As we referred to last week, our hearts are phenomenal and therefore we need to look after them.
They physically help us make sure we have years in our life, and they help us have life in our years!
Here are a few things we can do to keep our whole-hearts healthy…
Regular Physical activity
Regular physical activity helps flush any fatty deposits and prevents blockages, it also helps create muscle cells that are elastic which can expand and contract really well. In effect, every time we place our heart under a bit of controlled stress it responds by adapting to cope with the stress even better the next time. We know that our hearts can become unfit (and clogged) and this can lead to a heart episode so it is essential that we are physically active to protect the most important muscle in the body. For further health and advice about what physical activity is right for you, speak to your GP or visit the British Heart Foundation website
Eat a healthy balanced diet
Not all food is created equally!
There are foods that are high in unhealthy fats and sugars, that contain very little, or none of the essential nutrients our body needs. By eating the right foods, and in the right portions, we give our hearts (and the rest of our bodies) the best chance of getting all the nutrients it needs to work efficiently, and grow and repair new cells.
Be gracious with our words
As lovely as valentines day can be for many, it can also be a huge disappointment.
The Hollywood illusions of being cherished and at the centre of someone else's universe, for a brief moment in time, rarely materialises exactly as we imagine in the real world.
The gifts or cards we spent ages picking out may not be received with the same heart that they were sent, perhaps the words came out wrong or the dinner got burnt… So how about this Valentine’s day, we let our words show a little love and grace to others.
Look in the mirror
Remember how easy it can be to point the finger at others when 'they' get it wrong? It's also good to remember that there are 3 fingers pointing back at us! This applies even more so when we are kinder to others than we might be to ourselves! This week, think about where we could speak kindness over ourselves in the same way we might speak to a friend.
Connect with others
Connecting with others is one of the NHS' five ways to wellbeing.
We weren’t meant to live in isolation! Health evidence even says that loneliness is one of the main contributors to poor health and early death in the UK. On Valentine's day, any isolation we might feel is amplified, as we imagine everyone else in their "perfect" relationships.
If you find yourself on your own perhaps take that step to find someone else to hang out with and plan something fun. Not because you need them, but because they need you just as much.
Give to others
Giving is another of the 5 ways the NHS recognise to improve health and wellbeing.
God loves a cheerful giver, and giving to others out of a selfless place improves our own health and wellbeing no end. If you aren’t sure what to give? Have a think about who you are giving to and maybe consider their love languages.
We can give the gift of time, which is, of course, one of our most precious possessions!
It is always good to give kind words, a smile and encouragement to others, and although they might not cost any money - they do require intentionality. It is also good to remember that we can never go over budget with our good, and kind words!
Speaking of money: loving that too much isn't always great for your heart, so it is good to give some of that away too. (can I just take a moment to also say thank you to those Angels, who have given financially to Intentional Health supporting our journey in tackling health poverty through the church. And thank you to those for giving to us personally too ;-)
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As always, if you find this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too!
One way you can love God, yourself and your neighbours too, is by becoming an Intentional Health Church Partner, Angel or Prayer Warrior - and partnering with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities.