Is This Holiday Tradition Hurting Your Mental Health?

December 9th, 2019

The Holidays increase many people’s joy and happiness. Many experience an increase in mood when decorating their homes with twinkling lights and Christmas countdown calendars along with reading holiday cards from distant family members. But, which holiday tradition can make you annoyed and irritable? Hearing holiday music too soon can have the opposite effect.

According to The Tampa Bay Times, Best Buy begins cranking out “Here Comes Santa Claus” as early as October 20, and Walmart starts to play holiday music in mid-November. Have you ever shopped on Black Friday when a retail location has not blared “Jingle Bells”? I think not.

According to BestLife, “Research has shown that music does affect how we think and act, even if it’s only playing in the background. According to a landmark 1999 study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, people buy more French wine when a store is playing French music and more German wine when German music is blaring. So it makes sense that retail stores might think that blasting Christmas hits would compel people to buy more toys for their kids. But that strategy can easily fall flat.”

At first, holiday music can spark feelings of nostalgia. But after the tenth or twentieth time Michael Bublé’s Christmas album blasts through the speakers, you may feel annoyance, boredom, and even distress.

It’s the “mere exposure effect,” psychologist Victoria Williamson told NBC. Essentially, when you’ve heard songs a certain amount of times, the brain becomes oversaturated and you start to find them unpleasant. Then, other stresses about money, traveling, or seeing relatives can become exacerbated.

Holiday music isn’t going to go away – especially for the next two weeks.  So, if you still need to help Santa fill his sack with presents, listen to non-holiday music or a book on tape as your travel to the mall in order to compensate for the number of times you will hear “Jingle Bell Rock” in Old Navy.

If you need to save your sanity and honestly cannot stand to hear Mariah Carrey’s holiday album one more time while shopping, don’t forget your earphones. There’s nothing wrong with listening to your favorite bands while you shop for your last minutes gifts. The Holidays are known for its happiness. Do what makes you happy this holiday season!

To learn how Fitness for Health can help you increase your mind-body connection this holiday season, visit or call 301-231-7138.

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