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Psychologists Say Christmas Songs Can Have Negative Impact On Mental Health

Jake Massey

Published 
| Last updated 

Psychologists Say Christmas Songs Can Have Negative Impact On Mental Health

Christmas is just around the corner. Well, not really, it's about 10 weeks away, but the world we live has you thinking it's Christmas Eve every day from late September onwards.

A strong arm of this festive indoctrination is Christmas music, which is blared out on loop in almost every shop in the hope of surreptitiously convincing people to splash their cash.

But it transpires that this could actually be having a damaging affect on your mental health... the expression 'no shit Sherlock' springs to mind.

A large part of the problem is the repetition of Christmas music. According to NBC, Victoria Williamson, PhD, who conducts research on the psychology of music at Goldsmiths, University of London, said this repetition leads to the mere exposure effect. This effect is typified by an initial appreciation of the music, perhaps due to nostalgia. However, this appreciation quickly peaks as we reach saturation point, and from then on we become less and less receptive to the music.

Williams said the likes of 'Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow' could also remind people of any stresses they may be having relating to the festive period, be it finances or visiting relatives.

Clinical psychologist, Linda Blair, said the proliferation of Christmas music could also cause cognitive fatigue for workers in the retail industry.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

According to Inc., she said: "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."

It is a torturous prospect. Let us all take a moment this Christmas to think of our local supermarket self-service checkout attendant, who will go to bed every night with a horrific broken record ringing around their brains: "Have a holly jolly - unexpected item in bagging area - Last Christmas - unexpected item in bagging area - Do they know it's Christmas ti - unexpected item in bagging area - we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new ye - unexpected item in bagging area - Have a hol - unexpected item in bagging area..."

But unfortunately for retail staff across the planet, there is no sign of Santa and his brain-draining little helpers fucking off out of the shop, because while the festive bangers may drive many of us mad, they also drive sales.

Eric Spangenberg, PhD, dean of the College of Business at Washington State University, has studied how music can encourage holiday shopping, when done correctly.

According to NBC, he said: "We've shown that 'holiday appropriate' music combined with congruent 'holiday scents' can influence shoppers by increasing the amount of time they spend in a store, their intention to revisit it, and intention to purchase.

"Slower tempo music slows down shoppers, and they spend more time and money in a store."

So in a few months time, when you're umming and ahing over buying that sweater for your nephew, and you hear Bing Crosby crooning in your ear, think of how the man is trying to nick your cash, think of your comrades at Tesco, think of your mental health and tell your nephew to buy his own fucking sweater.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Christmas, Mental Health

Jake Massey
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