Mental health gym — I like it.
Pre-tenure academia is somewhat similar. The full irony hits when one’s research subject is emotions, anxiety and stress.
Mental health awareness is higher than it has ever been (the Mental health tag on Medium is over 35k). The veil is lifting. This is good. However, this is only the beginning — admitting that there is a problem. Unfortunately, as a collective, the general treatment of the topic is still in its infancy, discussed and tended to in a rather childlike way. While a health-disease model may be a useful metaphorical framework to begin with, it is a limited metaphor and in large part the source of the stigma you wish to reduce. Prevalence of diagnosable levels of anxiety, for example, is quite high; to the point where the experience of anxiety is more common than not. It is not something that happens to other people, it happens to all of us. Hence, I think it important to strive to normalize it, like hunger, thirst, and sex, as part of our lives.
Still, the gym metaphor is quite apt. We need strength and flexibility. I suggest you check out the power of video games as ideal exercise machines on the floor of your gym (Isabel Granic has a great series of posts on this subject).
Thanks for the post.