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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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?

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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.

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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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Flu

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Niky is in bed with the flu. It is teaching her a valuable lesson. Sometimes you can be applying the most intentional, proactive and goal orientated approach to your personal health or any other aspect of your life...and then you get the flu!

It wasn’t forecasted, she didn’t plan for it, nor has she built the necessary scaffolding around it…. the flu just arrived and sent her to bed. She now has to stop everything and allow her body to recover.

It’s sooooo frustrating! (for those who know her, you will understand). She’s a natural rescuer, a natural helper …and now she’s the helpless one.

The lesson is … there are some things we just can't control and it’s then that we have to stop, to seek shelter and rest in faith….and allow time to heal and allow others to be there for us.

As we know, the flu can come in many shapes and sizes.

For some it’s a far more critical health problem than the flu, for others it’s a un-predicted relationship break or a change in our work or home life that came from nowhere, and for others, it can be all of the above.

It’s at that moment that you put the anchor down, seek shelter, rest and receive help from others.

Eventually, the flu will go and she will set sail again, with the new knowledge that she is fallible and there is strength in accepting fallibility.

Hopefully, service will resume as normal next week. Thanks for your patience in the meantime.

photo credit :elizabeth lies


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Find out more about becoming an Intentional Health Church Partner, Angel or Prayer Warrior - and partnering with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities. 

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!

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. 

How's your heart?

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Photo Credit : Cathal Mac an Bheatha

It has begun… the emails suggesting presents, Pinterest pages and promotions for Valentine's day are flooding my inbox!

Don’t get me wrong, those who know me well, know that I’m an old romantic and love nothing more than a good rom-com (much to the delights of my husband and teenage boys who are more into action, adventure and history films!)

But as Valentine's day approaches, it got me thinking about our hearts, and how complex they are.

In fact, they are phenomenal.

Our hearts are a remarkable piece of architecture, engineering and art, all rolled into one.

Here are a few, fascinating facts about our hearts…

  • Our heart is made up of muscle cells that are different in structure to every other cell in the body; they don’t fatigue in the same way as the rest of our cells.
  • This is just as well because our heart beats an average of 72 times each minute.
  • This equates to over 100,000 beats every day of our lives, meaning they can beat around 3 billion times in our lifetime - hopefully without stopping, or needing a service!
  • Our heart's purpose is to serve almost every other cell in the body with blood, providing valuable nutrients and clearing away toxins.
  • Our heart is around the size of our fist when clenched, and weighs around 300 grams (the weight of a packet of biscuits).
  • Our heart pumps approximately 2,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of connected blood vessels each day, at a rate anywhere between 5 and 30 litres of blood per minute.

Let's put this into perspective; my car holds around 10 gallons of fuel in a full tank, and if I’m really lucky, will take me around 400 miles. To add to that, my heart can pump - in just one minute - around two-thirds of what my entire fuel tank can hold - and my car only goes 0.006 times as far, around 500 times slower!

Another lesser-known feature of the heart is that it has a special blood supply all of its own. This supply branches from the base of the main blood vessel leaving the heart, and ensures that the heart is provided with all the blood it needs to remain healthy before it serves the rest of the body. 

Our hearts are not only amazing, but they play a vital role in keeping us alive. That is why we talk about being intentional about healthy eating and staying active to prevent heart disease and keep our hearts as healthy as possible.

But as Valentine's day reminds us, our heart isn’t purely a physical structure or piece of anatomy - it is also where we associate feelings of love; including value, belonging and worth… and when we lack these feelings of love, we feel that in our heart too, and refer to 'heartache' or even 'a broken heart'.

The bible talks about the greatest love being an “agape” love. This is a selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional love. It is this kind of Love God asks of his followers when he says the greatest commandment is to love God and love our neighbour as ourselves.

Whether you believe in God or read the Bible, the principle of loving others as ourselves is one I’d like to bring front and centre of our thoughts today.

To really love others from this ‘agape’ love; from a selfless place of service, sacrificial and unconditional love; we need to invest in maintaining a healthy heart of our own, or 'love ourselves well' first.

In today's culture, this is counter-intuitive. It can even be deemed selfish or arrogant. To be clear,  I’m not talking about making yourself the centre of your universe. I’m simply suggesting that by loving God (if you believe in God) and getting clear on what loving ourselves first (or self-care) might look like, we could love others in a far richer and healthier way, and for longer.

In the same way that the heart first supplies itself with just what it needs to keep healthy before it serves the rest of our body: having a healthy love for ourselves means we can really love and serve others well, without placing our own emotional needs on them too.

So as Valentine's day approaches, I wonder how your heart is, and what 'loving yourself first' might look like for you this week? Do let us know by emailing niky@intentionalhealth.uk.

Next week we will continue our heart theme and consider how we can care for our whole heart. If you found 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 Partner, Angel or Prayer Warrior - and partnering with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities. 

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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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