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Love it or hate it, the sound of Christmas music fills the air of most places you go these days. Jingle bells playing in the dentist office, Deck the Halls on the car radio on the way to work, and Frosty the Snowman as you run into the store for milk. You can’t escape it, and for many of it us, Christmas music is essential for getting in the holiday spirit. For others, however, Christmas music leaves us feeling…well, less than holly jolly.
If this sounds like you, you may find comfort that you are not alone. A new study by British psychologist Linda Blair, reports that Christmas music stress is real and can drain you mentally. It is especially stressful the earlier in the year it is played. In fact, the Tampa Bay Times questioned popular stores as to when they first start playing holiday music, and some started as early as the middle of October- two whole months before Christmas! Not only can it be stressful for customers in these stores, but it also takes a toll on the employees forced to repeatedly hear the same songs while trying to focus on their work.
Don’t compare yourself to the Grinch just because too much holiday music has you singing Blue Christmas. Blair suggests that holiday music can be harmful to your mental health, and is especially irritating when played too loudly, too early in the year, and too often. Why you ask? People have an emotional connection to music. Just as music can make you feel joyful and remember happy childhood moments from the holidays, it can bring up difficult memories as well. Christmas music can trigger anxiety, sadness, and painful memories from the past. Holiday music can also signal your brain to think about everything you need to get done before Christmas and worry about the endless holiday to-do list.
So Scrooges everywhere, rejoice in the fact that there is research to support your need for a Silent Night.
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