Every year, the holidays seem to come earlier and earlier. Eager advertisers and retailers can’t wait to remind customers it’s almost shopping season, and people looking to get into the spirit of things start blasting their holiday playlists the moment October ends.
Researchers are now saying that all of this holiday music might be too much of a good thing, and in the end could be bad for your mental health.
Science says holiday music is bad for your mental health https://t.co/hAn1YsOYkB
— Ian Springham (@IanSpringham) October 16, 2018
Some time around mid-November, or even earlier these days, holiday music starts playing everywhere. In stores, on TV, and of course, on the radio. It’s almost impossible to escape it.
And though it may get people in the holiday spirit at the start of the season, towards the end, many are ready to pull their hair out.
It’s a phenomenon researchers call the mere exposure effect.
“There’s a U-shaped relationship between the amount of times we hear music that we like and our subsequent reaction to it,” says Victoria Williamson, Ph.D, who conducts research on the psychology of music at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Hearing a holiday song may cause a positive reaction at at first, but repetitive listening will cause it to have a diminishing effect, which could eventually become irritating and cause boredom or distress.
According to a Consumer Reports survey, 23 percent of dread holiday music.
The reason: repetitive music can have an amplifying effect during what is already a stressful season. If you’re already worried about work, shopping and visiting your family during the holidays, hearing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” for the hundredth time is only going to make things worse.
Of course, for the many people that dread holiday music, this wasn’t exactly news.
I knew it. https://t.co/0mngjAcKw8
— Ryan Blauvelt (@rbperc) October 17, 2018
Been saying that for years https://t.co/sHla5StgS7
— Kestrel MacKnight (@KesMacKnight) October 17, 2018
I really do love Christmas music. But there are a few Christmas pieces that make me RAGE. “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime” and “Last Christmas,” basically turn me into a madwoman. I will kill you with my bare hands. https://t.co/rOYmor09XT
— Lady Desiree (@ladydesiree) October 17, 2018
No kidding why is this news now smh ♀️ ♀️ https://t.co/NdgEp4LzvQ
— Karen Arevalo (@karevalostar) October 16, 2018
And retail workers may be getting the worst of it.
Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist, says constant holiday music can be especially taxing for people working where it’s played all day:
“People working in the shops [have to tune out] Christmas music, because if they don’t, it really does stop you from being able to focus on anything else…’You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing.”
And people want to know why retail workers get a little nutty when the stores start playing this stuff the day of Halloween. Lol https://t.co/yiCUib8YFH
— DK the Trainer (@DKtheTrainer) October 16, 2018
Tell your boss this before the endless loop of Christmas music starts playing at your restaurant. https://t.co/KK2sNCKlcy
— The Bitchy Waiter ® (@bitchywaiter) October 16, 2018
Especially if you work in the service industry and get to listen to it over and over and over, all day, every day, from November 1 through New Years. https://t.co/6qoaYDpo8K
— Atheistic One (@atheistic_1) October 16, 2018
So what’s the solution to all this added holiday stress? Researchers say that seasonal scents like pine and cinnamon can help promote feelings of happiness. And just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean holiday music is all you should listen to. Make sure to change your music playlists to keep your brain from getting bored. The best way to keep from burning out on holiday music is to listen to it less.