The Upward Spiral

Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time
Narrated by: David deVries
Length: 5 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,219 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 toward a happier, healthier life.

Depression doesn't happen all at once. It starts gradually and builds momentum over time. If you go through a difficult experience, you may stop taking care of yourself. You may stop exercising and eating healthy, which will end up making you feel even worse as time goes on. You are caught in a downward spiral, but you may feel too tired, too overwhelmed, and too scared to try to pull yourself back up. The good news is that just one small step can be a step in the right direction.

In The Upward Spiral, neuroscientist Alex Korb demystifies the neurological processes in the brain that cause depression and offers effective ways to get better--one little step at a time. In the book, you'll discover that there isn't "one big solution" that will solve your depression. Instead, there are dozens of small, practical things you can do to alleviate your symptoms and start healing. Some are as simple as relaxing certain muscles to reduce feelings of anxiety while others involve making small efforts toward more positive social interactions. Small steps in the right direction can have profound effects--giving you the power literally to "reshape" your brain.

Like most people, you probably didn't wake up one day and find yourself completely depressed. Instead, it probably happened over time, as a series of reactions to difficult situations and negative thinking. But if you are ready to reverse the trajectory of your depression and find lasting happiness, this audiobook will show you how.

©2015 Alex Korb (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved
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Practical & Positive

This is a fascinating look at the neuroscience of the brain and depression. It is very accessible and offers small, easy changes that can be implemented to alter the way you feel. I particularly liked the reasoning and science presented to back up and explain the changes the author suggests. This makes these new behaviors understandable and action oriented. Whether you are suffering from depression or just feeling stuck and not as happy and positive as you have in the past--this book and theory offers a way forward. I found the book to be supportive, simple, and engaging.

My only suggestion is that if the science bogs you down--fast forward past those parts and focus on the changes suggested. You can always go back and listen to the science later. It is a quick listen and helpful if you hear it more than once. Also, to me, the narrator starts out speaking overly fast--this improves as the book progresses. Overall, a positive and informative book that is worth the time and filled with sensible advice.

64 people found this helpful

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Over 20 years depressed

I have struggled with depression on and off for over 20 years. I am also a healthcare worker who loves learning about the body and this book doesn't disappoint! I learned so much about my brain and why I think and feel the way I do. It also gave me a better understanding of my symptoms and how to recognize when I begin to spiral. Reading this book has given me a sense of control over my depression which has helped me feel so much better along with psychotherapy and medication. I have truly created an upward spiral for myself because of this book. I highly recommend it to anyone with depression or anyone wanting to learn about depression and anxiety.

9 people found this helpful

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The Science Behind Stress Management

Anyone who has suffered from depression, anxiety, etc has heard that it helps to "stay positive," smile at someone, help someone else, think of things you are grateful for. This book explains the science behind why those techniques and more really are not just platitudes. They really work if you apply them. Many of us have known that horrible moment when you realize that you are I'm a downward spiral and you feel helpless to pull yourself out of it. This book can help.
The narration was right for the material and the material was presented succinctly.

9 people found this helpful

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Helpful and simple

The methodologies mentioned in the book are very straightforward and useful. The new concept here to me is “spiral”. Many people can have some down time at certain point of life. If you let this continue, some may develop into different stages of depression. You either do nothing and let everything slip into “downward spiral”, or do something and start to trigger a series of positive effects, or “upward spiral”. After listening to the book, the first thing I plan to do is to add some workout routines with group settings.

This book is more about non-surgical and non-medical ways to treat depression. It does mention about medicines and claim that if you cannot benefit from one medicine, you may well benefit from the other. However, it doesn’t describe any side effects from those medicines, and I would suggest sticking to the non-medical ways recommended by this book.

14 people found this helpful

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Excellent blend of theoretical explanation and practical suggestions!

Alex Korb offers very practical ideas for small steps that people can take, to have a profound effect on their mood and wellbeing, along with all the neuroscientific background to explain how these small steps lead to such great change. An excellent book, highly recommended!

12 people found this helpful

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science made simple

recommended by my counselor and found it very informative. working on putting the principles to work.

5 people found this helpful

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Good overview.

Lots of good information but nothing new or ground breaking. It's one of those books that reinforces ideas that you may already know and that can be helpful.

The author uses numerous neurological terms and brain area functions. There are terms and certain brain areas that he
repeatedly references that becomes (to me) distracting. Overall this is a bite size, easy to understand book if you ignore the jargon.

I found a Great Courses dvd program at my library titled understanding the brain by Jeanette Norden . It is an amazing wealth of information about the brain in an understandable format.

11 people found this helpful

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Best Depression Book I Have Read.

What did you love best about The Upward Spiral?

The well thought out explanations and specific behavioral recommendations. Very, very useful.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The narrator. Mercy but he is clear and has an interesting rhythm. Very upbeat. An excellent choice for this material.

Which scene was your favorite?

There are no scenes per se. I did like the discussion about the brain, its various components. Very clear and interesting.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Made me appreciate crystal clear explanations of sometimes abstruse material.

Any additional comments?

