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The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time
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The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  2,675 ratings  ·  288 reviews
Depression can feel like a downward spiral, pulling you down into a vortex of sadness, fatigue, and apathy. Based in the latest research in neuroscience, this audiobook offers dozens of little things you can do every day to rewire your brain and create an upward spiral towards a happier, healthier life.

Depression doesn't happen all at once. It starts gradually and builds m
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 1st 2015 by New Harbinger Publications
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  2,675 ratings  ·  288 reviews

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Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Caroline by: Heidi
This book was recommended to me as being of interest to anyone, rather than just people with depression - and indeed I found it so.

The author is a neuroscientist, and all the points he makes about positive and negative behaviours are backed up with descriptions of what is going on in the brain. I rather skimmed these technical details, and concentrated instead on the practical advice he was giving. The book is well designed, with grey boxes for suggestions that can be put into action. At the en
Morgan Blackledge
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the most comprehensive yet economical overview of the biological, psychological and social factors that contribute to depression that I have come across yet.

Of course, there is much, much more to be said on each subject. But author Alex Korb touches on just about all of the important stuff.

All of the advice he gives on how to pull out of a depressive "downward spiral" is spot on. Totally clinically sound.

Of course, implementing all of the various interventions (i.e. doing all the shit h
Lily ☁️
“Be as patient and kind with yourself as you would be with a cute little puppy that you’re trying to house-train.”

Well. I am now seriously considering a PhD in neuroscience.

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Michael Shulman
Very straightforward and easy to understand. Alex Korb does a great job explaining difficult neuroscience concepts for the layperson in plain English.
Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
A great book for anyone dealing with depression or for someone who knows of someone dealing with depression. A must read book that has helpful hints within the book!
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Korb does an outstanding job of making the neuroscience of depression understandable to the common person. In the first part of the book, he explains the neuroscientific reasons for depression, and how we unintentionally can keep "feeding" that depression by our actions, inactions, and thoughts. The second part of the book gives realistic suggestions for how to build on small, positive changes and keep them going.

Depression is a difficult beast, and at first I thought he was saying "just sn
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a-2018-booklist
December 26, 2017 - Fantastic - very informative with a huge amount of suggestions and things to do to get one on an upward spiral again.

December 21, 2017: Fascinating book so far. I'm only on page 79. Already I've learned so much. For instance - the circuits in some people's brain attach more importance to negative events. They have a skewed "positivity ratio" in that they will often need 3-5 (or even more) positive events to counteract or balance out a negative event. Sometimes their brains w
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
There is some great advice in here for when you get in a funk or start to have anxiety. He explains a little of the mechanics of the downward loop in emotion and feeling and he gives a few helpful pointers (none of which are groundbreaking) to stop the doom loop/
Hákon Gunnarsson
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Pretty interesting, and for most parts understandable book on depression. I think the central idea of the upward spiral is quite doable, but I may have to read it again to get it fully.
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the kind of depression literature that we need: Practical, optimistic without the typical shallowness. Just the act of reading this was a small boost to my mood.

A rare five star review from me because I can wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who deals with depression or with someone with depression.
Josh Macphee
So far it is probably one the best books I have read on the subject of depression. It is pretty easy to understand, informative, doesn't talk to you as if you were an idiot, and provides plenty of practical ways of getting over bad emotional habits. Highly recommend it.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cognition, nonfiction
I'm struggling to figure out how to rate this.

I want to rate it highly, because it was my expectation that a better understanding of what my brain is doing deep inside me would make it easier to change those patterns.

But just as I was finishing the book, life corrected my enthusiasm by handing me an insight that overwhelmed — in a bad way — the motivation to apply Korb's lessons. Whomp: more depression.

I still recommend it pretty highly, because I'm an empiricist who very much values scientific
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Let's put this in perspective: Dr. Alex Korb spends years of his life studying and finally gets a Ph.D. He then takes all that knowledge and synthesizes it into this book.

Years of study you never did or paid for comes down to as much as a cup of coffee for your copy of it, which you read in a matter of days.

Damn you are lucky aren't you.

Everyone needs to read this! It goes into how the brain works in relation to stress and anxiety, and how you can smash those bad feelings in the face!

Dr. Alex Ko
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
A lot of the same advice for small helpful actions to take to try to nip a downward spiral in the bud. Go outside, exercise, pet a dog, sleep properly, talk to other humans, get therapy, take medication.

What sets this book apart is the very sciencey science part that explains what, why, and how these things help. My overthinky giant nerd brain appreciated the reasoning and explanations presented.
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of those books that I would like to buy a couple dozen of and distribute among friends and family. Very helpful information in making life a little easier for anyone, not just those prone to depression. Definitely a keeper.
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I highly recommend this book to anyone, even though the title might imply that it identifies mostly with people with depression. If you have a brain, emotions, and you feel, then this book identifies with you. It is phenomenal!

The Upward Spiral explains the interactions between different parts of your brain that are responsible for how you feel and is backed up by example situations and studies.

