Plasticity of adult neurogenesis supports adaptation to environmental changes. The identification of molecular mediators that signal these changes to neural progenitors in the niche has remained elusive. Here we report that diazepam binding inhibitor (DBI) is crucial in supporting an adaptive mechanism in response to changes in the environment. We provide evidence that DBI is expressed in stem cells in all neurogenic niches of the postnatal brain. Focusing on the hippocampal subgranular zone (SGZ) and employing multiple genetic manipulations in vivo, we demonstrate that DBI regulates the balance between preserving the stem cell pool and neurogenesis. Specifically, DBI dampens GABA activity in stem cells, thereby sustaining the proproliferative effect of physical exercise and enriched environment. Our data lend credence to the notion that the modulatory effect of DBI constitutes a general mechanism that regulates postnatal neurogenesis.