Allow yourself to feel the good and the bad: You have to understand both sides of something if you want to leverage it and use it to your advantage. To better understand gratitude, you must first accept that life can be hard and that it’s okay to feel the pain and struggle of a difficult moment. But it’s important that these negative feelings have a time limit so you can quickly turn your attention to the good. This allows you to feel gratitude, and the positivity that comes with those uplifting feelings, in a more profound way.
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 Logan Derrick.
Logan Derrick is the co-owner of Steel Wellness, a brand focused on premium-grade health products and mindful wellness education. Logan is a successful health & wellness writer with helpful content in publications all across the internet.
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?
Born and raised in Phoenix, AZ, I’ve spent the majority of my life in the Valley of the Sun. When I was 7 years old, my family was in a tragic car accident that took the life of my father and left my mother to raise myself and my three sisters on her own. Even during this difficult time, she set a glowing example of finding joy in the journey. Over the years, she has instilled those same values in me. It is that mindset of joy that led me to focus on health and wellness, which I believe are the gateway to happiness and fulfillment in life. I have since used my writing abilities to share my own experiences and thoughts on a number of topics such as the power of your mind and how it relates to your physical and mental wellness.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Growing up, I was generally quiet and kept to myself as much as I could to avoid being the center of attention at all costs. I initially became a writer because of these introverted tendencies since it would allow me to work from home and only communicate with people via email and the occasional phone call. That mindset has shifted dramatically as I have since taken on the role of spokesperson for my online business. Because one of my clients is a video production company, they assisted me in creating new video content to promote our brand and product lineup. It has been an interesting transition as I’ve learned how to come out of my shell. But I have been incredibly grateful for the new level of confidence and opportunities that have opened up to me since I took on this new role. As I’ve gone through this transformation, I no longer feel the limitations I once felt.
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?
There is an old proverb which says, “The same hammer that forges steel can also shatter glass. It all depends on what you’re made of.” This quote helped me recognize that every day I am faced with unique circumstances and it’s up to me to decide how I react to it. I can either let them break me or build me up into something powerful and refined. The phrase even played a role in the name of my business: Steel Wellness. The concept was to recognize the term ‘steel’ in its verb form, which means “to mentally prepare yourself to do something difficult”.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story about why that resonated with you?
There is a great book called 212° by Sam Parker & Mac Anderson, which significantly shifted my perspective on a handful of principles. The main idea is that water at a temperature of 211°F is hot. Yet only one degree higher at 212°F, water boils. The point its authors try to make is that “seemingly small things can make tremendous differences”. As I’ve adapted this to my own life, I always strive to go the extra mile and do just a little more than what is expected. It’s easy to tell yourself that someone else will take care of a problem or that a task isn’t your responsibility. But when you do that one extra degree of work, you feel personal satisfaction and can create new, better opportunities in your life.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
As my online business continues to grow, we are expanding the services and products that we offer. We’re currently in the process of creating additional video content including online courses, explainer videos, and product demos. I’m also writing a series of educational books that discuss the idea of “creating mindful wellness” and how people can literally change their way of thinking. They will be published and available later this year. On top of these informational efforts, we are always adding new premium-grade health products to our online store. The combination of our tangible products and the conceptual learning materials are designed to give our followers a two-tiered system to improve their overall mental & physical wellness.
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?
It has long been the women in my life who have been my greatest source of inspiration and motivation. Growing up as the only boy with a mom and three sisters, I learned the importance of respecting women at a young age. I already mentioned the significant part my mom has played in my life, which has stood strong over the years. She continues to be a source of undying support in every aspect of my life. Then, there is my wife, who will forever be by biggest motivator, cheerleader, and partner. She stood by me from the very first moment that I left corporate America to pursue my dream to become a professional writer. Her faith in me has never wavered as we have fought through every struggle and enjoyed every victory as a team. I wouldn’t be where I am now without her unfailing love and encouragement.
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?
The standard way to look at Gratitude is as something you ARE. But I prefer to look at it as a verb or an action word as something you DO. I believe the most powerful aspects of the principle come when you show gratitude and the strength that comes with it. Feeling, showing, and expressing appreciation literally make the difference between being happy or being miserable. When you view it from this perspective, there is no situation or circumstance that can permanently dampen your ability to feel joy in your life.
Why do you think so many people do not feel gratitude? How would you articulate why a simple emotion can be so elusive?
American professor Brené Brown once said, “The difference between privilege and entitlement is gratitude.” I believe there is a natural human tendency to focus on our problems, which then turns into a sense of entitlement that we deserve better than what we have. Unfortunately, these thoughts are rarely followed by any efforts to improve the situation, meaning the circumstances either don’t change or become worse. You are then left in an endless cycle of discontentment and can eventually find yourself comfortable in your misery. As people shift their way of thinking into a mindset of gratitude for what they do have, they will attract more of the same and receive additional things to be thankful for.
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?
One of the greatest benefits of gratitude is the renewed sense of contentment and overall satisfaction people can feel in their lives. It reduces stress, attracts other likeminded people to you, and has amazing effects on mental wellness.
Let’s talk about mental wellness in particular. Can you share with us a few examples of how gratitude can help improve mental wellness?
Beyond the stress relief, feeling gratitude helps you slow down and take control of your thoughts. As this becomes standard practice, you’ll quickly begin to realize how grateful you are for things you never would have thought of before. For example, when you wake up in the morning and your feet touch the floor, you feel a sense of appreciation for new opportunities the day will bring. The more your mind is constantly open to these acknowledgments, the more your mental wellness will improve.
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?
I love that you’re using the phrase “Leverage the Power”. While there are many things in life we can’t control, one thing we have 100% power over is feeling grateful. These are five ways you can leverage the power of gratitude to improve your overall mental wellness.
1. Allow yourself to feel the good and the bad: You have to understand both sides of something if you want to leverage it and use it to your advantage. To better understand gratitude, you must first accept that life can be hard and that it’s okay to feel the pain and struggle of a difficult moment. But it’s important that these negative feelings have a time limit so you can quickly turn your attention to the good. This allows you to feel gratitude, and the positivity that comes with those uplifting feelings, in a more profound way.
2. “Act as if”: A philosopher named William James once shared an interesting notion about the relationship between our emotions and our actions. He said that it isn’t our feelings that guide our actions but rather our actions that guide our feelings. The idea is that smiling is what makes you feel happy, as opposed to the concept that feeling happy is what makes you smile. Our brain acts the way we tell it to. By acting grateful, you train your mind to focus on the positive. Likewise, the more you smile, the more you are teaching your brain how to feel happy.
3. Self-reflect: The exercise of self-reflection helps you to more powerfully recognize the things you are grateful for. Say “thank you” out loud to yourself as you list people, personal attributes, possessions, and experiences you are happy to have in your life. Another popular practice is to write these things down in a gratitude journal. But the most important step is to feel the emotion of what each list item means to you and reflect on the positivity it has brought you.
4. Attract like-minded people: You should strive to find and spend time around other people who know how to inwardly and outwardly express gratitude as well as happiness. Jim Rohn said, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. These individuals will become an integral part of your support system and help you maintain a constant attitude of gratitude from day to day.
5. Show gratitude: As you are given gifts and have positive things happen to you, take the time to express how thankful you are to the individuals who played a part in it. People will feel a stronger sense of appreciation from you as you say it out loud and show the excitement in your body language. But you will also reaffirm to yourself that you are grateful for it and invite more of the same to you.
Is there a particular practice that can be used during a time when one is feeling really down, really vulnerable, or really sensitive?
The most important thing you can do when you are struggling is to acknowledge those negative feelings. Acknowledge the feeling of being down. Acknowledge the feeling of being vulnerable. Acknowledge the sensitivity you are feeling. And allow yourself to express the emotions behind it, whether it is fear, frustration, sadness, anger, or sorrow. But you should always set a time limit on these emotions. Do not allow yourself to become comfortable in your misery. Then, renew your efforts to feel gratitude for the many other good things in your life. Transform those feelings of sadness into happiness. Remember to physically put a smile on your face and practice showing gratitude on a daily basis, which will gradually retrain your brain to feel happy again. Establish an overall desire to feel good and to focus on your well-being. This takes a tremendous amount of practice, so you need to allow yourself to also have setbacks. But continue following the same process until you perfect it.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that you would recommend to our readers to help them to live with gratitude?
Going back to the second concept on my list of five things, the “act as if” idea stems from a book called “The As If Principle” by Richard Wiseman. It covers specific ways you can change your mind through the actions you take and improve your ability to feel gratitude. Key examples include nodding while you speak to become more persuasive, acting like newlyweds to reignite love in your marriage, as well as acting energetic and smiling to feel happy. Throughout the book, Wiseman provides real-life scenarios and how your actions can lead to repairing the negative feelings you have about various parts of your life.
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. 🙂
My movement stems from the key idea that people can “Create Mindful Wellness” in their lives both physically and mentally. When people understand how powerful their thoughts are, they will be amazed at the way positivity affects what is happening to them and around them. This is exactly what I am striving to teach people through my videos, written content, and social media posts.
What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?
Keep up with the Steel Wellness blog https://steelwellness.com/blog
Follow Steel Wellness on Instagram @steel.wellness
Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!