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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.

» RELATED: Debate settled: This is the right time to put up your Christmas tree

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. 

» RELATED: 9-year-old battling cancer to celebrate Christmas early this year

“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.”

» RELATED: 7 tips on doing Christmas dinner on a budget

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.

» RELATED: Are the holidays the most miserable time of year?

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.

» RELATED: 12 expert-approved tips to avoid holiday weight gain

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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Loyal dog stays with lost 3-year-old overnight, police say

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 11:38 PM

Loyal Dog Stays With Lost Toddler Overnight

A family’s loyal dog stayed with a lost 3-year-old girl until search crews found them Saturday, according to police.

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Max, a 17-year-old blue heeler that is deaf and partially blind, walked off with the girl Friday afternoon. He stayed with her through the cold, rainy night until they were located about 15 hours later, more than a mile from home, on a remote part of the family’s property, according to ABC News.

"The area around the house is quite mountainous and is very inhospitable terrain to go walking in, so she'd traveled quite a distance with her dog that was quite loyal to her," Ian Phipps, an area controller with the State Emergency Service, told ABC News

The girl’s grandmother, Leisa Marie Bennett, faintly heard the child’s voice. She first found Max, who led her to the girl, who had minor cuts and bruises.

“When I heard her yell 'Grammy' I knew it was her," she told ABC News. "I shot up the mountain, and when I got to the top, the dog came to me and led me straight to her. He never left her sight. She smelled of dog. She slept with the dog. It could have gone any of 100 ways, but she's here. She's alive. She's well and it's a great outcome for our family."

For his efforts, Max was named an honorary police dog.

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Steve Bannon strikes deal in Mueller probe: reports

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 10:14 AM

Steve Bannon Makes Deal With Robert Mueller

Steve Bannon has struck a deal to be interviewed by a special prosecutor in the Robert Mueller investigation, according to reports.

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In the deal, Bannon will be interviewed by prosecutors rather than in front of the grand jury, according to CNN

Bannon, President Donald Trump's chief strategist, was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury last week. He is the first in Trump's inner circle to be interviewed in the investigation. It is unclear when the interview will take place.

Bannon was in Washington on Tuesday to testify before the House Intelligence Committee in its ongoing investigation of Russian meddling. The closed-door meeting was expected to focus on Bannon's time as Trump's campaign chief.

During the 12 hour testimony, Bannon's attorneys were relaying the interview to the White House, according to The Associated Press.

Bannon attorney Bill Burck corresponded with the White House counsel's office asking if his client could answer the questions he was being asked. The office told Burck that Bannon should not to talk about his work on Trump's transition team and his time in the White House, according to The Associated Press.

Trump named Bannon, the former chairman of the conservative news website Breitbart News, as his campaign chief in August 2016. Bannon left the Trump administration in August 2017.

He rejoined Breitbart News after his departure, but announced last week that he would be leaving again amid criticism of his comments to "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" author Michael Wolff.

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Steel rods to blame for flat tires to 30 cars on Florida highway

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 11:13 AM

Stranded motorists on northbound I-95 are assisted after 30 vehicles got flat tires Monday morning, April 23, 2018 due to metal debris in the road. (Photo: Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)
Stranded motorists on northbound I-95 are assisted after 30 vehicles got flat tires Monday morning, April 23, 2018 due to metal debris in the road. (Photo: Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)

A truck and trailer dropped steel rods onto Interstate 95 in South Florida early Monday, causing flat tires to 30 vehicles, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

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Crews have removed debris from the roadway and troopers are looking on the shoulders of the highway to make sure all of the rods have been collected, said Lt. Alvaro A. Feola, a FHP spokesman.

No one was injured, Feola said. A few cars also sustained damage to the rims of their tires. 

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Fight over Facebook post causes Florida woman to lose toe

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 9:56 PM

Fight over Facebook Post Causes Woman To Lose Toe

A Jacksonville, Florida, woman lost part of her toe in a fight that apparently started because of a post on Facebook, according to police. 

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On Tuesday at 11:47 p.m., an officer responded to a call about a battery with injuries at a residence in the 1700 block of W. 27th Street. 

The caller said that a woman would not leave her property, but that the woman had left the area by the time the officer arrived.

The caller told 911 that the woman had thrown a brick at her. Once the officer arrived at the scene, the caller said no one had thrown a brick and no one had been injured.

Shortly after the officer left the residence, the woman who was initially accused of throwing a brick flagged down an officer in the 4500 block of Moncrief Road and said she had been battered, the police report said. 

The accused woman, who is identified as the victim in the police report, said she had been in the front yard of the home, talking to her boyfriend. She said 19-year-old Gionet Dennis exited the residence and started yelling for the victim to get off her property. 

The victim told the officer that she had begun yelling back, and the two women had gotten into a fight. 

The victim's boyfriend tried to stop the fight by standing between the women. When the victim tried to get into her car and flee the scene, Dennis threw a brick at the vehicle and the brick landed on the victim's toe, the police report said.

The victim was able to leave the area, police said.

According to the police report, the boyfriend told the officer he had been trying to get the victim to leave the residence because he said Dennis was mad and posting on Facebook

The police report said the victim's toe was severely injured and appeared disfigured. The officer noted the tip of her toe was no longer attached. 

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department responded and treated the victim's injuries. 

Dennis was arrested and taken to a pretrial facility. 

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