizes the term “Lucky Girl Syndrome,” which simply refers to the idea that if you believe you’re lucky, good things will come to you. This has led to many people using this phrase as a form of manifestation. So, you might be wondering: Is there any harm in embracing this trend?

Psychologist Susan Albers, PsyD, breaks down what Lucky Girl Syndrome is, how it’s similar to positive affirmations and how you can utilize it.

What is Lucky Girl Syndrome?

First, it’s important to know that this is just a casual phrase — not an actual diagnosis or medical term. As Dr. Albers points out, Lucky Girl Syndrome is less of a “syndrome” and more of a state of mind. It’s a type of positive affirmation where you tell yourself that you’re actually lucky and that good things are coming to you.

“I would say a more appropriate name is the ‘The Lucky Girl Effect or Phenomenon,’” says Dr. Albers.

In general, Lucky Girl Syndrome is a long-standing idea with a trendier, rebranded name. This term would be even more helpful and inclusive if it didn’t use the term “girl” as well, Dr. Albers notes. “This is not specific to gender. Anyone can use this mindset,” she says.

According to Dr. Albers, this can be as simple as telling yourself that things will work out instead of focusing on the negatives. The inspiration came from various TikTok creators who made videos about people they know in their life who are just “always lucky.”

This has caught a lot of people’s attention and led to many more videos and conversations around it. Lucky Girl Syndrome is simply a phrase that tries to turn negative thinking around through manifestation techniques and exploration of the idea of the “law of attraction.” This is the concept where you can intentionally attract what you desire in your life.

Does it work?

Whether or not you believe in luck is totally up to you. But there’s something to be said about the power of positive thinking and how it can be used in different ways to improve your mental well-being.

Whatever you choose to call it, the core idea of positive thinking can help many ways for people struggling with negative self-talk. It might not be actual luck that’s helping good things come to you, but there’s been a lot of research in cognitive therapy that supports this.

“Research has shown that it helps to boost people’s confidence, their self-esteem, reduces their stress level and helps their motivation,” Dr. Albers states.

She continues that as our brains tend to lean toward the negative, Lucky Girl Syndrome can be a helpful mindset to turn negatives into positives. Plus, if you’re feeling lucky, it can lead to you taking more healthy risks and taking on more opportunities in life.

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“When we tell ourselves that we’re lucky, the brain starts to look for examples to confirm that belief,” notes Dr. Albers. “And because our brain likes to be right, if we tell ourselves that we’re lucky, that part of the brain is going to start filtering in the information that backs that up.”

How to utilize positive thinking to make yourself ‘lucky’

Good luck looks different for all of us. So, depending on who you are and what your life looks like, this will vary. There’s no one positive affirmation that will work for everyone, but positive thinking through your own lens can help you catch those silver linings.

Here’s how Dr. Albers recommends trying out Lucky Girl Syndrome in your own life:

Use positive affirmations or mantras

According to Dr. Albers, we can, in a way, boost our luck every day by using positive affirmations. When we wake up, we can tell ourselves that we are lucky throughout the day, which primes our brains to look for examples of fortunate things.

“At the end of the day, we can review our day and write down fortunate or lucky things that have happened,” suggests Dr. Albers. “This helps to train our brains to recognize and focus on the positive things that happen in our lives.”

This might be easier said than done, of course. Sometimes, negative thinking can be the thing that takes over any belief in optimism. But Dr. Albers stresses the importance of consistency with affirmations. This is why repeating your mantra each day and chronicling them in a journal can be helpful.

Some positive affirmations around luck include:

  • I’m in the right place at the right time.
  • The best things happen to me.
  • I’m so lucky — things just work out for me.
  • The universe is conspiring to give me good things.
  • I always know the right next steps.

“That last one I like because it really puts some of the power and action in your hands,” says Dr. Albers.

Visualize what you want

Sometimes, the phrases we tell ourselves aren’t enough to make us believe that good things are on the horizon.

This is why visualization is another powerful tool that can help us boost our luck. “By closing our eyes and imagining what being lucky would look and feel like, we can train our brains to recognize lucky situations when they occur in real life,” explains Dr. Albers.

Journaling, creating mood boards and speaking positive affirmations can go hand in hand with this. But the simplest way to practice visualization is by pairing it with some meditation or mindfulness techniques — maybe take five minutes in the morning and evening to paint a picture in your mind of how your future is going in the direction you want it to.

“Your mind doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality sometimes,” notes Dr. Albers. “If you imagine biting into a lemon, you begin to salivate. So, you can trigger some of the positive neurochemicals like serotonin — the feel-good chemical in the brain — by just imagining being lucky.”

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Be around people who uplift you

The people in our lives — friends, families and acquaintances — can have a profound impact on our well-being. And we can’t succeed or feel content with our lives without the support of others.

“Surrounding ourselves with new people and situations that make ‘being lucky’ more possible can also increase our luck,” encourages Dr. Albers.

Enjoy sentimental rituals

It’s less about believing a four-leaf clover will fix all your problems, but rather about the ritual behind it that can help you feel more confident and connected to your own luck.

According to Dr. Albers, there’s nothing wrong with having small traditions or sentimental symbols that make you feel luckier.Rituals such as wearing lucky socks or carrying a lucky penny in our pocket can help us feel more competent and reinforce our belief in our own luck,” says Dr. Albers.

Combine with other mental health techniques

A lot of times, our fear of being unlucky or that bad things will happen can cause stress. This is why taking care of yourself and practicing self-care rituals are good things to pair with positive affirmations.

“You can also combine this lucky thinking with other techniques that help you to be more positive in general,” says Dr. Albers. This can include things like breathing exercises to help you ground yourself or doing light exercises or yoga.

Finding balance

Even with positive thinking, it’s important to have a healthy balance. And just like many internet-borne trends, it’s important to take them with a grain of salt. So, be wary of people talking about Lucky Girl Syndrome as if it’s the antidote for everything bad that happens to you.

The key, says Dr. Albers, is to pair this lucky way of thinking with real action in your day-to-day life.

“Some of the skepticism about Lucky Girl Syndrome is that some people think it’s magical thinking,” she notes. “And I don’t think it’s that. It depends on how people frame some of their mantras and affirmations. So, if you have magical thinking, you also need action.”

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