Christmas music can be damaging to mental health, claim scientists

Some of us love a good sing-along to Mariah or Wham! every festive season and others simply refuse to join in and are labelled "Scrooge" by their nearest and dearest.

However, experts have suggested that the incessant repetition of holiday music can actually have a damaging psychological impact.

It's pretty much impossible to avoid the Christmas tunes altogether, as they're absolutely everywhere at the moment, but for a select few, the generally uplifting music can hold sadder connotations.

Scientists explained that there is an effect between how often we hear a song and how much we like it, and it's called the mere exposure effect.

This means that whilst at first, listening to The Fairytale Of New York fills you with happiness and good memories of the holiday season, after a while it can lead to boredom, annoyance and even distress.

This is down to the brain becoming oversaturated, which then triggers a negative response.

For some, many things about Christmas could cause stress, such as financial problems, work issues or seeing family they don't get on with, so for them, the constant inundation of cheerful tunes may reinforce that stress, not relieve it.

Speaking to Business Insider, clinical psychologist Linda Blair revealed that Christmas music can be mentally draining.

"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," she said.

"You're simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you're hearing."

However, there are ways to ensure you don't get stuck in a rut.

Studies have shown that other Christmas-related things can help, with one revealing that wintery scents such as pine and cinnamon can help conjure happy emotions.

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Cutch's Christmas Candle is a great one to invest in, at only £25 it's a bargain and looks great on the mantelpiece.

You can also switch up your music so people's brains don't get bored, as playing the same Christmas songs all season long produces cognitive fatigue.

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