If you suffer from depression you Must listen and read this book.

9 people found this helpful

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Very helpful

Engaging and didn't become dry. Good energy in its delivery. Would recommend for others wanting to make changes to their life

6 people found this helpful

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Great book

Quite a help though sometimes tend to trivialize hard matters. Well spoken and in good pace for listeners seeking out soul pain release.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Unclepigg
  • 07-04-17

Excellent science, average advice

I found the first couple of chapters really interesting with regards to the neurological science and explanations of the chemical structures in the brain. However, the following chapters seem to be a repackaging of generic advice and information available on the web for free. Or via common sense. Anyone who had struggled with depression will be familiar with most of the suggestions here. I was left in doubt if the author really understands depression, giving out such platitudes as "just chill" and "get more sleep". Everybody isn't the same, so 8 hours of sleep might not be the perfect solution. And piers naps might actually be perfect for some people, whereas it's advised against here, with no supporting science.
There's also a section that strongly supports the use of prescription drugs and psychotherapy, and even a suggestion of brain surgery!

My overall opinion is that the book serves as a brief scientific insight to the processes behind depression, and perhaps as some starting point for people new to depression, or suffering mild to moderate depression.

7 people found this helpful

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  • tempranello
  • 11-03-16

Empowering

Well written and well narrated. If you want to get an understanding of, and thus a modicum of control over depression then read this book. It's not just for those on a journey of depression; I recommend it to those who live with, love or lead people who are on that journey too.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-09-16

Great insights in depression and cope successfully

Amazing book which goes beyond the usual pop psychology and highlights underlying dynamics of depression

2 people found this helpful

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  • Bradley Devenish
  • 09-24-17

awesome insights!

loved it, making progress already!! it makes it so much easier to make changes when you know how its effecting your brain!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Catherine
  • 03-31-17

Challenge your depression

Great info and tips. Highly recommended. Useful for those wanting help or those trying to help someone else.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 02-12-17

Good evidence based teaching and advice.

Probably some of the best advice. Could do with some tools to help apply it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • SteveW(director)-Wales,UK
  • 02-03-16

Helpful & insightful; mundane voice.

Only just started this book (Feb 1st), but so far can't listen to it for too long (30+mins) compared to other books where I can listen for hours as the monotonous voice makes it difficult for me to concentrate.

I don't know if it's a reflection on the voice teller or whether you just can't get the same feeling from the actual authors voice; with any book. Either way - this samey on&on voice makes feel like switching off.

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  • Lara Edwards
  • 10-03-19

Things we know but don't know the science behind.

It was good to hear what we need to do to really stop the downward spiral of the black dog.

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  • Kooszi
  • 08-20-19

Very good lecture.

Really good start for realising the depressive symptoms in the body and mind . .

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  • Lyudmyla
  • 11-12-18

Great book

Really enjoyed listening. If you want to know more about depression instead of just taking a pill, it's worth listening. Thank you for sharing

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-09-16

great information

I thought it was a really great book on understanding depression. I'm going to take some of these tools and put them into practise and see where I end up 😀

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-02-18

Life changing - fantastic resource

I started this book in the midst of a depressive episode, it was such an incredible resource to me during this time and helped me to understand what was going on within the brain and then what changes I could do to get myself back on track. It is the only book I have encountered that easily explains the neuroscience aspect behind what is / causes depression without being too clinical and then goes on to offer lifestyle changes and suggestions to help reverse the effect of a downward spiral. The narrator is great, really easy to listen too and comes across in a very warm and caring way which really helps with these sorts of topics. I have re read this book 3 times now and pick up something new each time. Highly recommended for those seeking a concise guide to help you through the hard times, very uplifting read.

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  • Jemma
  • 09-27-17

great listening

i really enjoyed listening to this book. it can be confusing at times with all the science behind are brains. but overall i felt it helped me to figure out my behavior towards making myself, head to a downward spiral. lots of helpful tips to keep happy and learn why we act the way we do. it was also beautifully read.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-03-20

Helpful

Kind of like a literature review of a range of studies on depression. Very interesting, helpful and scientifically based (but still easy to understand)

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-13-19

Life changing material!! Eye opener!!

took me 10 hours to finish. mainly because I kept replaying parts I wanted to learn more about!! Really opened my eyes and helped get me on a better path. this book is for EVERYONE!!

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  • Rick
  • 08-26-19

One of the best books on the subject

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will reread if periodically. Everything is broken down and backed up with some kind of study and there's minimal fluff. Somehow knowing exactly why for example, exercise helps (and I mean what is actually does inside your brain) makes it far easier to form that habit than just being told it's good for you. I think that's what I most liked here, it treats you like you're not too stupid to understand what's really happening deep within your brain. Highly recommended for those suffering some form of depression.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-16-19

Quality information

Loved this book.
Demonstrated factual advice on how the brain functions in order to manipulate it to your benefit.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-31-19

Easily Understood

This book is excellent. Everyone tells you start exercising or think positive thoughts but this book explains why and more and does it in everyday language using everyday examples. A must read for anyone touched by depression including family and friends.