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

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

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.