The Upward Spiral Workbook
About the Book
Positive life changes lead to positive brain changes. Drawing on the huge success of his groundbreaking book, The Upward Spiral, neuroscientist Alex Korb offers actionable, step-by-step skills to help you reshape your brain and create an upward spiral towards a happier, healthier life.
Depression is defined by a collection of symptoms. You feel crappy most of the time. Nothing seems interesting, and everything seems overwhelming. You have trouble with sleep. You feel guilty and anxious and have thoughts that life isn’t worth living. Each symptom reinforces and inspires new symptoms, and this is a sign that your brain circuits are caught in the downward spiral of depression. So, how can you reverse it?
In his first book, The Upward Spiral, neuroscientist Alex Korb demystified the intricate brain processes that cause depression and outlined a practical and effective approach for getting better. Based on the latest research, this evidence-based workbook takes the theory behind Korb’s breakthrough book and distills it into concrete, actionable exercises and skills.
Just as one small trigger can drag you down, an effective intervention can start enough momentum to carry you back up. Exercise, attention to breathing, gratitude, sleep hygiene, and positive social interactions are just some of the offerings in this workbook that can help alter activity in specific neural circuits, setting you on the path toward an upward spiral to happiness and well-being.
Note: In certain copies of this book, the tables for the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 have scoring of 1 ("Not at all") to 4 ("Nearly every day"); this scoring should in fact be 0 ("Not at all") to 3 ("Nearly every day") in order to yield an accurate rating of depression or anxiety. We regret the error.
Books by Alex Korb
Books by Peter C. Whybrow
“The Upward Spiral approach to well-being blends the best of cutting-edge science with practical step-by-step instructions for improving your life. Alex Korb is a scientist and coach, insightful guide and encouraging teacher, who in this workbook offers you grounded ways to bring an uplifting strategy to ease anxiety and melt away depression to live a more meaningful, connected, and inspiring life ahead.”
—Daniel J. Siegel, MD, New York Times bestselling author of Aware
“The Upward Spiral is a helpful and eminently sensible approach to changing the thoughts and behaviors associated with depression. Alex Korb provides a practical guide for getting a handle on the disruption and pain caused by this common and painful condition.”
—Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind, and Pulitzer Prize finalist for Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire
“Deeply practical and effective tools based in science to not only grow strengths for resiliency around anxiety and depression—but also boost your skills for happiness.”
—Elisha Goldstein, PhD, author of Uncovering Happiness
“This easy-to-read book is chock-full of simple-to-do, scientifically supported ideas and exercises to overcome depression. Can you benefit from Korb’s techniques to train your brain to adopt new thinking and acting patterns that can also prevent depression from coming back? Let’s see. Change your facial expression as if you were smiling. If you can do this, you can do the antidepression exercises in this book. As you test new, helpful ideas and habit-forming actions, you may soon enough find the powerlessness thinking of pessimism replaced by the powerful thinking of realistic optimism. At that point, here is a question for you: What did I learn by taking charge of my own progress?”
—William Knaus, EdD, author of The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression and The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety
“The Upward Spiral Workbook is grounded in the same excellent neuroscience principles as The Upward Spiral but offers even more practical guidance to enacting meaningful life changes for alleviating depression and maintaining recovery. While I recognize its value in self-help, as a physician I’m also excited to use this workbook as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for my patients.”
—Helen Mayberg, MD, director of the Center of Advanced Circuit Therapeutics, and professor in the departments of neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry, and neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
“Alex Korb has empowered consumers to understand their neurophysiology and to take charge of their mental operating systems in order to develop new habits of body, mind, and spirit. Such changes reverse the downward spiral into depression. We face an epidemic of depression and suicide. Consumers want more than just pills and talk therapy. They need an array of evidence-based approaches they can use every day. Use this program, find what works for you, and change your life.”
—Richard P. Brown, MD, coauthor of The Healing Power of the Breath and Complementary and Integrative Treatments in Psychiatric Practice
“I fully love this workbook, it helps you to understand what is happening in our (sometimes) crazy brains in a really easy and fun way. Alex Korb inspired me to build my mindfulness app, Happy Not Perfect, after he was the first one to teach me how to cope with my emotions. Science meets emotional health, a recipe everyone needs to know about! This book can help you manage many different aspects of your life.”
—Poppy Jamie, founder of Happy Not Perfect
“Most books about happiness are so loaded with trite platitudes that they make me miserable. The Upward Spiral Workbook is a delightful exception. Alex Korb delivers actionable insights from the latest neuroscience in the most warm and accessible of ways. This practical yet intimate guide provides concrete steps toward a more positive outlook—and a better life.”
—Eric Barker, Wall Street Journal best-selling author of Barking Up the Wrong Tree
“Alex Korb is a genius. It’s easy to find an extremely clever neuroscientist, but what is rare, is finding a neuroscientist who can translate their knowledge into actionable advice and compelling metaphors. This book is packed with things I didn’t know, from fascinating facts about the architecture of sleep, to why exercise is like marijuana for the brain, to why sunglasses reduce tension. Brilliant.”
—Catherine Gray, author of The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober and The Unexpected Joy of Being Single
“Filled with tangible practices and rooted in research, The Upward Spiral Workbook is an accessible resource for anyone dealing with the stress and anxiety of modern life. I welcome its focus on helping the reader to understand not only why they may feel what they feel, but also how they may begin to shift—and doing this with self-compassion and without self-recrimination.”
—Nataly Kogan, author of Happier Now
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