Live your best college life with M.E.S.H. in 2023

By: Chris Butsch

Have you ever felt like you were doing the right things to be happy, but still felt stressed out, even depressed?

This could be because even though you’re chasing happiness, you’re not taking the time to take care of yourself.

This is where MESH comes in. If your happiness is like a house, MESH is the foundation it stands upon. MESH creates a base layer of mental health that makes getting the grades, building relationships, and living your best college life much easier.

Here’s is my TEDx Talk on MESH:

MEDITATION changes your brain
Meditation isn’t just about ohming on a mystical mountaintop. It helps the brain convert DISTRESS (negative stress) into EUSTRESS (positive stress).

Meditation helps your brain maintain an “I got this” attitude.

Start meditating right now with this exercise:

  1. Sit comfortably
  2. Close your eyes
  3. Breathe in for 5 seconds, out for 5 seconds, 5 times.

Do this anytime college life starts to feel overwhelming. Also consider downloading an app like Calm or Headspace.

EXERCISE is the all-natural antidepressant
Most of us exercise to stay thin. Or sane. But the real benefit of exercise is that it releases Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which heals every part of your body.

Exercise is as effective as prescription medication for reducing stress and depression.

Don’t let “gymtimidation” or a lack of guidance stop you from having a healthy brain. Your on-campus rec center probably offers classes and 1-1 training sessions. Find the exercise regimen that’s right for you.

SLEEP cleans your dirty mind
Sleep is the only essential bodily function that we brag about not doing.

“I got a 93 on the final, and I didn’t even sleep last night.”
“Well, I got a 94, and I haven’t showered since March.”

Why is sleep such an easy win for your college brain?

If meditation organizes the brain, sleep cleans it.

Every cell in your body creates waste, but in your brain, there’s nowhere for the trash to go. To prevent it from piling up, your brain showers itself clean with spinal fluid while you sleep. That’s why when you don’t sleep, you feel gross; your brain is literally filled with trash!

For lower stress and higher happiness, be sure to clean your mind (and body) daily. Get 8 hours and shower.

HYDRATION literally makes happiness
H is the easiest part of MESH. Among a billion other reasons, your body needs water to synthesize serotonin, i.e. make happiness.

Problem is, it sucks at asking for it.

We commonly mistake thirst for hunger, or ignore it altogether.

Never ignore your body’s signals. Keep a water bottle with you at all times, and set a goal of refilling your water bottle once per day. That way, your brain will never stop making happiness.

So that’s MESH! It can be a lot to remember, so let me make it easy for you:

Next time you’re feeling low, perform a MESH Checkup:

  1. Breathe in for 5, out for 5, 5 times
  2. Do 15 minutes of cardio
  3. Take a nap
  4. Drink some water

Thanks for reading about MESH. Before you go, I have a Confession…
My greatest regret from college isn’t sleeping through my Engineering Management final. Or that second keg stand at Clark’s birthday. Or throwing up in a bush in front of the Butschs.

No; my greatest regret is not taking advantage of my school’s on-campus mental health services. During the lowest of lows, I needlessly struggled alone when professional help was just walking distance away.

Be kind to yourself. Your mental health is a priority. Google “[your school] student mental health services” and make an appointment with a provider. There’s no reason not to.

Thanks for reading.