Holiday Music is Bad For Your Health – Scientifically, Speaking
Now's the time where, everywhere you go, you start to hear Michael Bublé's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Taylor Swift's Last Christmas, and of course, Mariah Carey with her All I Want For Christmas Is You cover. But did you know that all of those repeats of Jingle Bells could be bad for your health in the long run?
While it might be nostalgic to put yourself in the holiday spirit with some holiday music around this time, repeating the music to yourself over and over could be the cause of annoyance, boredom, and even mental distress according to researchers.
This is all because of an effect known as the Mere-exposure Effect. It's a Jingle Bell-shaped curve of how much you like a song based on its repetition. You may notice it in other music than just Christmas music, when that song you added to a playlist gets played over and over until you're sick of it, and then you're skipping it every time it comes up.
With Christmas music, though, there are more factors at work. When you're already worried about work, money for the holidays, or travelling to see family, the stress of over-saturation from Christmas music can mentally drain you. Studies say that it can affect employee productivity, irritate customers, and even cause cognitive fatigue.
This Christmas, vary your music intake to prevent the exposure effect from sapping your holiday cheer. Try new Christmas songs, or take frequent breaks to listen to other genres.
Or buy some noise-cancelling headphones as an early Christmas present to yourself.