If you’re struggling with your mental health, one of the first things any professional will tell you is to get some exercise.

The release of dopamine and endorphins from working out has been shown to improve mood – even if doing so in isolation without additional treatment isn’t a long-term solution for severe cases of mental illness.

But new research has found that music can have an equally powerful impact on wellbeing.

The study pulled together data from 26 studies and a total of 779 patients from across the globe.

It found that singing, listening to music or playing an instrument had a positive impact on wellbeing, with the feel-good hormone dopamine being released when our favourite tunes reach their peak.

Playing music alongside exercise or other forms of treatment, including during therapy, made it even more effective.

Researchers believe that the rhythm of listening to or playing music stimulates the neocortex, leading to relaxation and a pleasant ‘flow state’.

The study may be small, but it points to yet another non-clinical intervention that we all have access to – a small way to boost your mood if you’re finding things tough.

Words: Joe Minihane