Relationships

Momentum

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This morning, I am feeling very appreciative of help and others. For those who don't know, I have just spent 9 days in bed with a nasty dose of the Flu. Big thanks to all of you who have sent messages of encouragement and well wishes, to those who brought food and flowers and transported kids, and the patience of all those who I didn't get to respond to for a while.

As I dozed, I thought often about how much I appreciate others. I’m not just talking about when I have the flu, but by being part of a meaningful, bigger community.

It was so encouraging to hear about the impact others were making delivering Intentional Health programmes in communities around the country, whilst I couldn’t even get out of bed.

I also appreciated how much I miss team members, one who has recently left to do some amazing things, and one who was on holiday, and I realised how much I personally appreciate and value others to help keep me going - Never more so than in getting going again after a period absence! Which brings me to today’s topic - momentum.

When I am well, I have to be intentional about resting and not overworking - mainly because I love what I do so much, but I still want to make sure I have a healthy margin in place and I am present for my family and friends. This extended time-out has shown me that I have been blessed by resting, and spending any energy that I had to find out how my kids days have been, and also some meaningful listening around teenage life. I was grateful to even be able to help with a little GCSE exam revision. (For those into physics: Momentum = Mass x Velocity).

As I was stuck in bed and began to think about getting myself back to work, I realised how I had 'run out' of momentum.

…My team mass was depleted and I wasn’t moving anywhere.

Admittedly, I will still need to take it easy until I am fully recovered, but at first, I didn’t even know where to start - how do I regain momentum?

Thankfully, Gareth helped me with some of his Motivational Interviewing coaching principles as momentum is linked to motivation, and I thought I’d share them with you, in case you find yourself lacking in momentum or not knowing where to start.

He asked me 3 questions that helped:

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how motivated are you right now?
  2. Remind me why you do what you do?
  3. Tell me what one small thing you can do that would take that motivation up one mark?…..do that one that thing.

My small thing was to write this blog, and it has helped me get going again. And thank you for being part of our Intentional Health family and reading it, you motivate me to keep going :)

Let me know where might you be able to use these 3 questions to help you make some progress this week?

Photo Credit:Dane Deaner


If you want to find out about becoming an Intentional Health Church PartnerAngel or Prayer Warrior - and want to partner with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities - now is a great time for that!


If you want to start or gain momentum again on your journey towards being more intentional about your health then why not download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below, to help you on your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

And as always, if you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too!

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Whole-hearted health

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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 ;-)

Greatest Love...

Finally, this Valentine’s day, let us remember that we are loved, and to have a healthy love and respect for ourselves as we love others too.

Photo Credit: freestocks.org


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As always, if you find this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too!

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One way you can love God, yourself and your neighbours too, is by becoming an Intentional Health Church PartnerAngel or Prayer Warrior - and partnering with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities. 

Can change be as good as a rest?

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This weeks post comes with huge thanks to a very generous gift of a weekend in Paris with a trip to Disneyland from my brother and sister-in-law! So far the weekend has been far from restful, with a day of roller coasters and rides at Disneyland yesterday (I'm writing this on Sunday eve), and seeing the sights and taking in the culture around Paris today. Over the past two days, we've stood up for long periods of time in queues and walked over 30km with almost 30,000 steps each!

Despite being hurled around and thrown upside down at ridiculous speeds and G's, this weekend has been a complete rest from thinking about work, and has been replaced with being fully present with my family - especially making memories with my two teenage boys who are growing up far too fast!

And as I reflect whilst I put my throbbing feet up, I remember that rest isn't about stopping and sleeping (though I'm looking forward to more of that type of rest next week when we stay in a cosy cottage in Kent due to another incredibly generous gift), rest can be about a change in rhythm, about re-charging and restoration.

Restoring and recharging can look very different for each of us, and it can also look different at different times.

If I'm honest, I didn't expect to be rested after 2 hectic days, but the change of scenery, company, pace-of-life and activities, means I already feel more mentally rested from work, and emotionally and relationally restored with my family.

This week I'm very grateful for the gift from my brother and sister-in-law of making memories and of quality time spent connecting with my boys, for exertions that have pushed me beyond all of my physical comfort zones, and that a change can be as good as a rest.

I wonder where you might be more intentional about rest this coming week?

Feel free to let me know at info@intentionalhealth.uk

Niky :)

Let me tell you about Vanessa and Matt...

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I'd never met Vanessa, until she bounded up to our table, beaming and bursting with joy about how much Intentional Health had changed her life. Then about 10 minutes later her husband Matt arrived and what he shared moved me to tears...  Vanessa recently went on a 10-session Intentional Health programme run by Helen, another of our amazing trained coaches.  

I met Vanessa in August at this years Creationfest, where she came over to tell me just how much Intentional Health has changed her life.

She went on the programme to help her lose weight, and while that part was really helpful (and impressively she has lost around three stone already), she told me that she had not expected the second part of the programme to impact, challenge and help her in quite the way it had! As she was telling me all of this, I asked her to share a quick 30-second testimony, which you can watch below:

A short while after, her husband, Matt, came along and Vanessa said: "Tell them, Matt, tell them what it was like when I came home after each Monday's session!" 

