037: Brain Habits for Hacking Happiness

Podcast Guest: Alex Korb

037: Brain Habits for Hacking Happiness

Listen to the Show:

In this Episode

Summary: On today’s episode of the Stronger Marriage Connection, Dr. Dave and Dr. Liz have a great conversation with Dr. Alex Korb talking about the little things we can do to create a stronger marriage connection. Happiness hacks start with us which then can translate into strengthening our relationships through understanding our own and other’s perceptions.  

The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this podcast do not necessarily reflect the views of the Utah Marriage Commission.”

0:00 – Introduction: Who is Alex Korb?
2:25 – What makes the Upward Spiral unique?
7:45 – The healthy “we” starts with the healthy “me”
9:10 – Our brains are wired to notice the negative and ignore consistency
12:48 – Practicing gratitude; direct your attention to what you can acknowledge is good
14:47 – Understanding depression and anxiety
15:57 – Acknowledge that you have a perspective
18:09 – Depression and anxiety are common; there is nothing broken or wrong with your brain
20:53 – Why do we get stuck in bad habits so easily?
24:29 – Focus on the little small tweaks for your body that create an upward spiral
30:28 – Gratitude is something you can do on your own to improve your relationships
34:16 – Breaking negative patterns activates reward circuits
37:12 – Expressing gratitude does not have an expiration date
39:22 – When to reach out to a medical professional
42:09 – Any step is better than being stuck
43:21 – Everyone’s perspectives are different
46:20 – Alex’s takeaway: when things are feeling really bad, realize that things aren’t as bad as they seem
48:33 – Liz’s takeaway: why the why
48:53 – Dave’s takeaway: Doing small things breaks up relationship ruts

About Alex Korb

Dr. Alex Korb is a neuroscientist, coach, and bestselling author of The Upward Spiral. He is the founder of The Upward Spiral Method where he helps smart, passionate professionals conquer unnecessary overthinking, stress, and self-doubt to unleash the brain's potential for passion, productivity, and purpose. Dr. Korb has a wealth of experience in yoga and mindfulness, physical fitness, and even stand-up comedy.

Dr. Alex Korb Links:


Insights and Invites


Alex: All we need to do is one small step. It doesn’t have to fix everything, it just has to be better than the default of the downward spiral your brain wants to go in.
Dave: A little small win can help create an upward spiral for our relationships.
Liz: Understanding why something is good for me rather than being told what to do gets my attention.


  • To get out of a mental rut, take a little step to break out of your brain’s default of negative habits. Try going for a walk, stepping outside in the sun, or even standing up for a few seconds.
  • Expressing gratitude and kindness is something in your control. Write down a few things you may take for granted but are grateful for nonetheless. Doing so tells your brain to focus more on the good rather on the negative.
  • You can’t always control your feelings, but you can control your actions. Take action by saying thank you to someone that influenced you in some way, even if it was a few days, weeks, or years ago. Gratitude does not have an expiration date. In fact, it tends to have even greater weight and mean more to the receiver over time.

Visit our site for FREE relationship resources and regular giveaways:



Facebook: StrongerMarriage.org

Instagram: @strongermarriagelife

TikTok: @strongermarriagelife 

Dr. Dave Schramm:





Facebook Marriage Group:


Facebook Parenting Group:



Dr. Liz Hale: