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Paul Marlow of ‘Never Alone’: How We Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness

Accept the mood you are in and embrace it. Call the day off, sit and watch Netflix, do whatever you feel like doing. However, you go into that night with the understanding that tomorrow is a new day.

As we all know, times are tough right now. In addition to the acute medical crisis caused by the Pandemic, in our post COVID world, we are also experiencing what some have called a “mental health pandemic”.

What can each of us do to get out of this “Pandemic Induced Mental and Emotional Funk”?

One tool that each of us has access to is the simple power of daily gratitude. As a part of our series about the “How Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness ” I had the pleasure of interviewing Paul Marlow AKA Tall Paul.

Paul Marlow is a mental health advocate and Entrepreneur. His father passed away from a hidden bought of cancer after a year’s battle with Parkinson’s disease. It shook Paul and left him in a bought of depression. As Paul was finding his way out of it, he realized others related to what he was struggling with, so he came up with Never Alone to bring them together. Today Never Alone is a Mental Health Business. Creating mental help content and sharing others’ Never Alone Stories while being fully funded by the Never Alone Clothing Line sales.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive into our discussion, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about you and about what brought you to your specific career path?

First off, I want to say thank you for having me!

It means a lot to me, in this time that we are in, to speak on such an important topic — helping others who are just like me, searching for ways to be better humans in every aspect.

As my nickname “Tall Paul” has stuck to my tender age of 35, it only makes sense that I explain to your readers that I am 6'7. I was a gifted athlete growing up, and with my height, it looked as if a career being an athlete was a shoo-in.

I got drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays out of high school and finished college as a two-sport athlete playing baseball and basketball, but I never got farther than that. At the time, I didn’t realize it, but the pressure and weight on my shoulders of what was expected and then did not come to life affected my mental health immensely. I glided through life for the next ten years, not excelling in any area nor finding a true path.

In 2017 my father got Parkinson’s disease, and by May 21, 2018, he passed away. It was a mixture of was watching my father whittle away to nothing from a combination of the two diseases, but my brain and body couldn’t take it anymore.

I took a month off work, lost all happiness in my life, and just ticked off daily things to do to make it to bed that night.

And then hit repeat

hit repeat

hit repeat

I did this for months until I decided to take a stand. I decided to find actions in my daily life that would help me better my mental health over time.

Now, I create content that inspires, gives actionable steps, and gives others hope to do the same thing in their lives.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I remember this exact moment still so vividly, one year after Dad died. In my first few months of getting comfortable talking online and on social media platforms, I was replying to some tweets that I connected with emotionally with what I was going through. One being Silken Laumann, a Canadian Silver Medalists in the 1996 Olympic games in rowing.

The next thing I knew, she replied to my tweet, which related to my father’s loss. Right then and there, I broke down in that coffee shop window seat. My father LOVED Silken’s drive and passion in rowing, and I remember him jumping for joy as she won that silver medal, yelling, “Soaking lemons!!”

Tears of joy and sorrow came from such a simple action by her. I was so grateful for that moment.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why do you think that resonates with you? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“If you never try, you will never know.”

This quote connects with me more and more as I dive deeper into both the mental health realm and entrepreneurship.

I used to overthink everything I did, so much that I would end up talking myself out of every single dream I had before I even spoke the words out loud.

This ended the day Dad died. On that day, I realized nothing could feel worse than this, so why fear such things that haven’t even come to life yet??

I started trying everything that came up in my life that I thought might make me a better human or happier in the long run. I started seeing a therapist, drinking less often, quit my job, started a clothing line.

I didn’t know where these actions would take me, but i realized I would never find out if I didn’t try.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story about why that resonated with you?

Steve Jobs: A Biography

From phone to computer, I am an Apple user and have been since I bought my first computer. I liked the feel, design and simplicity of using these products. But not until I finished this book did I see the full picture of Steves’ vision for creating the products and the brand, the community.

I have taken many cues from him in my product line for Never Alone.

But what stood out to me most was the toll of Steve’s desire to be the best. He worked himself to his death, not allowing himself to take in the life he created fully.

I, too, battle this.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am super excited about the second product that Never Alone will be selling!

My morning routine was the catalyst for finding my way out of the depressed state I was in, and three years later, I still follow one (it has adapted as I have grown as a human.)

But one area in my routine has stayed the same and will never be left out… Writing in my Journal.

The ability to let the emotions, either good or bad, flow into your hand and onto paper to start the day is one of the best things we can do. No matter what your mental state is at the time.

My morning writings currently talk about the success I had the previous day and events coming up that I am excited or nervous about. There is no wrong way to use a morning journal!

The Never Alone journal will be a beautifully handcrafted leather creation. I can’t wait to share it with the world and help others start their day off in a better mindset.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

This is a great question, and there have been many friends and acquaintances who helped me learn and grow in numerous areas in the last three years to get where I am today.

However, without my dad raising me the way he did, I wouldn’t be here to run with what happened.

It’s bittersweet.

Dad taught me so much, yet I didn’t have the passion for implementing those teachings until he passed.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now that we are on the topic of gratitude, let’s move to the main focus of our interview. As you know, the collective mental health of our country is facing extreme pressure. We would like to explore together how every one of us can use gratitude to improve our mental wellness. Let’s start with a basic definition of terms. How do you define the concept of Gratitude? Can you explain what you mean?

To me, gratitude can take many shapes and forms in our lives. Making it easy to overlook or shrug off as something else.

For example, I took everything for granted until I was 32 and my father passed away. Before this, I was gifted in many things yet a failure at them all simultaneously.

When I finally started looking at my life differently, I was able to see that failing wasn’t a death sentence.

It was a form of growth.

It was a way of life.

I started looking at failing as a right of passage, from failing to repeat my morning journal two days in a row to take a $500 loss on my first attempt at creating a sample hoodie to sell.

Gratitude for me is being free of the shackles we self inflict as we grow, slowly changing and altering our way of life to be as safe as possible.

Grateful to feel alive in every action made, no matter the outcome.

Why do you think so many people do not feel gratitude? How would you articulate why a simple emotion can be so elusive?

In all honesty, I think gratitude is not felt due to fear of change.

It is HARD, to be honest with ourselves and be grateful; you need to shed those walls we have built up our whole life. Saving us from the fear of judgement, fear of ridicule, fear of shame, and failure.

It’s very uncomfortable to tell yourself that you failed; honestly, it’s much easier to blame something or someone else.

This might be intuitive to you but I think it will be constructive to help spell it out. Can you share with us a few ways that increased gratitude can benefit and enhance our life?

We are all different, so I’m sure one person who benefits from being released from the clutches of their past life may differ from another. But I would be more than happy to share the change in myself that I felt within months of this new way of thinking.

My past life was filled with stress and fear, always waiting to be called out by someone or judged for not executing as someone would expect a 6'7 athlete should.

Once I was able to shed that weight and start being grateful for the opportunities around me, and living in the moment, not the past, I started sleeping better. I started excelling in areas of my life that I knew I might enjoy but never fully dove into because of that fear of failure.

The most significant change for me was that I became more comfortable in my skin and who I was. I stopped saying things that I thought society wanted to hear and started saying what I felt. And it was a tidal wave of relief the day that happened.

Let’s talk about mental wellness in particular. Can you share with us a few examples of how gratitude can help improve mental wellness?

Anxiety, depression, stress, fear, feeling like you will never be “you” again. These are all things that most of us struggling with mental health can relate to, one way or another.

Shedding the fear of self-evaluation and breaking down the walls that we built up over time to all that gratitude to slowly form can help ease all of those.

Gratitude in small things such as writing a daily gratitude journal will help over time. As those words of gratitude get more raw and real, making that emotional connection as we lay paper to pen, that’s when change occurs.