Matt, paused for a moment, before he looked carefully at me, and again at Vanessa and simply said... "changed".

He went on to tell me, whilst looking still lovingly at her, "Let me tell you something about my wife... My wife is the most loving person you will ever meet." 

He continued... "She loves me, she loves our kids, she loves God, she loves her church, her work, her family... she loves everyone.  But! She has always found it really hard to receive love". 

"Since she's been at Intentional Health, I am able to love her, as much as she deserves to be loved and she is learning to receive my love in that way, possibly for the first time - It is wonderful" 

I was so moved by what he said, I asked Matt to give a brief testimony too, and as he looked at Vanessa and told her just how precious it was for him that she was able to receive his love, tears rolled down his face...

I was crying, the camera was shaking... it was utterly beautiful! 

Sadly for the rest of us, I had pressed the wrong button and only managed to take the photo at the top of this page, rather than record a video, but it was such a moving and amazing opportunity for Matt to tell his wife, so lovingly and genuinely, something she needed to hear.

We agreed afterwards that maybe the camera not recording, was divine intervention and that it probably wasn't meant to be a publicly shared moment.

I know that it will be a moment that would not have happened without Helen delivering an Intentional Health programme in their community and one that I will remember forever!

You see, Intentional Health is different because it addresses the whole person's physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing and equips us all to make intentional choices regarding our whole person health and wellbeing.

It might be relatively easy to make healthy choices in today's day and age, but we are so often misled by clever marketing and a western culture, that it is much easier not to!

The consequences are that the NHS is at breaking point, and 3 out of 4 people are dying early or suffering needlessly.

We don't think that this is right!

I had never met Vanessa or Matt before they came and told me about the impact that Intentional Health had on them, but they were exactly who Intentional Health was created for. Normal, everyday people, just like you and I.

Intentional Health has also been designed to have lasting effects way beyond the length of the programme, so it is great to hear that the ten people who met and grew in their community group, now have a strong friendship together and are still supporting each other through all sorts of other difficult life issues.

We have an exciting and ambitious plan to get Intentional Health all over the UK too. We want people just like Vanessa, who we might never meet, to be able to attend a 10 session programme, become part of a loving community and have their lives transformed!

Despite being a relatively new charity, we already have 10 church partners in 5 counties across the south of England and are a recognised Cinnamon Network Course

To be able to inspire more healthy communities, we rely on training and equipping amazing volunteers just like Helen, from the amazing community focused church partners, like Liskeard and Looe Methodist Circuit.

If you can't help in that way, you might be pleased to know you can still help by becoming an Intentional Health Angel. These are a special group of people who give small monthly donations which already make up a third of our necessary income. 

The challenge we face with fundraising is that we are not an emergency aid charity and there are SO many other worthy causes to give to.

We don't provide a bag of rice to those who are hungry, and we don't mop up after disasters.

We are a 'root cause' charity: we prevent people needing emergency care, prevent people's lives from being cut short or disabled and help people live well, understanding how loved they are. 

If you are one of our, precious Intentional Health Angels, I'd like to personally thank you! We could not do what we are doing without you, and I'm sure Vanessa and Matt would like me to pass on their sincere thanks to you too!

If you aren't yet one of our supporters, we'd love to invite you to be part of this exciting, preventative and life-transforming work today, by clicking here.

If you are or know of a local church who might want to partner with us to deliver programmes in their community, you can register interest for our next round of training in November by clicking here

And if you want to join Helen as she starts her next Intentional Health programme, starting 12-2pm  on Thursday at Liskeard Methodist Church, you can contact her directly on 07958 940263.

I'd like to finish by personally thanking Helen, Vanessa, and Matt for sharing their story with us, and letting us share their story with you!

Until next week :)

Celebrating...

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We would like to dedicate today's post to celebrate with the 40,000 walkers, runners, joggers and movers who took part in the biggest ever Great Run Day yesterday in Manchester.


Simplyhealth's 'Great Run Day' is their celebration of running, jogging, walking, or simply moving together. 'The day to walk a little further, jog a little longer and inspire those around you to get active' is a key part of Simplyhealth’s #millionsmoving campaignSimplyhealth want to inspire individuals, families and communities to simply move more.

We like that! We also like celebrating our successes and inspiring healthy communities! 

Did you know that Celebrating our successes can be motivational for us to try new things and overcome challenges in other areas too?

You may have read in a previous blog, one of our trustees, Jo and her husband Phil, have been encouraged and inspired by our recent series of webinars and signed up to take part in the Great North Run yesterday.

Jo was right at the start of her running journey, running her very first non-stop mile (with her daughter, Eloïse),  which was a huge achievement for her as she'd never run before.

Her husband, Phil, ran the full half marathon (in a personal best time!) and amazingly raised over £2,500 for Scunthorpe Baptist Church and their Foodbank Christmas appeal.

