Do You Do Manic?

December 1, 2006 by  
Filed under STRESS

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By H. Bernard Wechsler

The headline in Science Daily read, How Manic Thinking Makes us Happy, Energized and Self-Confident. Does that arouse your curiosity and even make you smile as you think – weird? Are they suggesting we reinforce a new style of craziness?

The first thing I searched were the credentials of the authors behind the research; too many articles get published that are bad-science and later die a horrible death.

Dr. Emily Pronin of Princeton, and Daniel Wegner of Harvard, are well documented researchers. The article is published in the respected journal of the Association for Psychological Science, in the September, 2006 issue.

So What

The authors conclude: when people are made to Think Quicker, they report feeling happier, their mood improves, they become more creative, more powerful and self-confident.

We call it Speed Reading, see what you think.

The scientists made half the participants read a series of statements twice-as-fast as normal, and the other half twice-as-slow as their ordinary reading. Next, they had the folks in the experiment read depressing text like, I want to go to sleep and never wake up, and the other half read positive-statements, including, Wow, I feel great.

Conclusions: regardless of textual content, depressing or elating, if you intentionally read twice-as-fast as normal, you change your emotions and your experiences. You get an immediate dose of mental energy, happiness, and feel self-assured in what you are doing.


The word is associated with psychiatric disorder, and includes excessive physical activity, impulsive behavior, and rapidly changing ideas. Manic is a synonym for frenzied, agitated, freaky and nutzy-fagin.

Manic-Depression and Bipolar Disorder are mental states of folks with Racing-Thoughts. Mentally healthy people also experience Manic thinking when they are In-The-Flow, In-The-Zone, and enjoying Peak-Experiences of creativity.

Have you ever engaged in group brainstorming and really gave it your creative heart-and-soul? Your consciousness blocks out everything in your environment except solving the problem in front of you. You become a mono-maniac and often discover the most brilliant genius-like ideas of your life. You cannot be distracted from your goal.

According to Connie Strong and Terrance Ketter, M.D. of Stanford University Medical Center, your emotional broadband expands to elicit creativity and imagination.


You know all about warming-up in sports, you have seen it all your life. The Yankee batter starts swinging three-bats to get his reflexes moving; Tiger Jones works out on the putting-range for two hours before the match. Tennis, basketball and hockey, all require warming-up before you get into the Zone, the Flow and experience a Peak Performance.

Do you ever think of warming up before taking an exam, reading a textbook, or taking notes at a lecture?

If you intentionally read some paragraphs aloud, twice as fast as your normal reading speed, you are warming up the neural networks of your brain. It erases feeling tired, panicked, and distressed about your results.

What if you cannot find a place to read aloud without appearing demented? Silently (subvocalize), the page or two as a warm up exercise. In two-minutes, you will be in-the-Zone, and ready to operate at your optimal level.


You got a Sympathetic Nervous System that runs our Fight-or-Flight survival mechanism, also known as Stress and Distress. It is activated by adrenaline (epinephrine), and cortisol, and gets our bodies ready to fight or run.

Our Parasympathetic Nervous System is based on relaxation, and produces the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which is directly related to learning and memory. Which do you need before an exam, interview or presentation?


Dr. Hans Seyle wrote 32 books and 1,500 articles on Stress while at the University of Montreal. His research stood for stress destroying the cells of our immune systems, leading to heart disease, cancer and stroke. In his book, The Stress of Life, he said, Stress is not even necessarily bad for you; it is also the juice of life, for any emotion, any activity causes stress.

He makes his case against Distress, which is chronic (continuing), and disease-causing. He suggests that Eustress is a good form of stress, a pleasant or curative stress. According to Seyle, life is largely a process of adaptation to circumstances in which we exist. We can even use stress as a positive adaptation to life. Eustress is the High you get just before you do your best in any experience. Actors on Broadway or Hollywood, students ready for their exam, and your excitement prior to giving your presentation, are forms of Eustress.

Speed Reading

Most people think of speed reading as tripling your reading speed and doubling your memory. It is reading and remembering three books, articles and reports in the time others can hardly finish even one. But it is more. It is changing your mood from anxiety and panic, to expecting success and pleasure. It releases your creativity and imagination, makes you feel happier and trust in the unfolding.

Speed reading raises you mental and physical energy levels for greater comprehension and focus, in additional to initiating Eustress, the excitement of coming success.


Do you ever want to change your mood and have two-minutes to do it? Ever go for an interview and feel angst, dread and fear?

Get a little manic thinking under your belt and you will ace your experience. One form of manic-thinking is Eustress, and it often produces success in the face of imminent failure.

The secret of Stressbusting is diaphragmatic breathing for increase oxygenation and release of carbon dioxide and toxins. You can voluntarily change the pictures on the movie-screen of your mind to a positive winning mood, one that optimizes your knowledge and skills. These strategies take just two-minutes. Are you up for it?

copyright © 2006
H. Bernard Wechsler


Author of Speed Reading For Professionals, published by Barrons; former partner of Evelyn Wood, creator of speed reading, graduating 2 million, including the White House staffs of four U.S. Presidents.

See Wall Street Journal, 7.25.06 Speed Reading: the Sequel, and Fortune Magazine, Oct. 2006

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