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Click images below for The Appreciation Exercise.


I want to share with you an exercise that a colleague created. It’s called, “The Appreciation Exercise.” It’s free, it’s easy, and you can do it with anyone you are currently stuck in the house with. You can also do it remotely on the phone, by teleconference, or, if you have them, by carrier pigeon.

Now, if you’re like me (and I am going to assume that you are), you just read the word “exercise” and immediately thought to yourself, “Yeah, I’m not going to do that.” Why are we like that?

“Because we are!”

Exactly. Thank you. Case closed.

But here’s the thing. Right now, you and everyone you care about is carrying a truly unhealthy amount of stress. Way more than usual. And, as I know you well know, carrying that amount of stress is really bad for us. Stress wears us down from the inside out, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

This Coronavirus is terrible, and all of us need to continue to do everything we can to protect ourselves and each other from infection. But we also need to pay attention to the potential long-term side effects of social distancing and shelter-in-place.

The good news here is that all of us already possess the most powerful anti-anxiety, anti-depression and anti-loneliness drug known to human kind. No, I am not talking about microdosing LSD. Nice try. I am talking about simple, heartfelt connection between people who care about each other.

You’re like, “Really? That’s it? What about Magic Mushrooms? Have you read Michael Pollen’s book?”

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Quick story. I’m working with a couple online the other day. Young parents, two small kids. I ask how they’re doing with shelter-in-place. The wife says, “We are So busy, but we’re not doing ANYTHING.” I say, “I get it.” Then, she says, “My husband and I see more of each other now than we ever do. We are together literally all of the time. But we’re not connected at all.

That was it in a nutshell. Physical proximity is not the same thing as connection. And it is entirely possible to feel lonely and isolated even when surrounded by people we love and who love us. (Or, you know, at least say they do.)

Why is that? Well, there can be a lot of reasons. But chief among them is that meaningful connection requires a measure of what I call, intentional vulnerability. In other words, we have to deliberately bring the softer side of ourselves to one another. And most of us, well, we’re just not very good at that. We all crave meaningful connection, but the risk it requires can make us avoid it. Sometimes knowingly, sometimes not.

Check the exercise out. I promise, it’s simple and doesn’t at all require some great emotional reveal. It’s just about carving out a pause in the nothingness that we are all so busy doing and sharing a bit of appreciation with each other. Again, the exercise is free. Just click the images below and it’s yours.

You’ll see that there are 2 documents. The first is just the 5 Steps of the exercise. The second is the same 5 Steps but includes Pro Tips to prompt and maybe help you to think a little more deeply about your answers. It also includes an example of a round of the exercise that my wife and I did. Just to give you the gist of what the exercise can look like.

You can do this my friend. “Be brave and mighty forces will come to your aid.” (Psychedelics not required.)

Click BOTH images