Ok wonderful. Now here is the main question of our discussion. From your experience or research, what are “Five Ways That Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness”. Can you please share a story or example for each?

This is 100% experience for me!!

I’m, just a regular guy who has fought some battles and been grateful enough to come out on the winning side more often than losing.

I would like to share my morning routine with your readers, and it has been the basis of my existence ever since Dad passed away. Not one day since then, in these last three years, have skipped some version of my morning routine.

It has allowed me to start each day off on a footing of my choice. Allowing self-reflection and appreciation for all that’s in my life.

1) Wake up at the same time every day

2) Take a shower right away, finishing it with 30–45 seconds of freezing water. The cold flash of water helps our mental health and overall health in many ways. It helps reduce stress levels and helps build our immune system. However, the one reason that I notice the most significant aid in my mental health is that I show myself that I CAN DO ANYTHING. Within 10 minutes of waking up, I am pushing myself to stay under the cold stream just 5 seconds longer. If I can do that, I can beat anything.

3) Sit down in silence and take in the room that you are in. Looking out the window and recognizing all the things that you see. We get so accustomed to moving so fast through life or our head in our phone that we don’t stop and see what’s around us.

4) Sit there and say out loud five things you are grateful for. It can be anything that you desire! A lot of the time, I say

“I am grateful for this hot lemon water I am sipping on.”

5) Write down in your morning journal whatever is on your mind. There is no wrong way to do this. Just fill up half a page with drawings if you want. Get the pen moving.

6) Finally, once this 45–60 minute routine is done, then I open my phone and step into the world at my choosing.

I am grateful I took the time three years ago to create this morning routine. It wasn’t easy. I remember it lasting 5 minutes for the first three weeks.

Is there a particular practice that can be used during a time when one is feeling really down, really vulnerable, or really sensitive?

I get this question a lot.

“How do you deal with a really down day.”

And my answer is, and always will be this… Accept it.

That’s it! These down days are bound to happen, and for the rest of your life, you will have 100’s to 1'000s more of them. And that’s ok.

Accept the mood you are in and embrace it. Call the day off, sit and watch Netflix, do whatever you feel like doing. However, you go into that night with the understanding that tomorrow is a new day.

A new day, to have a different outcome than today.

So, take care of yourself at night and give yourself the best chance to succeed when you wake up. When you wake up the following day, go through your morning routine and try to make it one step further than you did the day before.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that you would recommend to our readers to help them to live with gratitude?

This is simple… two words.

GARY VEE

If your readers haven’t heard of him, I suggest they click onto any social media platform and type his name in and digest the 1,000’s of pieces of content he and his team create monthly.

I recommend checking out his podcast and give some shows a listen. There is a ton of help and awareness of gratitude in his daily interactions.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

The movement is already happening, and I am so damn grateful I have been given this opportunity to start it.

Never Alone.

It started with me opening up to the world, shedding my fear of shame, and beginning to have honest conversations with myself and others. Now, I am sharing others’ Never Alone Stories and creating Mental Health Help blogs to inspire others and inform them, hopefully giving them the confidence to change themselves for the better, one day at a time.

I hope your readers take a second and head to Never Alone and read the blogs and engage with us online after finishing the article.

What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?

As I mentioned above, the Never Alone website (www.weareneveralone.co) has my constant focus right now, creating helpful content for others.

I am also active daily on Instagram and Twitter; both of those tags are @tallpaulslife

While the Never Alone Instagram page is @weareneveraloneco

And Never Alone on Twitter is @werneveralone

There is a blueprint for building out a Youtube channel and podcast. However, at this time, I am a one-person shop and can handle only so much in a day’s work!

I look forward to building out the company and bringing in others who excel in areas to have free reign to create content to help the world.

Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

Thank you for having me!

And don’t forget you are #neveralone

In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

Entrepreneur, angel investor and syndicated columnist, as well as a yoga, holistic health, breathwork and meditation enthusiast. Unlock the deepest powers

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