Upward Spiral summary - available in audiobook and text formats

Upward Spiral

Alex Korb, PhD

Audiobook length: 11m 58s

Download the Athena app to access our expertly crafted Upward Spiral summary - available in text and audiobook formats.




Depression can feel like a downward spiral, pulling you into a vortex of sadness, fatigue, and apathy. Neuroscientist Alex Korb demystifies the intricate brain processes that cause depression and offers a practical and effective approach to getting better. Based on the latest research in neuroscience, this book provides dozens of straightforward tips you can do every day to rewire your brain and create an upward spiral towards a happier, healthier life. The truth is that there isn’t one big solution to depression, but there are numerous simple steps you can take to alter brain activity and chemistry. Some are as easy as relaxing certain muscles to reduce anxiety, or getting more sunlight to improve your mood. Small steps in the right direction can have profound effects—giving you the power to become your best self as you literally reshape your brain, one small change at a time.


The Bottom Line

Depression can feel like you’re on a downward spiral, but neuroscience suggests there are small steps you can take to rewire you brain to create an upward spiral toward better days.

I. Introduction

According to data collected from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 17.3 million American adults experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2017. That’s 7.1 percent of the adult population.

To Alex Korb, it’s more than a statistic. He suffered through his own dark period in his senior year of college. “It began with anxiety about the future, which … started looking bleaker and bleaker,” he writes. He didn’t have the energy to talk, making decisions seemed impossible, good food tasted bad, his body ached all over, and he struggled to sleep.

Despite these symptoms, Korb pushed on, socializing with his roommates, playing sports and going to class. It was only later, having earned a PhD in neuroscience, that he was able to see that forcing himself to persevere with these activities had helped him avoid full-blown depression. He realized that while our brains can send us into the dark hole of depression, they also have the tools to pull us back toward the light.




II. Feeling Down Versus Feeling Depressed



III. Wired For Depression



IV. The Brain Science Behind Depression



V. The Downward Spiral



VI. Creating an Upward Spiral



VII. The Body-Brain Connection


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Oct 25th