You've probably seen the news: "Playing Christmas Music Is Bad For Your Mental Health". It's a revelation Grinches everywhere have been waiting for. They can finally lash out at their tinsel-loving co-workers when the sweet sounds of Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" begin blasting out of the office speakers.
Well, as it turns out, listening to Christmas music may actually be good for you, so if you're partial to a "Bah! Humbug!" or two at the sound of Michael Buble's cover of "Baby It's Cold Outside", you may want to stop reading now.
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Several scientific studies have shown that uplifting music - like Jingle Bell Rock, Frosty the Snowman and A Holly Jolly Christmas, to name a few - has been known to have a positive effect both physically and psychologically. According to these studies, the feeling associated when listening to music can be sorted into two categories, perceived emotions (when we appreciate the emotional tone of the piece, but not feel that emotion ourselves) and felt emotions. Felt emotions are when we connect to the feeling behind the piece we are listening to and it can impact our emotional state.
Music has a strong tie to nostalgia, which is why hearing a song from the early 2000's may bring back memories of primary school like it was yesterday. It's also why listening to certain Christmas songs can make people feel warm, fuzzy and child-like. Part of the reason why Christmas music is associated with joy is not necessarily the music itself, but the memories that come with it.
So, listening to Christmas songs may make you feel nostalgic for your childhood or just generally happy - rather than a Grinch - because your brain has already created positive associations with the music. And it's been proven.
Recent research conducted by researchers at McGill University proved that when people listen to happy, upbeat music, they can recall happy memories within a short amount of time.
In the experiment, the researchers had participants listen to four different genres of original music they had never heard before: happy (positive, high arousal), peaceful (positive, low arousal), scary (negative, high arousal) and sad (negative, low arousal). The researchers found that when the participants listened to happy, upbeat music, it brought about happy memories.
So, listening to Christmas music = nostalgic thoughts = happy memories and being a happier person.
Take that, scrooges.