Here are a few things here to help you with the Learning Circle exercises and get more out of your Learning Circle experience.

Week 1: Appreciation Exercise help.

People sometimes have trouble coming up with things for their appreciation list when they first begin. It can take a little time to “build an Appreciative Mindset and it gets easier with practice. Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Appreciation Ideas

  • A warm cup of coffee, nice meal, access to good food.
  • You favorite chair, a comfortable bed, or other things that bring you comfort.
  • Pets: Really look at your pet or outside animals and appreciate all you can.
  • Family or friends we sometimes take for granted.
  • Having income, a job, or financial stability.
  • Having shelter, food, clothing, and indoor plumbing.
  • Ready access to safe drinking water
  • Living in a free country where you can speak openly, worship as you please, or have a say in your government.
  • Living in a safe country that is not engaged in war where you live.
  • Living in an area that has not been ravaged by hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, or tsunami’s.
  • Having a computer or other technology and internet access
  • Your physical senses including any or all of the following: The ability to talk, laugh, sing, hear, see, taste, touch, smell.
  • The miracle of your body to keep you alive: Your beating heart, breathing lungs, digestive system, brain function,…
  • The ability to take care of yourself or be independent (if you can’t, appreciation for those who care for you)
  • The family, friends, and good neighbors you have in your life.
  • Beautiful plants, flowers, sunsets, breathtaking landscapes; all for free.
  • Pets, birds, wild animals, interesting insects, the miraculous balance of nature.

2. Expand with Your Senses. When you do find something you appreciate such as your pet or a cup of coffee, think about how you experience it with all your senses. How does it feel to the touch that is nice? How does it sound that is pleasing? How does it taste that you like? What is beautiful about it or attractive to the eye? What about it is pleasing to listen to or hear? How does it make you feel emotionally? How does it feel in your body? Expand your good feelings by really diving in and noticing all the little sensory experience that add to your e enjoyment.

3. Fill-in the Blank. Another way to go deeper or expand your appreciation is to finish statements that help you look at things in a slightly different way. Here are a few to try:

  • My friends appreciate me because….
  • I’m proud of myself because…
  • Three things I like about myself are…
  • When I’m at my best I….
  • I’m very fortunate in my life because…
  • One of my best qualities is…

4. Character Traits & Virtues. If you search the internet for character traits or virtues, you’ll find all kinds. Here is just one example. (We are not affiliated with this site nor endorse it – we just like their list of virtues!)

List Of 100 Virtues To Live By With Examples

Examples of traits and virtues include kind, loyal, fair, trustworthy, responsible, thoughtful, fun, vibrant, etc. You can use them as thought starters in different ways. Pick one from the list and try one of the following:

  • Who do you know who embodies this virtue? What do they do and how does it make you feel? For example, let’s say you pick “kindness.” You think of your friend Sarah who brought you coffee yesterday which was kind. How did it make you feel? And then perhaps you reflect further and think of the store clerk who showed you where something was. Try to find other ways people showed you kindness and be grateful for that.
  • Look for this virtue in yourself. Even if it is in a small way, or infrequent. Even if you don’t think of yourself in this way, find times when you have been kind. We are demonstrate all the virtues at some point. Look for your best qualities.

Week 2: Perspective Exercise Help

This exercise can be difficult for some people for different reasons. Here are some things to try if you are struggling with any of the following.
1. You don’t like the advice the person gives.
The perspective you get from doing this exercise should feel valuable, insightful, helpful, relevant, or true. If you don’t feel good about it or don’t agree with what you think this person would say, then try one of the following.

  • Select out the helpful part. You don’t have to like the person you choose, or agree with everything about them. All you need to do is find the part of them that represents what you want and ignore the rest.  If you find this difficult to do then try the next bullet or one of the other suggestions here in this section.
  • Pick a new person. See below for ideas, or answer this question: Who else would have valuable insights into this situation, or even just a part of it?

2.You are struggling to find the perspective.
It’s not always easy to “get inside someone else’s head” and know what they are thinking. If you are finding it difficult to do this, one reason might be that the issue is too big or emotionally charged. Strong negative emotion clouds our thinking and can make it harder to do this exercise or any of them. Try one of the following and see if it helps.

    • Break your issue into smaller parts and work on just one of the smaller parts.
    • Pick a different issue that is less emotionally difficult.
    • Pick a different perspective (see next.)

