Psychologist says listening to holiday music could be bad for your mental health
We've not even reached the end of October yet, and already there are hints of Christmas no matter where you look. Stores are stocked with advent calendars and festive wrapping, online retailers are bombarding us with advertisements for 'the perfect gift', and - if your family are anything like mine - relatives are fretting about whose turn it is to cook the turkey for everyone this year.
But that's not the worst thing about it.
No, aside from all the mall Santas and abundance of decorations and special "festive editions" of McDonald's burgers, there is really only one thing about Christmas in October that really irks a lot of people: the music.
Look, I don't want to sound like a Scrooge here (seriously, I love Christmas), but there's just something distinctly irritating about hearing Christmas music so long before December 25th - especially as there's only maybe five or six decent festive jingles (Spaceman Came Travelling is my top tune, and I will fight anyone who dares to question me).
As it turns out, though, listening to Christmas songs early isn't just irritating, it can also have a detrimental effect on your health.
Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist, has said that - contrary to its intended purpose - Christmas music can actually 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 explained. "You're simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you're hearing."
But even for those of us who aren't constantly surrounded by festive jingles, Christmas music can still have a negative effect. As Business Insider explains:
"At first, holiday music may spark nostalgia and get you in the holiday spirit. But hearing "Jingle Bells" for the millionth time can lead to annoyance, boredom, and even distress, researchers say.
"That's because the brain becomes oversaturated, triggering a negative response. If you're already worried about money, work, or seeing family during the holidays, the constant inundation of cheerful tunes may reinforce your stress instead of relieving it."
Essentially, then, even though we think of Christmas as being "the most wonderful time of the year", it's actually one of the most difficult for a lot of people - and the constant reminder of that is obviously not going to inspire the most positive of moods in everyone.
Of course, this doesn't mean you should cut Christmas songs completely from your life. We all love a little bit of 'Last Christmas' or 'Jingle Bell Rock' when the time is right, but you should at least consider holding off until December to blast them out at the office or play in your car during the commute.
And, even when you do want to listen to some festive tracks, why not intersperse them with some other songs you like? After all, it is possible to have too much of a good thing - and also it's just funnier to listen to Cardi B straight after Silent Night.