It’s True—Too Much Christmas Music Can Affect Your Mental Health

Those holiday Grinches might be onto something.

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Even if you love Christmas music, too much of it is might be causing you more harm than you realize. In fact, Linda Blair, clinical psychologist, says it might actually damage your mental health.

According to CBS News, listening to too much Christmas music too soon into the season can trigger feelings of stress, like thinking about your holiday shopping and party planning to-do list. After all, who wants to be reminded that the average American spends $700 on gifts during the holiday season? (Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save money while gift shopping.)

Besides being a reminder of long holiday to-do lists, sometimes other memories are subconsciously triggered by certain Christmas songs, too. Unfortunately, if they’re bad memories, this results in feelings of distress and negativity. “Music isn’t something we process rationally at first,” Blair told Reader’s Digest. “We don’t go to the frontal cortex first . . . we go straight to emotions—the amygdala.”

“People working in shops at Christmas have to learn how to tune it out . . . because if they don’t, it really does make you unable to focus on anything else,” Blair told Sky News. “You’re simply spending all your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing.” Blair told Reader’s Digest that the same concept applies to retail shoppers, and added that when the music is being played too loudly, concentration becomes more difficult and requires more energy.

“[However,] shoppers are in a good place because they can leave [the stores],” Blair told Reader’s Digest. “My main concerns are the workers who are stuck there . . . I recommend [employees] speak to their managers, because when music is unusually loud and there is a small playlist, you get much more irritated much more quickly.” Blair also mentions the concept of learned helplessness: the feeling of not having control over certain things—which, in this case, is the music. She suggests that retail managers have their employees take a survey on which Christmas songs should be played and to have a large playlist rather than a small, repetitive one. Gift-giving can be awkward–know what to write in your Christmas cards this year. 

Now that you know not to go overboard on the Christmas tunes this season, be sure to check out this list of the best-ever Christmas songs.

Next: These facts about the White House Christmas tree will blow you away.

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Brittany Gibson
Brittany Gibson is a regular contributor to RD.com’s culture, food, health, and travel sections. She was previously an editorial intern for RD.com and Westchester Magazine. Her articles have appeared on Buzzfeed, Business Insider, AOL, Yahoo, and MSN, among other sites. She earned a BA in English from the University of Connecticut