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Government supporting preventative health care

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Although it has been a while since we last posted a blog, today’s news is something we are really excited about so had to share it! The Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, has today (5th November 2018) laid out his long-term vision for the NHS and the country’s health. His plan will centre around encouraging people to take more responsibility for their own health as well as employers the responsibility for their employees.

"It's about helping them make better choices, giving them all the support we can, because we know taking the tough decisions is never easy"

He said on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 that 4-5ths ot what happens with our health, happens outside of hospital. You can also read via the BBC News that Mr. Hancock, in an essential readjustment, stated, "In the UK, we are spending £97bn of public money on treating disease and only £8bn preventing it across the UK. You don't have to be an economist to see those numbers don't stack up.".

Equally, when we know that 75% of people in the UK (3 out of 4 of us) will suffer needlessly or die prematurely because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, you don’t need to be an NHS professional to know that changes need to be made in preventative community health.

The NHS ‘Five Year Forward View’ recognised a need for prevention. However Matt Hancock now highlights the need for a change of culture and method of delivering, with a substantial shift onto focus on community. This is because the NHS can only play a small part when it comes to health that is so inextricably linked to social determinants, including social isolation and poverty.

There has been a lot of talk about the need for prevention, but up until now very little has been done on a national scale due to limited resources.

Because our health is so largely impacted by making better choices, Intentional Health firmly believes the church can play a crucial role in loving their neighbours as themselves as it promotes supportive communities, provides encouragement, and loves compassionately in their local communities.

Intentional Health trains, equips and resources local church volunteers to run an inspirational10-session community programme providing facts, frameworks and friendships that encourage a step by step journey towards improved health and wellbeing.

Each session explores simple swaps and sows tiny seeds that impact areas of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and lead to healthier lifestyle habits.

People leave with a renewed sense of whole person health and wellbeing that is achievable, lasting and life-giving.

These programmes are placed-based and peer-led to ensure they are person centred, and that each person attending is able to get the most out of the programme content.

That is why today’s news is a real breath of fresh air for us at Intentional Health as it reiterates the need for whole-person healthcare which the person themselves is able to direct and effect, and is something a number of churches in the UK have been doing for a number of years. We aim to equip these amazing volunteers to do this in accordance with the NHS principles and using the tools comprised in Making Every Contact Count (MECC) guidance.

We do this because we believe...

Every Body Matters

We’d love you to join us, if you want to know more about the work of Intentional Health click here.


If you want to start 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 start your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

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Sign up to receive these blogs via a weekly email and receive a FREE "5 Steps towards a healthier lifestyle ebook by clicking here

And as always, if you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too! and we'd love you to get in touch and share with us about any experiences about how you have learned to have a more flexible mindset and how this has improved your life.

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming an Intentional Health Church Partner, Angel or Prayer Warrior - and want to partner with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities click on the links above or contact us.

Changing the world...

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I'm hoping you won't mind if today, I invite you into my a bit of my world... I used to laugh at my good friend Annie, who would frequently tease me saying she was convinced that one day, I was going to change the world.

I think she'd only say this because of my passion to help everybody, but what I soon learned - was that to change the world, I first had to change my world.

I was never going to be able to help others, inspire others, or challenge the status quo around me, until I had learned to change the hardest person in the world for me to change: the person in the mirror!

Over recent years, I have learned a lot, and I believe, as I've become more intentional about my own health and wellbeing habits and behaviours, I have started to change my world.

Learning to invest in myself, learning to look after my health and wellbeing, learning to say no, have all been incredibly tough lessons, and lessons that I repeatedly re-learn and get to practice, almost on a daily basis. But I'm also really appreciative and genuinely grateful for the help and support of others - outside of me - to come alongside, encourage, to grow me and to challenge me too.

Many of you probably know that here at Intentional Health, we are on a mission to help 1000 people benefit from our transformational lifestyle health programme by the end of 2020. Our 10-session community programme - delivered exclusively by local church volunteers for the benefit of anyone in the community, unpacks many of the topics we explore here on the blog. In particular, ways to improve our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing.

Intentional Health is place-based by location: delivered in existing local communities and is place-based by common interests; it is uniquely delivered by church partners and volunteers for the benefit and purpose of being accessible to everyone in the locally

We believe this model ensures maximum volunteer engagement, relieves the need for clinical health specialists (thus reducing the pressure on the overstretched NHS), and aligns with evidence that shows peer-support is more successful in long term behaviour change.

