Thanksgiving hasn't even taken place yet, and already the malls and the occasional radio station are taking it on themselves to ensure you don't forget about the arrival of the much-hyped most wonderful time of the year. If you're among those who believe Taylor Swift's version of "White Christmas" might have social ramifications across the U.S. or that a rendition of "Silent Night" by Justin Bieber just kills the very idea of serenity, you're not alone.
There are scores of folks out there who believe the next holiday movie should be dubbed How the Cringe Stole Christmas. As for listening to the endless rollout of Yuletide might be harmful to your mental health, there's plenty of evidence that might support such a claim. For openers, one study from Consumer Reports revealed that 23 percent of survey respondents dreaded all that holiday music, according to Business Insider.
Then there's British-based clinical psychologist Linda Blair, who has the misfortune of sharing a name with the actress of the demonically-possessed flick The Exorcist, and who believes that repetitious exposure to those nutcracker nuggets can wreak havoc on your mental health. She stops short of stating that those tunes can actually inflict physical damage on your grey matter or can literally get your head spinning (a feat demonstrated by the thespian Blair in the aforementioned movie).
"People working in the shops at Christmas have to [tune out] Christmas music because if they don't, it really does stop you from being able to focus on anything else," said Blair, obviously sympathizing with hapless retail staff in December. "You're simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you're hearing."
The reasoning goes that Christmas music might come across as innocuous at first listen. But over time, the repeat factor brings tedium into play, and then sheer annoyance over the umpteenth airing of "Jingle Bells." This oversaturation, in turn, magnifies other concerns in your life, from finances to family obligations, to the point where you turn into a walking stress bubble ready to burst at any moment.
Most of us can escape this heavy exposure simply by turning off the radio or TV. And at times when every station or network is pumping out those holiday faves, check out a podcast or Netflix stream of something totally different. As for those having to work the stores during the season, earplugs might come in handy or even suggesting to the manager to mix the tunes coming over the speakers with some more secular offerings.
As for the rest of the year, use the same advice to weed out anything by Nickelback.