Neuroscientist Alex Korb teaches how to live our lives in an Upward Spiral. We've all experienced a downward spiral. An upward spiral is linking positive actions together to the point where life keeps getting better and better.
Things like petting a dog, physical activity, quality sleep, and creating a daily gratitude practice are just some of the ways you can start moving in an upward spiral. Listen in as Matt and Alex discuss the neuroscience of feeling good.
Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation:
[08:58] The Power of Doing the Things You Enjoy
When you’re struggling, the best place to start is to do the things you enjoy. For instance, oftentimes, using the term “exercise” can suck all the fun out of it because now, it feels forced. Instead, just start moving your body and make sure you’re enjoying whatever physical activity you’re doing. When you start doing things that you enjoy, you begin to modulate circuits like dopamine and serotonin, which help overcome momentary distress or stress.
[16:50] The Power of Rest
If you can improve the quality of your sleep, you don't even need to get more of it. It's actually better to get a shorter amount of quality sleep than eight or nine hours of low-quality sleep. And so, it doesn't have to take more time. Getting enough quality sleep improves your mood, overrides bad habits, and increases your ability to focus.
[26:47] Activating the Gratitude Circuit
Research shows that practicing gratitude, such as writing a gratitude journal, improves the quality of your sleep, and also reduces anxiety. Stop looking for the one big solution that's going to fix everything. Instead of spending five minutes before bed playing games on your phone, write a gratitude journal.
[12:31] When you start doing things that you enjoy, the motivation is coming from within you. It's a choice. [12:38]
[19:58] Getting enough quality sleep improves your mood. It helps you override bad habits and it increases your ability to focus. [20:09]
[28:40] Stop looking for the one big solution that's going to fix everything. Just make one tiny change that's better than the default. [28:46]
The Upward Spiral by Alex Korb
The Empath’s Workbook by Krista Carpenter
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About the Guest
Alex Korb is a neuroscientist, a coach, and a best-selling author. He has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA where he’s also part of the Department of Psychiatry faculty. Alex is the founder of The Upward Spiral, a method that helps smart, passionate professionals conquer unnecessary overthinking, stress, and self-doubt. He also has a wealth of experience in yoga, mindfulness, physical fitness, and stand-up comedy.