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The Upward Spiral

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The Upward Spiral

Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time

New Harbinger,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

A neuroscientist offers sound tactics for coping with, minimizing and warding off depression.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • For Beginners


Neuroscientist Alex Korb, PhD, explains why yoga, socializing and showing gratitude – plus good sleep, exercise and better habits – matter. He describes in detail how your brain and body communicate and how your body releases neurotransmitters like endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin when you take positive actions to reduce stress, improve your mood and fight depression. While never giving medical advice, getAbstract finds that Korb’s book will be especially useful for people that are new to the topic.


Almost everyone suffers from stress, worry and anxiety, which can trigger depression.

Some people, due to their unique neurobiology, are more susceptible and sensitive to stress and other triggers. If they don’t take measures to check and reverse temporary mild unease, it can gradually spiral into long-lasting and even severe depression. Recent science confirms that you can change your brain, which scientists refer to as “neuroplasticity.” Small adjustments, like going out in the sun, exercising, deep breathing, high-quality sleep and spending time with friends will trigger neurochemicals in your brain that can counter stress, worry and anxiety; lift your spirits and energy; and prevent or reverse depression.

The many billions of neurons in your brain form circuits that connect to each other through neurotransmitters. These chemicals, which relay messages from neuron to neuron, include serotonin, which affects your mood; dopamine, which gives pleasure; norepinephrine, which helps you focus; oxytocin, which relieves worry and stress; and endorphins, which regulate pain and generate...

About the Author

Neuroscientist Alex Korb, PhD, has made an academic and professional career out of understanding depression and the techniques and tools anyone can use to avoid or reverse it. His expertise extends into leadership and motivation, mindfulness, physical fitness, and even stand-up comedy.

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    K. K. 8 months ago
    The strategies explained by Alex Korb is easy to implement. Thank you, Alex, for sharing the great resource.
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    A. C. 2 years ago
    Concise explanation of the neuroscience and key action steps to take to reverse the downward spiral of depression into an upward spiral of good mental health. A good overview, a starting point for setting goals and taking small, effective steps in a comprehensive approach to improved mental health.