And whilst it is highly unlikely that I, personally, am going to be able to change the whole world, we can help and equip an army of volunteer coaches come alongside 1000 people in communities, and perhaps inspire them to make healthier choices by understanding that they also have a choice about changing aspects of their own worlds.

To continue to do this well as Intentional Health grows, I know I will need to continue to invest and grow my own personal leadership skills too.

Therefore, you cannot imagine how grateful and excited I am to tell you that, thanks to a generous 90% bursary from Allchurches Trust,  in 2 weeks time, I will be attending the Windsor Leadership - Emerging Strategic Leaders programme.

I expect I will meet some incredible people, learn more from others perspectives and experiences in their worlds and operational cultures, as well as have time to develop my own wisdom and insight to make good decisions at difficult times. I'm also just a little bit excited about spending a week living inside the castle grounds, two weeks before the Royal wedding!

As I pray for an open mind, an open heart and enthusiastically wait to see how this opportunity will help change my world, I also pray that you will receive an opportunity to change one thing that could a make a difference for you and your world today too.


If you are interested in helping us improve the lives of 1000 beneficiaries by 2020, or supporting me personally along my Intentional Health leadership journey, you can invest via a one off gift or monthly donations at www.give.net/intentionalhealth 

Photo Credit: Kyle Glenn


If you want to keep up to date with how I get on over the next few weeks, then Sign up here to receive these blogs via a weekly email. You'll also receive a FREE "5 Steps towards a healthier lifestyle ebook - just clicking here to register. 

If you want to start 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 start your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

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Flight Path

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Have you ever been heading in one direction, chatting away and suddenly found yourself somewhere unexpected?

You could ask yourself this question about a time you may have been merrily following the crowd, walking or driving on a motorway, OR you could ask this question in relation to your health and wellbeing.

Merrily going through life and suddenly realising you were overweight, are heading for burn-out, hate your job, addicted to your phone or have no relationship with your spouse and kids?

I believe, in the same way, that no-one ever sets out to find themselves in a different location than they intended,  no one sets out to become overweight, burnout, or starts a career they know won’t fulfil them. No-one intends for their phones to feel like an extra limb, for their job to rob them of their family, or to grow apart from the people they love the most. But it happens. More often than we would like.

The law of momentum goes something like... “everything will continue on its current path unless something else pulls or pushes it off that path” (Sorry if I’ve offended any physics experts with my naive explanation!).

This means, once we set out on a path, in theory, we should stay on that path indefinitely! That’s a little like what we see when we watch astronauts float around in space. So why don’t see that here on earth?

Because there are usually other forces at play at the same time. On earth, we have gravity which is a force that is always pulling us towards the ground. This may seem like a strange concept, but if we take a second to stop and think about it, we’ve learned to overcome it from only a few weeks old as we learn to hold the weight of our head up, and every day since, use our muscles to create counter forces that push and move us up and on when we need to.

Now, we simply take adjusting for gravity for granted - Can you think of the last time you stopped to think about the effect gravity was having as you went about your day?

We rarely notice many of the forces occurring every day that subtly distract and pull us off course, even by one degree. One tiny degree from 360 degrees off course might not seem like much, but if a rocket was launched into space only 1 degree off in its flight path, it could miss the moon by around 6,700km! That’s twice the diameter of the moon itself!

We tend to only notice the sudden effects of outside forces when they seem to come in suddenly, and from no-where, for example two cars coming from opposite directions in a head-on collision, a heart attack, type 2 diabetes or a cancer diagnosis, or we eventually notice the cumulative effect after a period of time.

The only way to prevent us from ending up somewhere we’d rather not is to stop and check our current “flight path”  regularly.

If you want to be intentional about anything, try doing these 5 steps!

  1. Start with the end in mind; Ask yourself, if you could move your life forward by 10 years, what would you want it to look like?
  2. Check your current co-ordinates; If you continue ‘going with the flow’, where you are currently heading?
  3. Is that where you intended to head?
  4. If there is a difference? Try and identify what force is pulling you off course and make adjustments accordingly.
  5. Rinse and repeat regularly.

Being intentional about these steps will mean you can’t go too far off course before you notice, and can then choose to make adjustments.


If your flight path is off and you want to start 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.

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Sign up to receive these blogs via a weekly email and receive a FREE "5 Steps towards a healthier lifestyle ebook by clicking here  

And as always, if you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too! and we'd love you to get in touch and share with us about any experiences about how you have learned to have a more flexible mindset and how this has improved your life.

Photo Credit : SpaceX

Confession time...

