Holiday Music Could Be Mentally Draining, According to Science
If there’s one thing we can all agree on during the holiday season it’s that “All I Want For Christmas” is Mariah Carey’s magnum opus.
The song, which debuted way back in 1993, has become a perennial favorite during the Christmas season. And sure, it’s good, in fact, it’s great. But, if you feel like you’re going to go totally bonkers if you hear that song one more time in the month of November you’re not alone. Because as it turns out, stores really are playing holiday music earlier and earlier and researchers say this can be terrible for our mental health.
According to a 2011 Consumer Reports survey, nearly a quarter of Americans reported “dreading” the sounds of holiday music. And that’s perhaps because we all find the music so mentally exhausting.
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"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,” Clinical psychologist Linda Blair told Inc.com. “You're simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you're hearing."
So what’s the best way to fight off holiday music fatigue? As Inc noted, it may be best to keep a varied playlist onhand that includes both holiday and non-holiday tunes. This way, psychologist Victoria Williamson explained to NBC, you can fight off the “exposure effect,” which happens when you hear a song too many times and it turns from nice to nailson a chalkboard.
Writer Shana McGough explained it best by saying: "I think at first Christmas music is nice, it's nostalgic, and it gets me into the holiday spirit. Then, it gets old, and it can start to feel like a part of a giant sales machine trying to bleed me dry."
If you’re hoping to keep your sanity and your holiday spirits high it may be best to avoid Christmas-themed tunes until after Thanksgiving. Though, according to The Tampa Bay Times, that may mean avoiding Best Buy, which starts playing holiday music in October, Sears, KMart, and Michaels, which all crank the tunes around November 1, and H+M, Walmart, and JCPenny, which kick off their seasonal music throughout the month.
Of course, if you’re a holiday-loving maniac who just never takes down the Christmas lights then carry on with your life because this is your time to shine.