Too much Christmas music is bad for your health, psychologists say

Published: Thursday, November 09, 2017 @ 2:09 PM

A star hangs near a Christmas tree during Christmas shopping season in a shopping mall on December 8, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
Adam Berry/Getty Images Europe
A star hangs near a Christmas tree during Christmas shopping season in a shopping mall on December 8, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)(Adam Berry/Getty Images Europe)

The holiday season is upon us and that probably means the icicle lights are going up at your local hangouts, your neighbors are starting to set up the decor in their front yards and, of course, Christmas music is likely on a continuous loop everywhere you go — or it will be soon.

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If you’re not all that excited about the last bit, you’re not alone.

In fact, according to some mental health experts, hearing Christmas music can be psychologically draining, especially for those working in retail who have to listen to holiday tunes blasting in their stores regularly. 

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“People working in shops at Christmas have to learn how to tune it out -- tune out Christmas music -- because if they don’t, it really does make you unable to focus on anything else,” Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist in the United Kingdom, told Sky News. “You’re simply spending all your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing.”

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Music tends to bypass rationality and go straight for our emotions, Blair said. "It might make us feel that we're trapped. It's a reminder that we have to buy presents, cater for people, organize celebrations.”

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While previous research has shown that adding Christmas music or scents to the shopping experience yields a positive experience for shoppers, it could also lead to impulse buys, due to the music’s emotional influence, Blair said.

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The United Kingdom’s Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers also told Sky News it “ask(s) employers to consider the staff who have to listen to Christmas music all day, because playing the same songs repeatedly can become very irritating and distracting.”

» RELATED: President Trump says you'll be hearing 'Merry Christmas' a lot more this year

Increased stress during the holidays is also a major trend in the U.S., according to the American Psychiatric Association.

Some common holiday stressors could include financial demands of the season, dealing with the interpersonal dynamics of family and maintaining personal health habits, including an exercise regimen, a 2015 Healthline study on consumer health found.

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Ellen Braaten, a psychology professor at Massachusetts General Hospital, shared some tips in a Harvard Medical School report on holiday stress and the brain:

“People who feel stressed during the holidays should evaluate how they spend their time, decide what they want the holidays to mean to them, and keep their expectations for the season realistic.”

“The holidays are just another time of year,” Braaten said, “certainly something to mark, but not the end-all, be-all.”

Read more about holiday stress and the brain at neuro.hms.harvard.edu.

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Man accused of offering police $35,000 bribe to stop arresting him

Published: Wednesday, January 24, 2018 @ 3:43 AM

Tristahn Ash. (Credit: DeKalb police)
Tristahn Ash. (Credit: DeKalb police)

The scene was strange from the start.

DeKalb County, Georgia, police got a call Friday about a stolen Honda Fit spotted at Serenade Apartments on Flat Shoals Parkway. While officers looked over it and other suspected stolen cars parked nearby, someone kept pressing the clicker: locked, unlocked, locked, unlocked.

Police say they confirmed two were stolen and they staked out a third to see who would drive it, according to an incident report

They soon spotted Tristahn Ash, 20, get behind the wheel of the 2015 Infiniti QX80, valued at $42,111, the report said. Police pulled him over on Flat Shoals Parkway near Columbia Drive, but he allegedly ran, only to be caught a few hundred feet away.

That’s when he allegedly tried to bribe an officer to let him go.

>> Read more trending news 

“Officer, my money is long. I got 20 bands ($20,000),” the report quotes him saying. “If you help me, I can help you.”

The officer thought he was joking until Ash reportedly asked to speak to a detective on scene. The officer listened as they spoke and then heard the detective exclaim: “You trying to bribe me? Oh, no, buddy, that’s another charge.”

Warrants allege Ash offered the detective $10,000 to $15,000.

Police determined the Infiniti was stolen out of Clayton County and confiscated it, along with a handgun, 39 grams of marijuana and a scale.

Possessing the gun was a violation of Ash’s probation from a Fulton County case in which he received a stolen car, the report said. 

In DeKalb, he faces charges of bribery, theft by receiving, possessing a car with an altered VIN and more.

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Cheesecake Factory's famous brown bread is headed to grocery stores

Published: Wednesday, January 24, 2018 @ 1:24 AM

An employee carries freshly baked bread at a Cheesecake Factory Inc. restaurant in the Canoga Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. The Cheesecake Factory is scheduled to release earnings figures on August 3. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An employee carries freshly baked bread at a Cheesecake Factory Inc. restaurant in the Canoga Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. The Cheesecake Factory is scheduled to release earnings figures on August 3. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images(Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Cheesecake Factory fans rejoice! Starting this week, you’ll be able to enjoy one of the restaurant’s staples in the comfort of your own home.