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Gareth and I have enjoyed watching Masterchef over the past few weeks for a bit of relaxing evening TV. We are not big TV watchers, preferring to watch films or box sets, but Masterchef has been especially welcome in these cold winter, and even snowy, evenings! We enjoy learning about new foods that we can barely pronounce, along with imaginative ways of cooking 'said' foods, and try and guess if we would like the hopeful candidate's creations.

However, I recently noticed that I was getting “the munchies” in the middle of the programme, despite having just eaten dinner, and have found it a real challenge to avoiding mindless snacking.

This urge to snack has been compounded by the creation of arguably the best flapjacks in the world, made by my son Lewi! I’ve even found myself saying that he can’t go on his games console if the flapjack tin is empty! (Oh the parenting shame!)

But I realised this week, after speaking to Mary Rose, (one of our amazing Intentional Health coaches) was that the combination of the cold dark evenings, seeing the food on the TV, and having flapjacks readily available in the house has been a perfect storm of temptation for me - to the extent that I realised recently had succumbed and eaten six, yes you read that right - six! flapjacks in one day.

I probably don't need to tell you that this is NOT an example of a healthy balanced diet!

Before you gasp too much - I already feel even more shame telling you, because Lewi & Gareth have both been reminding me that I’m meant to be setting an example of being Intentional about my health! (proof that they are learning too! ;-))

But I have chosen to be brave and confess my downfalls to you anyway because I recognise I’ve been succumbing to cravings rather than been eating from a place of genuine hunger.

Hunger is a healthy response to a biological need. It is our bodies way of letting us know we are running low on readily available fuel. It is harmful to our bodies if we ignore genuine hunger!

Cravings, on the other hand, are a response to a psychological or emotional need - I’m looking for the flapjacks to satisfy the cravings I’m getting from a combination of; the memories of how Good the flapjacks are, wanting comfort in the cold, dark evenings when I’m longing for summer, and watching and imagining tasting the Masterchef food.

Now, obviously, there is nothing wrong with watching Masterchef, and I can assure you there is nothing wrong with the little pieces of perfection that are rolled into Lewi’s flapjacks!

BUT - I know that putting myself in the way of both of these, at the same time, when I'm already cold and longing for warm summer evenings, will lead me straight into temptation. And the more I succumb to these temptations, feel bad that I've eaten more than I should and been a rubbish parent, the more likely I am to develop an unhealthy habit of comfort eating whilst watching TV!

Downward spiral here we come!

So, to counteract those cravings before they become habits, here's my plan!

  1. Confess to an accountable community! (That- by default of you reading this -is you!) You can ask me how many flapjacks I've had at any time. That is a compelling reason to not eat more flapjacks.
  2. Other than the flapjacks I’ve asked Lewi to make for the image on this blog (which I have then taken to share at our church weekend away), I am going to be restricting the number of baked goods I ask him to make, at least until after the Masterchef final!
  3. Whilst Masterchef is still on or I'm watching TV, I’m going to do the ironing, drink a glass of water, or prepare a healthier snack like some fresh fruit instead.

If you want to find out more about the difference between a hunger or craving, why not take our Hunger or Cravings Quiz - you can download a free quiz sheet here.


If you want to start 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 start your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

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Sign up to receive these blogs via a weekly email and receive a FREE "5 Steps towards a healthier lifestyle ebook by clicking here  

And as always, if you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too! and we'd love you to get in touch and share with us about any experiences about how you have learned to have a more flexible mindset and how this has improved your life.

If you are interested in finding out more 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 click on the links above or contact us

4-1

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I was sharing this insight with Niky and she thought it was so good, she has asked me to write a blog to share it with you too! I’m calling this 4 - 1. I love sport, so this comes from the world of sport, but I promise I’ll make it short.

My football team are Swansea City. They are in the premiership. Arguably the best league in the world. They shouldn’t really be there, as Swansea is a small city in the west of Wales and not in London, Manchester or Liverpool. Swansea is fab, I lived there during some of my university years.

By the way…if you want to hear the Swansea valley accent maybe attend an Intentional Health programme at a local church, and listen out for the voice-over guy in the animations ;-) Or just imagine Rob Brydon from the television speaking… I digress…

My team are always underdogs, often not expected to win, yet they've stayed in the premiership for over 5 years. This to me is a miracle in itself!! Here’s one of the reason’s why I think that is the case.

They take responsibility for when it goes wrong.

