Is Christmas Music Bad for Your Mental Health?

Have the Grinches of the world been vindicated by a HealthLine report that claims Christmas music can be detrimental to your mental health, or does the collective joy brought on by the holiday season outweigh the endless loop of Christmas classics?

The holidays may be the most profitable time of year for many retail establishments, but the spike in sales traffic and endless stream of holiday songs can take a toll on workers. According to clinical psychologist Linda Blair, Christmas music played too early at retail establishments can cause anxiety because “It’s a reminder that we have to buy presents, cater for people, organize celebrations.” She also argues that while the festive spirit may spur impulse purchases, it can also chase customers out of the store. Retail employees do not have the option to flee and instead have to cope with a pervasive holiday themed soundtrack.

Employees and shoppers are exposed to more than just the soundtrack and commerce of Christmas. There is also the potential danger posed by the endless array of artificially scented items that are wheeled in every winter. Scented candles often contain phthalates, which have been linked to numerous hormonal disruptions, breast cancer, early or delayed puberty and more. This is true not only of scented candles, but also of other holiday fragrances, such as air fresheners and potpourri.

Holiday candles can quickly turn the warm glow of nostalgia into a towering inferno. The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas Eve, Christmas day and New Year’s Day. December is a busy month for fires in general because of combustible seasonal decorations. Make sure you read my article on the “Dangers of Christmas Decorations” for more information on how to protect yourself, your property and loved ones this holiday season.

How you feel about and deal with the music of the holidays is in the end a personal decision. Consider using the empowering Emotional Freedom Techniques if holiday music is a stressor you cannot tune out. There are also natural ways to capture the scent of the holiday season without resorting to chemical laden candles. Consider using a diffuser and essential oils such as spruce oil, pine oil, lavender and mulberry.

Fragrant essential oils provide myriad benefits and can bring back positive memories. If the holiday season is stressful for you, then aromatherapy may be the answer. A systematic review of 16 randomized controlled trials examining the anxiolytic (anxiety-inhibiting) effects of aromatherapy among people with anxiety symptoms showed that most of the studies indicated positive effects to quell anxiety (and no adverse events were reported). Even if your memories are pleasant, aroma therapy harnesses the power of scents to trigger odor-evoked autobiographical memories of holidays past.
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