Here’s the Science Behind Why Holiday Lights and Decorations Can Boost Your Mood

Holiday lights

Even if we’re not exactly talking about it, it kind of goes without saying that holiday lights and decorations have a certain je ne sais quoi as far as raising our spirits and boosting our mood goes. But what is it exactly about those multi-colored tree lights and pine garlands that have the power to transform even the staunchest of grinches and scrooges into a positively chipper ray of sunshine? (Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but you get the point.) Apparently, it all comes down to science.

When you break it down, there are a few different reasons that holiday decorations can make way for a better mood, the first of which comes down to the lights; and more specifically, colorful lights. Thanks to what’s known as chromotherapy – aka color therapy – strings of colorful Christmas lights could majorly boost energy levels and feelings of happiness. Basically the way this works is that each color has a specific frequency and vibration – as do the organs, muscles, and nerves within our body. So when things in our body are a little out of sync or whack, chromotherapy utilizes the regulating vibrations of colors to recover a state of balance within the body. And all of that is besides the fact that individual colors promote a host of unique benefits on their own (ie. yellow boosts feelings of happiness and security, while blue has a calming effect that might help regulate breathing, etc.).

Looking even beyond just holiday lights to instead look at how holiday decorations in general can contribute to a better mood on a broader scale, the nostalgia and novelty that comes with the holiday season both tend to play into the feel good vibes of the season, too. “It does create that nuerological shift that can produce happiness,” psychologist Deborah Serani said about holiday decorating in an interview with TODAY Home. “I think anything that takes us out of our normal habituation – the normal day in, day out – signals our senses and then our senses measure if it’s pleasing or not.” More often than not, Serani says, the result of these signals tends to be that the body experiences a strong spike in the feel-good hormone dopamine.

Well, well, well, what do you know – it looks like holiday cheer might be a matter of scientific fact. (The Grinch never stood a chance. Like, phsyiologically.)