7 Quick & Easy Ways to Balance Your Life
Your brain is a dynamic, ever-changing and incredibly complicated organ. No one knows exactly how complex the brain is, but scientists estimate you have upwards of 86 billion nerve cells in your brain, which is more than the number of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy.
The main way these nerve cells communicate with each other is through chemical messengers called neurotransmitters.
What Are Neurotransmitters?
Neurotransmitters (or transmitters) are substances selectively produced and released by individual nerve cells to influence the actions of other nerve cells. Transmitters pass across the trillions of junctions between the nerve cells (synapses). As the synapses turn on and off, they enable your tens of billions of nerve cells to coordinate communications both within your brain and between your brain and the rest of your body. These informational transmissions influence the functioning of every cell, tissue, and organ in your body.
Of the many different transmitters, some of the most prominent are: acetylcholine, serotonin, dopamine, GABA, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. Your brain uses transmitters to tell your heart to beat, your lungs to breathe, your digestive system to process food, and your other body systems to function properly. To accomplish all these tasks, it’s essential that these transmitter systems work harmoniously with each other.
When your transmitter systems are balanced you can think more clearly, feel less worried, enjoy a more positive outlook and cope more effectively in stressful situations. Research has established that imbalances of transmitter systems can negatively affect mood, sleep, memory and concentration. Many factors can push transmitter systems out of their optimal range, including: stress, poor diet, excessive caffeine or alcohol, and prescription or recreational drugs.
More important than the status of any one transmitter system is their overall balance with each other. With billions of nerve cells and trillions of synapses firing at once, it’s crucial that they all work together in tight coordination.
Each brain cell must have all the ingredients (oxygen, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients) it needs to make and maintain its neurotransmitter systems. When these ingredients aren’t fully available, your nerve cells are less able to make and convert the energy required to regulate their transmitter systems. This can lead to problems with memory, focus, behavior and cognition.
Balance Your Life
In our high stress, full throttle society, it can be exceedingly difficult to achieve balance. From fast food diets and energy drinks to sleep fasts and work binges, many have sacrificed their health for convenience and expedience. Sadly, this lifestyle can lead to physical and mental hardships over time.
So how can you find balance in a world of extremes? For starters, there are general health guidelines you should follow, like: drink plenty of water, eliminate sugar from your diet and get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. But what other things should you be doing to improve mind/body balance?
Here are just a few steps you can take to achieve better balance in your life…
7 Strategies for Keeping Your Brain Balanced
- Balance Your Blood Sugar
Keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day with healthy snacks, vitamins and essential minerals. Low or unstable blood sugar levels starve the brain of the large amounts of energy it needs, which can lead to memory and focus problems, poor decisions, irritability, and bad behaviors.
- Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Engaging in outdoor activities is important for everyone, especially for those who live a sedentary lifestyle. Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding or just taking a walk with a friend, being outdoors has an overall positive effect on vitality. Walking can help clear your mind, improve your mood and burn some calories all at the same time.
- Shut Out Distractions
Though difficult to accomplish in our tech-dependent world, do your best to remove distractions from your life. Pick a time when all devices will be set aside for the evening. Turn off your phone and anything else that blinks, dings, buzzes, or vibrates. Not only will this provide a break from calling, texting, and engaging with social media, it will also afford you and your family the opportunity to spend more quality time together.
- Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is an effective relaxation technique that can be done anywhere, anytime. Whenever you feel angry, moody or stressed, take a deep breath, hold it for one or two seconds, then slowly exhale for about five seconds. Do this 10 times and you’ll start to feel more relaxed. It’s much easier to achieve a balanced mood when you slow down and become more efficient with your breathing.
- Healthy Pleasure Centers
Deep inside your brain, your pleasure centers respond to many transmitters, particularly dopamine. When the dopamine system isn’t working properly, cravings, low motivation and negative mood can develop. Improve your dopamine balance naturally by engaging in meaningful and beneficial activities on a regular basis. It’s equally important to avoid wearing out your pleasure centers with substance abuse, gambling, video games, and compulsive eating or shopping.
- Just Relax
Practicing yoga and getting massages can do more than just improve your physical function. Clinical studies indicate that both are beneficial for improving mood and coping with stress. Massages can lower the stress hormone cortisol while increasing dopamine and serotonin activity. Yoga can increase brain GABA, reduce anxious feelings and improve overall mood.
- Get Supplemental Support
One of the best ways to achieve better balance is with high-purity, brain-healthy supplements. If you find yourself having negative thoughts or if you feel that your stress levels have nearly reached the breaking point, BrainMD offers a range of powerful supplements for stress and mood that can help turn your day around. These brain-directed supplements have been formulated with the highest quality ingredients to help you feel calm, content, and able to manage stress or mental strain.
One product we’re proud to recommend is NeuroLink…
Proper transmitter balance is essential for healthy brain function. BrainMD’s NeuroLink supports a diverse array of such key transmitters as adrenaline, noradrenaline, dopamine, serotonin, GABA, and glutamate. NeuroLink provides an exclusive blend of nutrients that can help you maintain a positive mood, keep your focus, and deal with stressful challenges by helping your neurotransmitters stay in balance.
- Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate) – this vitamin is essential in the production and functioning of several neurotransmitter systems, and for at least 100 enzymes that help the brain utilize amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates. Vitamin B6 also is important for the healthy functioning of our genes.
- L-Tyrosine – an amino acid required to produce the neurotransmitters dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. The adrenal glands work together with the brain to manage stress, and use tyrosine to make these same three transmitters. Your brain needs tyrosine to promote mental clarity during times of stress.
- GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) – an amino acid transmitter that regulates the excitability of nerve circuits in the brain and is considered the brain’s main calming neurotransmitter. GABA tightly regulates the activity of synapses but also remains important for the growth of new nerve cells. Low levels of GABA are associated with brain hyper-excitability, untypical behavior, cognitive difficulties, and mood challenges.
- L-Glutamine – an amino acid important for nerve cells to make glutamate, a transmitter present in 80 percent of the brain’s nerve cells, as well as the calming transmitter GABA. Glutamate is essential for learning and memory and is involved in maintaining healthy mood. It is also an important transmitter for the adrenals, bone and pancreas organ systems.
- L-Taurine – an amino acid that helps stabilize nerve cell electrical activity and protects against calcium overload. It also plays these roles in the eyes and other organs. Taurine is essential for the health of all our cells by being essential for the mitochondria that generate over 90 percent of their energy.
- 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) – a derivative of the amino acid tryptophan, 5-HTP is very convenient for the nerve cells to convert into serotonin. 5-HTP helps maintain mental and emotional balance, can reduce occasional feelings of anxiety, support behavioral self-control, promote calm and relaxation, and facilitate better quality sleep. It’s also a powerful brain antioxidant.
BrainMD’s NeuroLink can help support and promote better balance in your brain and life.
For more information about NeuroLink and our full catalog of brain healthy products, please visit us online at BrainMD.
Keith is grateful to have the opportunity to write about supplements since many of them have made a dramatic difference in his life. He is often heard around the office saying, “We have supplements for that.”