If you know anyone heading off to college, take note: studies have shown that depression can be contagious among college roommates. Negative thinking styles that make people vulnerable to depression can “spread” from one student to another. Help the college student in your life keep from “catching” the cognitive vulnerability with these tips.
1. Spend time around positive people. The influence of cognitive vulnerability can go both ways, and hanging out with optimistic people can help counteract the effects of a negative roommate.
2. Watch your own negativity. If you catch yourself in a cycle of negative thinking, break free with some positive thoughts.
3. Look into the Behavioral Health Services offered on campus. Even if you’re not yet suffering from depression, many preventative services including group sessions are often offered. If you lead by example, the negative roommate may follow suit.
4. Watch your diet, stay physically active and get plenty of rest. Staying physically healthy will help.
5. Never accept someone else’s negativity as truth. You can always agree to disagree.