If that wasn't enough to celebrate, there were around 40,000 people, just like Phil and Jo, who also ran. Some for the first, and some for the umpteenth time. Some took part for fitness, some for the pure joy, some for personal reasons and some just because they like a challenge! Many also raised money for charities that are close to their heart. All of them challenged themselves to move more.

For everyone who; walked; ran or used any other means of moving more, we at Intentional Health would like to applaud you, celebrate with you, and dedicate this blog to you today!

We also pray that no matter how much your bodies ache right now, that your mental and emotional health and wellbeing will be elated with the pure sense of achievement in being part of something bigger than you.

We'd also like to take a moment and celebrate with other people, like Sarah, who this week, shared with us how she has been out for two runs last week - not as part of the Great Run, but just to be more intentional about her health and wellbeing. Sarah is one of our inspirational Intentional Health coaches and we are being part of her scaffolding. She is being a fantastic role model and living out some of the Intentional Health messages that our 10 session programme explores.

Well done to Sarah, Phil, Jo, Eloïse and the 40,000+ others who took part yesterday or have been more intentional about their health and wellbeing in the past week.


If you'd like to take part next years Great Run, then why not be intentional and sign up today to Simplyhealth's reminder service to receive an email as soon as the 2018 ballot opens.

If you'd like to find out more about running an Intentional Health programme in your community, then get in touch here.

If running is just not your thing, then why not find something else to challenge yourself that helps you move more or connect with someone in your community. And if you let us know; like Jo, Phil and Sarah have; then when you've completed it, we will celebrate with you too!

The 'Wedding Ring' finger

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As we continue with our handful of ideas series, this week we refer to our wedding ‘ring' finger!…

Just for clarity, I'm referring to the 4th finger that we would traditionally wear a wedding or engagement ring on.

This finger is known as the 'wedding ring’ finger because a long time ago, before scientist William Harvey [1578-1657] discovered how the circulation system actually worked, people generally believed that a vein connected the left hand directly to the heart. They viewed the physical heart as being closely connected to the this finger, and the emotion of love.

Back then they might not have fully known as we do today how the hearts biology and physiology worked, but they did recognised that our physical and emotional ‘parts’ are holistically connected.

Today, UCLA scientists are discovering that loneliness and isolation is toxic. Living with out meaningful relationships is literally breaking our hearts because it is associated with higher blood pressure and heart disease, which increase our risk of dying.

Researchers are trying to understand exactly how loneliness causes disease at the cellular level. Scientists are also finding that loneliness is far more than a psychological pain — it’s a biological wound that wreaks havoc on our cells.

Having deep and meaningful relationships is therefore good and healthy for our mind, body and soul.

That shouldn’t be a surprise because we were created to be in relationship and community and weren’t designed to be on our own. I’m not just referring to romantic or family relationships here - being in any supportive and edifying relationship is good.

But if that is the case, I wonder why do some people end up socially isolated and why don’t we spend more time in community and connecting with others?

Here are a few possible reasons ...

Our life circumstances may change and we suddenly find ourselves having no connected family, or friends.

We don’t have any natural opportunities to meet new friends - it require lots of courage to overcome that daunting feeling of potential rejection to go out on our own and meet new people.

Because there are times when being in relationship with someone, anyone, can just be hard.

Meeting others who might have different viewpoints, experiences and values to us can result in us unintentionally being offended or offending others. In our hurt we can allow our pride to take over and shut down, or withdraw, to avoid being hurt again.

Sometimes meaningful relationships can just feel like hard work, they require so much give and take, and cost so much energy. We can tell ourselves the lie that we'd be better off on our own and simply give up on trying.

I find it helpful to remember the “big picture” when bumping into people who see the world differently than I do.

The big picture is that we are better in relationship.

It helps me to think about and celebrate those things that we do have in common, and it’s also healthy to accept differences. When I keep an open heart I am often surprised about how much I can learn from some else’s experience and view points!

Perhaps today’s research could help us remember and motivate us to not give up on relationships and friendships. Perhaps it can help us to forgive others when they hurt us, not necessarily because they deserve it, but because it is better for our own health and wellbeing.

There is an uncomfortable and well known quote that says; 

un-forgiveness is like drinking poison yourself and waiting for the other person to die."

That is probably because un-forgiveness kills our meaningful relationships, eats away at our soul and leads to isolation and loneliness.

So this week, rather than believe the lie that it would just be easier or we’d be better off on our own than in a relationship, why not instead be brave and think

“how can I be brave about meeting new people?" or "is there a new way I could meet people?” "are there any relationships that could be restored with a little forgiveness on my part?" "am I holding a grudge I need to let go of?"

If you are already in healthy meaningful relationships ask;

“how can I invest more into my meaningful relationships?” or even “can I give a hand to someone I know who might be feeling isolated?”

If we can do any of these, we could also be subsequently investing into our own holistically healthy heart.


If you're thinking about starting a journey to improve your health and wellbeing and want to invest in some meaningful relationships, then why not join almost 200 others and download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook Click on the picture below to help get you started on your journey towards living a healthier, happier life..

And as always, thanks to those who take the time to email and let me know how much the posts bless you and share it and if you've noticed any ways you are connected, we'd love to hear about it!

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