Serotonin – improves willpower, motivation, and mood
Norepinephrine – enhances thinking, focus an
Chris Boutté
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just read this book for the second time, and it’s by far still one of my favorite books on depression. It has dozens of simple, practical things EVERYONE can do to get out of their depression.

You don’t have to do everything; just do something.
Fatima Badawi
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's an interesting book that you can use for your own personal life and it's a masterpiece.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mind-blowingly good

This book literally read my mind and answered all my burning questions. I wish everyone could read this book, I feel like it should be required curriculum in schools. It gives me lots of hope and really helps toward finding acceptance. Highly recommend to anyone and everyone!
Perfect mix of neuroscientific principles underlying depression and anxiety and practical advice to escape these processes with "upward spirals".
Nick Bernstein
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
this book cured my depression

not really but it helped a lot
Abigail Hogle
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-reads
I’ve struggled with depression for the past couple months and my friend, Hannah, recommended this to me. I found it interesting and helpful! I loved all the tips for changing the patterns in your brain by using things like exercise, talking with people and keeping a gratitude journal. It’s informational, without being to heady and it’s practical without simplifying the impact that depression can have on ones life. I’d recommend.
Tim Belonax
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-read
Incredibly accessible and easy to read for such a tricky, emotional topic.
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
A few weeks ago, one of my Facebook friends posted an angry reaction to people who insist that getting out into nature is the only true and effective “cure” for depression.

I understand his frustration. Simple, dogmatic solutions to complex issues are seldom valuable. In his book The Upward Spiral, neuroscientist Alex Korb claims that there is no single solution to depression, but rather a multitude of small steps that can reduce and even reverse it. Outdoor exercise is not a magic pill, but it
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very good book! Its chock full of very usable tips and ideas to give yourself or your loved one the boost you need in that upward direction. It contains cursory explanations of the workings of the brain involved in depression, what brings you there and what keeps you there. Then it give you the latest science-based methods for breaking the cycle and helping yourself. It helps you see for yourself how one small change begets another, and another, and how changing something in one area of your lif ...more
Ramit Mehta
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was eye-opening. As someone who has dealt with depression in his own fake it till you make it way, and right now struggling with the pandemic, and this book really did a great job of explaining the science behind how our brains work. I would almost go as far to say this is brain porn. There were a lot of great tactics provided to come out of a downward spiral and move into an upward spiral (hence the name of the book). I will likely give it another read because I still feel like I coul ...more
Denis Romanovsky
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Thanks to this book I understand myself much better. Oh my God, how depressive I happened to be. Now I can study myself much better and improve my life day after day with just small steps.

This books is also good from the management point. It helps to understand motivation and goal settings much deeper. It can help to create and control positive state within a team or a whole organization.

I would recommend this book to just everybody. Really easy and interesting reading.
Acordul Fin
Go for good enough. Worrying is often triggered by wanting to make the perfect choice or by trying to maximize everything. When buying a used car, you want one that is cheap, reliable, safe, sexy, the right color, and fuel efficient. Unfortunately, no single option is likely to be the best in all those dimensions. If you try to have the best of everything, you’re likely to be paralyzed by indecision or dissatisfied with your choice. In fact, this kind of “maximizing” has been proven to i
Mike Bushman
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Understanding the science behind and the actions we can take to build an escape from the chest-compressing depths of depression makes it easier to take on this battle. The Upward Spiral does an outstanding job of explaining brain chemistry, physical connections between parts of the brain, and actions depression sufferers can take to fix both as they work toward mental health. While the science is complex, Alex Korb does an outstanding job of making it understandable, including providing practica ...more
Djoumessi Clémence
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Upward Spiral is a masterful account of the neuroscience behind depression, as well as of concrete steps that will lead to an `upward spiral' out of depression. Korb explains neuroscience in a clear and accessible way, and shows how various brain malfunctions lead to different symptoms of depression. . Throughout the book, Korb circles back to some of his own experiences, making his account all the more powerful and real. This book is a must-read for those who struggle with depression and w ...more
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Alex Korb, PhD is a neuroscientist who has studied the brain for over fifteen years. Outside of the lab, he is a speaker, consultant, personal coach, and is also head coach of the UCLA Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team. He has a wealth of experience in yoga and mindfulness, physical fitness, and even stand-up comedy.

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  Justin A. Reynolds burst onto the YA scene last year with his debut book Opposite of Always, a heartfelt novel about love and friendship...
28 likes · 2 comments
“In mountaineering, if you’re stuck in a bad situation and you don’t know the right way out, you just have to pick a direction and go. It doesn’t have to be the best direction; there may not even be a best direction. You certainly don’t have enough information to know for sure. So if you start down a path and end up at a cliff, you’ll just have to pick another direction from there. Because guess what? In a dire situation, you can’t be certain of the right path; what you do know is that if you sit there and do nothing, you’re screwed.” 9 likes
“Be as patient and kind with yourself as you would be with a cute little puppy that you’re trying to house-train. Stressing the puppy out will only make it pee on the floor.” 3 likes
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