As an example, Swansea went to play at Brighton 2 weeks ago (another good seaside team), where Swansea needed to win. They’d been at the bottom of the league for weeks. In order to win, they changed some things, took a few risks, swopped some players, changed formation.

It didn't go well, they were losing 2 - 0 which led to taking even more risks during the game and finally lost …..4 - 1 :(

The fans were distraught, the players dejected, the momentum of winning was so, so important to them.

After the game, the coach (leader) said something like,

“I take full responsibility for the team. We tried something different, and it didn't work, but what we do know is that we’ve learned something new. We have failed-forward. We now hold power in owning the failure, and through responsibility, we will adapt, grow and be stronger”.

Responsibility is creating and holding an ability to respond.

We often say ‘taking’ responsibility, but really it’s a ‘giving’ word.

By taking responsibility we are giving ourselves the best chance to grow, transform and succeed.

It’s powerful stuff.

Last week Swansea City were up against the mighty Hammers (West Ham United)

And the funny thing is... Swansea won….4 - 1! :) 

As I swan off now (get it!?) I'll leave you with a question...

Where might you be able to take responsibility and give yourself the best chance of success in your life this week?

Gareth

unsplash-logoPeter Glaser


If you want to start 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 start your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

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Sign up to receive these blogs via a weekly email and receive a FREE "5 Steps towards a healthier lifestyle ebook by clicking here  

And as always, if you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too! and we'd love you to get in touch and share with us about any experiences about how you have learned to have a more flexible mindset and how this has improved your life.

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming an Intentional Health Church Partner, Angel or Prayer Warrior - and want to partner with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities click on the links above or contact us

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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Story Time

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Photo Credit:Ben White

As it is National Storytelling Week (January 27th – February 3rd), we invite you to make yourself comfy for today's Intentional Health story time...

Once upon a time…..

….many years ago, there was a nasty outbreak of a disease called cholera. This disease caused many people to become physically sick, causing much suffering leading to many deaths.

It turned out that the disease was entirely preventable by not drinking contaminated water. Sadly, people didn’t know that this was the case and couldn’t make a choice to stop drinking the water because they didn’t know it was contaminated.

When John Snow, a local physician, figured out the source of the disease may have been from a contaminated water pump, the water pump handle was removed.

This simple act prevented people from unknowingly making a choice that was causing physical suffering and needless death. It was also instrumental in beginning public health policy in the UK. 

And so, after the pump handle was removed, everyone really did ‘live’… and we hope…“ happily ever after”.

The end.

… erm, not quite!…

I do wonder, how many people were a little grumpy at the inconvenience of having to get water from a different pump? They would probably have been blissfully unaware that this removal of choice was preventing them from suffering needlessly and premature death.

And I think about how today, many years later, people are still becoming sick and suffering needlessly because of unknowingly making unwise lifestyle choices.

The NHS is struggling to treat and care for the people who are sick, and our fast-paced, convenience-culture means that we are not just dealing with physical sickness and diseases like coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancers…. but our mental and emotional health, as well as our spiritual health, is suffering too.

So here at Intentional Health, we are inviting volunteers from the local church to partner with us and help our communities understand how important it is to make healthy choices that lead to healthier habits, in order to live a healthy and happy life and avoid premature illness and death. We also know that people who are beginning to make habitually, healthy choices are best placed to help others make great habitual choices too.

We train and equip volunteers with all the public health information that helps us all make wise lifestyle choices and create healthy habits that can significantly improve our health and wellbeing.

We address whole person health and wellbeing topics through our 10 session programme. The 10 session programme explores physical health topics like food and physical activity, as well as considering habits, stress, worry, thoughts and feelings, boundaries, sleep and rest.

We are inviting volunteers from the local church to partner with us to deliver the message in their communities all over the nation, and because we come from a Christian perspective we also include exploring a little of our own spiritual health from this point of view too, although this part is optional and people from all faiths and none are very welcome to attend.

We hope that our programme, and this blog, inspires you to think about the informed and uninformed habits or choices you are making about your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health today.

Unfortunately, we can’t remove the water pump handle of today’s convenience culture, but we hope we might inspire you to choose to drink the right water so that you can live ‘happily ever after’ too.I


If you would like to find out more about becoming an Intentional Health Church Partner with us and help prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities - Expressions of interest for our March training is now open.


If you want to start on your own journey towards making more informed and intentional choices about your health then why not download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below or attending a programme in your community. We'd love to help start you on your journey towards living a happy ever after life too.

Please share this post with others so it can benefit them too, and let us know how you are being more intentional about your health and wellbeing.

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