Gratitude

New Beginnings

Jo-Rabbits.jpg

This past weekend we've been celebrating Easter! For many, Easter is a time of Easter bunnies and chocolate eggs.  For us, the reason for Easter is to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  This year, we've managed to combine the two and been blessed to celebrate Easter with friends in style, - who also happen to have the cutest bunnies!

Last summer, we were very intentional and booked cheap flights, which meant on Friday we flew "up north" for the long-awaited weekend (I've just nipped out for a brief moment to write this blog!).

So far, we've enjoyed relaxed times of walking, rest, reflection, rich conversation, church fellowship, log burners, kids laughter, sport, shopping, bunnies - oh - and feasting on plenty of food - including Easter eggs - which were well especially well received after giving up chocolate for Lent!

We've not been constrained by time, the kids have played until they've dropped and we're enjoying every minute. Our conversations have included how we are so thankful for our family, friends and faith, for good health, healthy rhythms, healthy relationships and new beginnings.

This week, I'd like to suggest how good it is to remember that new beginnings don't just happen on Jan 1st!

New beginnings happen as winter turns to spring, one month rolls into the next and night turns to day.

We can be grateful for new seasons, times to start again, let go of the past and resurrect dreams.

New beginnings are also a great time to plan to be more intentional about anything.

For my husband, Gareth and I, we've decided when we get home, we are going to be intentional about getting back into our previous rhythm of early morning walks. We will no doubt continue many of our rich conversations, strengthen our relationship, all whilst starting the day with some active riverside walking as the sun rises a for a new day over our beautiful county.

So I'll finish today by asking what could you be more intentional about in this new season?


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.

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

Frozen?

Weather-rodion-kutsaev-183180-unsplash.jpg

We couldn't write a blog this week without talking about the 'Beast from the East'.  As a nation, we are pretty consumed with the constantly changing weather! I wonder if that's because it is something outside of our control and it has such a profound effect on all we do?

The extreme conditions of this past week will have undoubtedly affected every one of us in some way or another.  The arrival of the snow will have also brought with it different responses and reactions from each of us, based on our previous experiences, preferences and perspectives.

For some, the focus falls on the unexpected joy a "snow-day" can bring, with opportunities to get out, play with friends and family, and have a reprieve from the 'normal' routine.  For others, the arrival of snow only offers disruption, difficult challenges and in some cases disasters.  Most of us will fall somewhere in between those two extremes.

Personally, for me, I'm not a fan of the cold and wet, but I relished the opportunity to visit relatives that were only with us due to flights being cancelled, and I enjoyed watching the kids ditch the games consoles for the outdoors! 

And yes; the kids teased me as I nagged them to put a coat on - and when I went out for 5 minutes with 15 layers on, they said I looked like “one of those kids whose parents had overly dressed them up!”  They had a point (see pic) - but at least I was warm :)

I've also experienced a fair bit of disruption, with important work events being postponed and many of my friends and family, including some who were poorly, and impacted and stranded by the snow.  I'm now hugely thankful that many of them have arrived safely to their destinations after their ordeals, and thankful that life can begin to return to "normal".

But it got me thinking...

We are all as unique as the snow flakes.

We are all different; each having a unique set of experiences, preferences and perspectives. Because of these differences, it can be easy to look at others and form an opinion based on our own bias. We can sometimes believe that "they" are wrong, and "we" are right.

Sometimes, our unique thinking impacts how frozen or flexible our mindset is, especially concerning what is, and what is not under our control.

There was no way I was going out without my 15 layers - no matter what the kids said I looked like - and there was no way they were putting on any more layers than absolutely necessary. At the end of the day, I thought, they were the ones that would feel the cold - Except they didn't because they were too busy building snow-balls and snow-surfing (yes - you read that right!) down the ski-run that living on a hill creates when it snows!

The ability to be like the kids and surrender a need for control brings a healthy open and flexible mindset. It acknowledges that others may have different viewpoints when it comes to snow, or indeed anything else, and be ok with that. It is a sign of a good mental and emotional health and helps with resilience.  Why can't you slide down the hill on an old surfboard?

The inflexible (or frozen) mindset of not being in control or not being able to accept that another person may have a different point of view (and maybe don't feel the cold like you do) and the problems that brings, is not always as helpful, and not healthy for our own mental health, nor for our relationships.

So maybe we could all try a little thawing of a frozen mindset, displaying grace and acceptance of circumstances outside of our control, and consider that there may be another viewpoint or approach that it is different from ours.

Not better, or worse - not right, or wrong - just different.

The weather is a great reminder that the principle of a fixed or flexible mindset applies to everything else I’m not in always in control of too.

So this week, why not keep an open mind as to where might you be able to invest in your health by being more flexible, and less frozen, in your thinking when circumstances happen outside of your control?

Main Image Photo Credit: Rodion Kutsaev


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.

[fbshare type="button" width="100"]

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

Whole-hearted health

hearts-freestocks-org-547542.jpg

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


[fbshare type="button" width="100"]

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

Sign up for our weekly emails and FREE ebook by clicking here  

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. 

Give Thanks

Give-Thanks.jpg

Photo credit: Simon Maage

We would like to take this opportunity to say happy Thanksgiving ahead of this Thursday, especially to all of our American friends.

Although Thanksgiving is not an officially celebrated holiday here in the UK, giving thanks and taking time to think about all the things we are thankful for, can be really good for our health.

“Research suggests that individuals who feel grateful experience lower blood pressure, improved immune functions, recover more quickly from illness, and can more effectively cope with stress,” 

Being thankful also has huge and long-lasting benefits for our mental health and wellbeing, as well as helps us build resilience for both expected, and unexpected curve balls that life often brings.

We can benefit the most from an attitude of gratitude by being intentional about it. That means choosing to look for things that we are thankful for, and regularly listing them, one by one. A habit of gratitude is an excellent habit to have!  So how do we create that sort of habit?

We can intentionally focus on gratitude and joy by fixing our thoughts on anything good, making sure our thoughts are true truths and not assumptions and think about anything that is honourable, right, pure and lovely. Taking a moment to appreciate and admire any of the good things we often take for granted is also a great place to start!

This week, there has even been an advert floating around Facebook ahead of the Christmas and Thanksgiving frenzy that can help us do just that - click the link here if you are interested in watching.

In the meantime, here are 3 simple steps to starting an attitude of gratitude habit:

  • 1) Notice things to be thankful for,
  • 2) Write down at least 3-5 things a day,
  • 3) Repeat every day for a week or two!

Lastly, we'd be very grateful if you let us know how you get on ;)


PS - I'd also like to take this opportunity to say a special thank you to all of our Intentional Health  Church PartnersAngels and prayer warriors - who partner with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities!