About eight months after becoming a quadriplegic, I was enduring a particularly difficult time. I’d been blessed, and up to that time hadn’t really gone through and depression of any kind. But, now it seemed as though things were beginning t mount. I was more frustrated, depressed and discouraged and down than I had ever been since the accident.
I had been taught often about of the power of gratitude in the home I grew up in, and felt that if I had any chance to find a way out of the darkness my feelings had brought with them, it would be in large part because of some increase in my own gratitude.
In an effort to find a way to feel blessed, I pulled out a piece of notebook paper from my backpack and numbered it to 100. I felt like 100 would be a lot, but nothing that couldn’t be easily handled in 15-20 minutes.
I was right—about the first 25. They were simple and easy. They were the big ones—stuff like family and friends, where I lived and what I had.
The second 25 took a little more thought. The third 25 really made me think. And, at 16, in order to finish the last 25, I wrote down anything I could see. I was thankful for stuff like light bulbs, pencils, and the tacks that held up the posters in my room.
In fact, Number 99 on my list was the fact that I could pick my nose. (For more about that read here.)
It took the entire afternoon and most of the evening, but, when I was finished, I had my list. Just having it in my hands made me more grateful; and by being more grateful, I began to feel the beginnings of a more positive attitude.
Through the next weeks and months, every time I felt down or depressed, frustrated or fraught with negativity, I pulled out my list—and each time I read my list, I started concentrating on what I did have and quit worrying about what I didn’t. This new tool helped me to see the best and forget the worst.
This Thanksgiving I have been thinking about that original list more than usual. So, in the spirit of the season and in honor of the original list, I spent some time yesterday creating a new list.
The thing that surprised me the most, was that my heart was as lifted as much this time as it was when I created the original list on that lined notebook paper all those years ago.
Here it is then. I share it with you hoping that maybe seeing mine will inspire you to make a list of your own. If you will, I promise a spirit filled with gladness and hope and a excellent tool in the fight to stay positive.
Remember what I’ve said before, “There’s not enough room in the human heart for depression and gratitude at the same time.”
Jason Hall’s 100 Things To Be Thankful For
- My Faith
- Mom Coleman
- Dad Coleman
- Brothers & Sisters In-Law
- Living in the United States
- Chance To Have Freedom of Religion
- Power Wheelchairs
- Accessible Vans
- Opportunity to get the best Healthcare
- Powerful Friends
- My Car
- Our Home
- Air Conditioning
- iPhone (and the return of the bar phone)
- Voice Recognition Software
- National Ability Center
- Disabled Skiing
- Sense of Smell
- Full Use of My Mental Faculties
- Growing up in Boise
- The Chance to live in The Eastern US
- Interfecal Pumps
- Graduating with my High School Class
- Attending BYU
- Working as BYUSA President—and all the people I worked with
- I CSI
- Rock Band
- The Million Dollar Round Table
- Mutual Of New York (and the people there)
- Garrett Burger, Large Gems, and a Cherry Scotch and Soda
- The Bible
- The Book of Mormon
- My Testimony
- My Eternal Marriage
- Pistachio Dessert
- My Eagle Scout
- The Scouting Program
- The Chance To Serve
- Words Written in my Journal by my Mom When I Was a Kid
- Baby Ruth Bars
- Broadway Musicals
- Cougars, Cowboys, Jazz, Celtics, Yankees, Real Salt Lake
- My Letterman Jacket
- The Ten Lepers by Jack Christensen
- Ability to Move My Arms
- Plan of Salvation
- My Boys in New Canaan
- The YM in Syracuse
- The Ability to Speak Publically
- Disability Insurance
- Workmans Comp
- The Inspiration to Go to Work on 21 November 1997
- Great Nurses
- Great Neighbors
- My Cousin David
- Love of Singing (and how it literally saved my life)
- Family History
- Great Music
- Uplifting Music
- Showers/Shower Chair
- Having Kolette at My Side.
- Good Parking
- Family Dinners
- The Fact That I Can Pick My Nose
- Lists of Gratitude