Christmas Music May Be Bad For Your Mental Health, Psychologists Say

New research shows Christmas music can be bad for your mental health. As early as October, retail stores start playing Christmas music to get you in the holiday and spending spirit. In fact, research shows a soundtrack of Christmas songs can encourage shoppers to stay longer, spend more, and visit again. But while science proves a relationship between music and sales, Christmas Creep, the phenomenon of stores putting out Christmas-themed merchandise and decorations earlier each year, means that, by mid-November, Christmas music is just plain annoying.

That is due to a psychological impact known as the “mere exposure effect,” according to a music psychology researcher. Dr. Victoria Williamson. Dr. Williamson says that there’s a “U-shaped relationship” between the number of times you hear a song you like before you stop enjoying that same song. “Anyone who has worked in a Christmas store over the holidays will know what I’m talking about,” Williamson says.

Moreover, Clinical psychologist Linda Blair says listening to Christmas music too early into the holiday season may affect mental health by triggering feelings of stress. Hearing a Christmas song can spark thoughts of all the things you have to do before the holiday, like shopping, party planning and traveling.

A 2015 Huffington Post survey found that 34% of American adults do not look forward to hearing Christmas songs in stores and public places.

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