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Believers IMPACT Series: Three Maxims for Becoming Healthy Men from the Inside Out.

May is mental health awareness month.

As black men, how do we life our best life possible in a country that has not always valued us as men? The answer will vary for each man, according to our philosophy, social upbringing, theology and experiences. Here’s the key: We may not always have the best to give, but – across our physical, emotional and spiritual life spectrum – we can always give ourselves the best.

Here are three maxims we can use in becoming healthy men from the inside out.

Don’t Count the Years but Make the Years Count

I’ve cited this statistic before, but it is worth repeating:

The average white male lives

61, 320 hours, 2,555 days, 364 weeks, 84 months

longer than the average black male

That’s an average life span of 67.8 years for black men. Quality is more important than quantity. Let’s make our years count by committing ourselves to eating healthier, exercising and guarding against self-destructive behaviors.

Let’s value our relationships more; let’s say ‘I love you’ more to the people that really matter to us. Appreciate the small things in life and live in the moment. Let’s make the best use of time – while time is still ours to use. Earl Nightingale writes, Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Good advice indeed!

Don’t Sleep through your own Revolution

Remember the story of Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving that was written in 1818? There are parallels to our journey today. In the story, Rip Van Winkle lives in a village in the Catskills with his wife and children. One day, Rip goes hunting in the mountains and ends up falling asleep under a tree. Twenty years later, Rip Van Winkle wakes up to find that the world has changed; he soon discovers that he has become alienated from his family because he cannot adjust to the fact that times have changed.

Refuse to be a Rip Van Winkle. Don’t sleep through your own revolution! When you sleep through your own revolution, you’ll discover that you have been living an unlived life.

The unlived life is the life you have missed out on and avoided due to fear. Think of all the dreams, ideas and aspirations you’ve had since boyhood. That is the unlived life. It’s the stuff of your imagination, the inner hero and the awesomeness that’s always been inside of you.

Use your Anger Intelligently

For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind, writes Ralph Waldo Emerson. Anger is usually the result of not getting what we want or feel we deserve. It sets in when we feel as if we have been the victim of injustice – whether perpetrated by an individual or by society. We get angry when we perceive there is an obstacle blocking our forward movement. As brothers living in American society, we’ve had much to become angry about.

It is time we use our anger intelligently, to channel our anger in the proper direction of advancement and of a just cause. One way to achieve this is making we have a solid physical and mental outlet for releasing stress.

The proper channeling of anger gives us the sensitivity and determination to find effective solutions to the issues that confront us black men.

Pastor W. Eric Croomes Ministries Faith Influencer. Executive Director: The Charley and Dorothy Croomes Foundation. Creator of the Watch Your Life Series. I speak about the excellency of His name in all the earth and how that transforms our reality.

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