3. You don’t get any insights.
Try another perspective. Here are a few additional ones:

  • A close friend, favorite teacher, or someone you admire.
  • The other person in the situation.
  • Your higher self, inner knowing, or wiser self.
  • An older version of yourself, or a younger version. You decide how far back or out you want to go.
  • Pick a person from each main area of your life you admire and look at the situation from multiple perspectives. Examples: Career, health and wellness, financial, relationships, spiritual, emotional etc.

4. You want more powerful insights.  The best way to get the biggest insights is to pick a perspective that is completely different from your own. You need to be open to do this effectively, as often you have negative judgements about this person you have to overcome to see the insights.

Week 3: Visualization Help

Visualization happens in a part of the brain that some of us don’t use very much, so it can be hard to do it at first. There is a very small percentage of the population that truly cannot picture things in their mind, but for most of us it is simply a matter of practice and building this part of the brain. Be patience and keep at it and you will be able to use this tool to help create the future you want!

Below are some things to try or keep in mind as you practice visualizing.

  • Keep people the same. Make sure all people in your vision stay just the way they are with the same habits, behaviors, and other ways they show up.
  • Change your experience: Your purpose in the vision is not to change others or change conditions, but to see yourself having a different experience while everything else stays the same.
  • Focus on the feeling: It can get complicated and confusing to try to picture an ideal future for something big or emotionally difficult. You can simplify everything by focusing on the feeling you want to have first, and then trying to picture what is going on inside of you to create that feeling.
  • Keep it small: If you are struggling to picture an ideal future, try imagining something smaller. Pick one little part of the whole experience, or a moment, or just the beginning or the end. Chunk it down until you can picture something in your mind.
  • Shift your vision: If you are still struggling after trying everything above, try picturing something else that small and positive. Examples might include imagining really enjoying a hot bath, snuggling in bed, watching a sunset, playing with your dog or cat, or anything else you enjoy. Practice with things that are already pleasant and small to help strengthen this part of your brain and then work your way up to bigger or more difficult things.

Sample Vision Statement Examples – these are more robust vision statements people have created. You can use them as thought starters for your own.

Week 4: Going Forward

The 28-Day Appreciative Living Online Program

After you’ve completed your Learning Circle, the 28-day program is a great way to embed the ideas into your life. This free program prompts you with an email each day to inspire you to do your exercises. The daily emails contain a short quote and intriguing concept to help motivate you to keep up with the program. You can start the program any time you wish by signing up, and the emails begin the next day.

When you sign up for this you also get the 3-part miniboook on Getting Started with Appreciative Living, along with the Free Joy Package below and occasional emails on how to use Appreciative Living in your work and life. This will help accelerate your progress by giving you additional tools and information on how to create more joy. All these tools together will give you a powerful start in making a real difference in your life, and ultimately the lives of others!

To sign up for the 28-day program, complete the form below. After you hit the submit button, you will be sent an email where you need to click to confirm. You may cancel at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of all emails. Sign up below to get your 28-day joy package!

Send me the 28 Day Package!
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 The Happiness Survey

You can take the Oxford Happiness Survey here anytime to measure how happy you are and track your progress over time. Click here to take the survey.

Free Joy Package

You an get this free 3-part Series on our website at and it includes:

    1. The Flourishing Formula, which is a step-by-step process that will help you handle your biggest problems and feel less-stressed and more in-control.  You will learn how to:
      1. Identify your biggest pain point.
      2. Rate where you are emotionally.
      3. Give you tools to feel better and  move forward.
    2. Part 1 of, “Getting Started with Appreciative Living where  you’ll discover simple practices to build an “Appreciative Mindset.” This kind of thinking will help you feel better and become truly happier in daily life. You’ll learn how to:
      1. “Rewire” your brain to become naturally happier.
      2. Create more of what you really want in your daily life.
    3. Part 2 of, “Getting Started with Appreciative Living.” discover how to improve your relationships with even the most challenging people.I’ll show you how to:
      1. Get clear about what you really want.
      2. Improve your difficult relationships

Start Your Own Learning Circle!

You can bet certified to run Learning Circles, and it’s easy to do. Here’s how:  Click here to learn more

Questions or Comments?

Email us at or call 704-799-0975.