The chain has announced that it’s rolling out its popular brown bread to grocery stores nationwide. The bread will be available to customers for purchase in three different forms: an eight-pack of heat-and-serve dinner rolls, a two-pack with mini baguettes or pre-sliced sandwich loaves.

>> Read more trending news 

The rolls and baguettes have a suggested price of $3.49, while the sandwich loaves are listed for $4.49.

The bread made from whole wheat flour is similar in calorie count to bread from other brands, coming in at just 110 calories per dinner roll and 80 calories per loaf slice.

People who have tried it reportedly have confirmed that it’s just as soft, chewy and slightly sweet as it is when you visit the Cheesecake Factory – just heat up the rolls or baguettes in the oven for five minutes at 350 degrees. Once they’re done, top them with butter or your favorite spread to add flavor.

The brown bread is part of the restaurant’s Cheesecake Factory at Home line, which includes several other products — cheesecake mix, coffee creamer and chocolates — that are available at grocery stores.

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Pulse Trial: Police body cam, surveillance video allowed in trial of alleged gunman’s wife

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 10:50 PM

A view of the Pulse Nightclub sign on June 21, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. A shooter killed 49 people and injured at least 100 in a shooting rampage on June 12, 2016.
Gerardo Mora/Getty Images
A view of the Pulse Nightclub sign on June 21, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. A shooter killed 49 people and injured at least 100 in a shooting rampage on June 12, 2016.(Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

A federal judge ruled Tuesday on what evidence will and will not be allowed in the Noor Salman trial.

>> Read more trending news 

Salman is the wife of Omar Mateen, who authorities have said killed 49 people and injured more than 100 at the Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016. Mateen was killed by police the night of the shooting.

Noor Salman is the wife of alleged Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen. Authorities believe she knew about the attack that killed 49 and did nothing to stop it.(Facebook/ WFTV.com)

Prosecutors believe Salman knew about the planned attack, came up with a cover story and did nothing to stop the shooting.

Salman faces charges of aiding a former terrorist organization and obstruction of justice.
Judge Paul Byron ruled evidence that involves police body-camera video and surveillance video from inside the nightclub will be allowed in court.

>> Related: Who is Noor (Salman) Mateen, wife of Orlando mass shooter?

The surveillance video shows Mateen walking around the club with a gun.

The evidence also included cellphone video inside a restroom where Mateen fired at several victims and survivors. In the video, multiple rounds of rapid gunfire can be heard. 

Body-camera video from officers showed law enforcement outside of the club giving medical attention to gunshot victims.

Byron ruled last week that a terrorism expert will be allowed to testify about Mateen’s Facebook posts on the Islamic State group.

>> Related: Pulse trial: Terrorism expert allowed to testify

A psychologist has also been allowed to testify.

Salman’s trial is set to begin March 1.

No more free checking for Bank of America customers with low balances

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 11:42 PM

Charlotte-based Bank of America has eliminated a free checking account popular with lower-income customers. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Charlotte-based Bank of America has eliminated a free checking account popular with lower-income customers. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Charlotte-based Bank of America has eliminated a free checking account popular with lower-income customers.

>> Read more trending news

The bank is now requiring customers to keep more money in their accounts to avoid a $12 monthly fee.

A national petition on change.org has more than 52,000 signatures from people begging the bank not to end its free checking accounts.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the bank switched its e-banking customers into the new accounts this month.

E-checking, which launched in 2010, had a monthly fee of $8.95, but customers could avoid the fee by using online banking and not using a teller.

Now, those customers will have to pay a $12 monthly fee unless they maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $1,500 or make a direct deposit of $250 or more.

Jessica Wassman said her boyfriend just learned about Bank of America’s plan to end its e-checking accounts and transfer those customers to core checking accounts.

"It did seem a little unfair,” Wassman said. “If you don't make a certain amount of money, you get penalized for it. It was a little insulting. The cost of living is going up, but poverty is still big and people can't afford simple things.”

Economist John Connaughton said checking accounts cost banks money and, with the economy improving, said customers can expect higher bank fees.

"When you start to see 4 percent unemployment, those are the types of things that happen,” Connaughton said.