Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


Your Mental Health Could Be Contagious

posted by Linda Mintle

depressed studentsYou are sick with the flu so you stay home so as not to infect anyone. But did you ever think your mental health could be contagious?

Researchers at Nortre Dame discovered that thinking styles can be contagious. Your negative thinking can infect another person. Here is what they found.

Notre Dame, like most universities, assigns roommates their freshman year. The researchers looked at how the roommates responded to diversity, specifically how they thought about problems in school like failing an exam. When a more positive person was paired with a more negative person, the negative person infected the positive. Students who were more negative saw failure as a personal problem compared to the more positive student who chalked it up to circumstances like not studying enough. The students who attributed failure to personal problems were more at risk for depression down the road.

But what was really interesting is that the researchers tracked pairs of students who had different styles of responding to adversity and found they infected each other. Within 6 months, the negative students had successfully infected the formally cheery students! And the reverse was also true. The cheery students infected the negative students in a good way making them more resilient.

The take away–you can catch the cheer from cheery people. Try to surround yourself with people who are upbeat and look at the glass half full. if you are heading off to college, find a roommate who is upbeat and deals with adversity in a positive way. Or become that person who refuses to give in to the negative and sees the bright side of even the most difficult situation.

Spread the cheer. Infect someone today!

 

Source: Haeffel & Hames, Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, Cognitive Vulnerability to Depression Can Be Contagious. Published in Clinical Psychological Science, April 2013.

 

 



Previous Posts

Could Visualizing Food Make You Eat Less?
You are on your way to work and feel hungry. The morning rush caused you to skip breakfast. You pass the bakery as you walk to your office. The smell of freshly baked croissants is tempting. As you look in the window, those croissants are lined up in a row, oozing with chocolate and inviting yo

posted 6:00:56am Jan. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Mean Girls or Is It Mean Boys?
Perhaps you've seen the movie Mean Girls. If so, you remember the popular clique of girls who ruled the social scene by backstabbing and being verbally mean to anyone they didn't like. The movie reminds most of us of those one or two girls in middle school who could use their verbal aggression to

posted 6:00:47am Jan. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Treating Binge Eating With Medication?
Every day Sally vows she will not eat herself sick. But today is no different. She is distressed, eating past full and feeling as if she has no control. Sally suffers from Binge Eating Disorder (BED) which has been recognized as a psychiatric disorder. To date, there are no medications approved f

posted 6:00:35am Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Is Binge Drinking Just College Fun?
In the throws of January, college students begin dreaming about Spring Break. Those plans often include partying on a beach with nonstop drinking. Binge drinking is "a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for w

posted 6:00:57am Jan. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Does the Cold Make You Catch a Cold?
My mom used to tell me to put a hat on my baby when the weather was cold. I used to argue, "Mom, babies don't catch colds from the cold. They get them from viruses. I'm not putting a hat on the baby." But now it seems that my mom could have been on to something. Could the cold weather actually p

posted 6:00:36am Jan. 21, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.