3 Ways to Balance Brain Chemistry to Face Depression

Going out for a half hour walk every day can be a great way to balance brain chemistry and help with serotonin production so that you feel a lot better.
3 Ways to Balance Brain Chemistry to Face Depression
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Brain chemistry predisposes you towards certain states of mind. Any alteration can make you feel motivated or exasperated. In addition, depression is known to be linked to certain amino acids and neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.

In short, brain chemistry determines emotional state. Although, in many cases, there’s no other option than to resort to psychotropic drugs, today, we want to tell you about some complementary strategies.

1. Lack of dopamine and depression

A low level of dopamine can turn into apathy, mood swings, loss of interest in the things around us, and depression. This is because dopamine is one of the most important neurotransmitters for the brain: it mediates the communication of neurons and nerve cells.

Also, it’s known to have an essential function when it comes to generating the motivation to engage with our surroundings.

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How can I naturally increase my dopamine levels?

There’s an essential amino acid that increases dopamine: L-phenylalaline. The body can’t synthesize L-phenylalaline naturally and, because of that, you need to get it through food. Then, L-phenylalaline converts itself into tyrosine and, at the same time, generates dopamine production.

A handful of nuts.

You can get this amino acid through the following foods:

  • Meat
  • Green tea
  • Bananas
  • Beets
  • Dark chocolate
  • Dairy products
  • Seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin)
  • Nuts like almonds and walnuts

Also, practices like meditation or moderate sports can help to balance the chemical levels of our brain.

2. Serotonin, the happiness hormone

Low serotonin levels translate into stress, negative thoughts, and hopelessness. Most antidepressants act in the following way: they make it so that a series of inhibitors can’t stop the production of serotonin. However, you should know that you can boost its production.

How to boost your serotonin levels

  • Improve your diet by increasing your consumption of bananas, dark chocolate, avocados, fruits, seeds, nuts, and among others.
  • Try out a new hobby, something new: sign up for a painting class, a dance class, yoga, etc.
  • Listen to music: positive emotions help with the equilibrium of cerebral chemicals.
  • Go out and meet people.

Does eating chocolate help?

According to several studies, eating dark chocolate (that which contains a lot of cocoa) can help improve mood. The experts of Psychiatric Times indicate that this is due to several of its components, such as flavonoids, caffeine, theobromine, N-acylethanolamines, and phenylethylamine.

It’s important to point out that eating dark chocolate won’t significantly improve your mood on its own. However, it isn’t a bad idea to have a piece of delicious chocolate to comfort yourself and feel better. It’s a good idea to do it along with other measures to improve well-being (get good sleep, exercise regularly, do an activity that allows you to vent, etc.).

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3. To balance your brain chemistry, you should get good sleep

Poor sleep has serious consequences, including reduced serotonin levels. Good sleep helps neurotransmitters regulate themselves and promote a more stable emotional state.

A woman sleeping.

How to sleep better to take care of your brain health

  • Follow the same schedules for your day to day activities.
  • Exercise in the afternoon, but never before bed.
  • Make sure your room temperature is right.
  • Follow the same bedtime ritual: take a hot shower, drink a glass of milk with honey, and read a book. Two hours before bed, reduce your exposure to electronics. In other words, try to set your phone aside for a while before bed.

Drugs aren’t always the first options

To balance brain chemistry, don’t rush to resort to drugs, as other options can also prove beneficial. Good lifestyle habits can contribute significantly to this and, in addition, lead to additional benefits.

In other words, you’ll need psychological resources to be able to manage your emotions correctly. Similarly, good lifestyle habits will help you produce the neurotransmitters that we’ve talked about.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.