Simple Measures

I’ve often joked with people that when the world seems to be too tough, when I doubt everything, when the colour drains out of my relationships and I worry that I will truly never make it and I’m a failure…. I ask myself the question;

“When did you last eat?”

Simple creatures. Simple problems. Simple measures.

The Underscore

Film music has always fascinated me. Not just the types of music but the nature of the art form. At its best it is an invisible brush over the canvas of the story that utterly changes the tone of your experience, and yet you don’t know it’s there.

What I’m obviously getting at is the parallel between our felt-senses and our experience. Tiredness, hunger, pains and other “obvious” states cause us to feel feelings that we then attribute to any manner of causes other than the real one. Let me explain.

In our gut, we might be feeling tense and uneasy, if we don’t notice it though it can easily colour our experience and make us feel; nervous, tense, worried, jittery, anxious or any other concoction of emotions. We might not stop and ask “Hey, what is this feeling?”, do I have a tummy bug?

You may have also had that relief or out-breath when a generator or fan is turned of that you didn’t know was there. Often people exclaim “Oh my gosh, I had no idea how much that was irritating me!”. It was affecting you, without you consciously being aware of it.

My magic pills

My mum has always been great in reminding me how important exercise is. For her, she spent her entire twenties not appreciating its value and would go days ‘believing’ her feelings. A quick trip to the gym would then show that the sub-optimal state was simple chemicals imbalanced and built-up in her body and mind.

I’ve joined PureGym over the last 4–5 months and have gotten into the routine of going quite often. It’s wonderful. I’m finally starting to take care of myself through exercise — not just physically but mentally.

Honestly, if you want a 90% guarantee that your perspective at the start of the day will be really healthy & that you will be able to handle most problems that come your way — go to the gym on waking up.

Rounding them up

And so, not wanting to let other simple measures disappear behind the cupboard for another year, I decided to round them up into a top 5. These are pretty much essential to a good state of mind, or at least if I have had a bad day (not permitting significant events of misfortune) and have not done one of these — I have no excuse.

The five questions:

  • Have you eaten?
  • Have you slept well?
  • Have you exercised?
  • Have you relaxed your mind and body?
  • Have you truly practiced appreciation and gratitude today?

The top three are somewhat self evident, but the last one may be less so.


Appreciation is something that varies slightly to gratitude (in my reality at least) in that you can appreciate virtually anything with a peaceful neutrality, whereas gratitude can be misaligned if you are not in a receptive state. For example:

When I try to be grateful I think of things like; ‘I’m grateful I have a house’ (because some people don’t), ‘I’m so grateful my girlfriend is healthy (as opposed to not), ‘I’m grateful for my job (because although I want to be my own boss, some people don’t have it so good) etc etc.

Appreciation however is neutrally positive (if that makes sense to you…!) and helps me move towards a wider feeling of gratitude. I can appreciate virtually anything, and it’s often beautifully simple. ‘I appreciate birds… shit, birds can fly! That’s incredible!’ or ‘Man, the wood on this chair is so gorgeous — look at that deep brown colour — I love the feeling of the heat that’s coming off it from the warmth of the sun’.

And once you start, you keep going — when you get rolling everything just becomes appreciable. You actually start to get a little spooked by how much abundance is around you how you might not need anything more…

Then gratitude can come in. I feel like gratitude is more of an encompassing feeling — a state — which comes with lots of small bits of appreciation. So to get there more often, can be something more determinable by you and your practice.

Originally published at on July 10, 2015.