Anthony Anderson on therapy and the 'self-love' behind his #HuskyAndHandsome hashtag: 'Embrace it'

·3-min read
Anthony Anderson talks allergies, therapy and finding joy in his work. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
Anthony Anderson talks allergies, therapy and finding joy in his work. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

The Unwind is Yahoo Life's well-being series in which experts, influencers and celebrities share their approaches to wellness and mental health, from self-care rituals to setting healthy boundaries to the mantras that keep them afloat.

It's hard to imagine Anthony Anderson slowing down. Between hosting the game show To Tell the Truth (and various award shows and specials), saying goodbye to the beloved family sitcom Black-ish after eight seasons and reprising his role as Det. Kevin Bernard on the Law & Order reboot, the Emmy-nominated star and dad of two is taking multitasking to new levels. But none of that magic happens without him first taking a moment to just ... be.

"I like to start my day with a bit of meditation and yoga just to center myself," Anderson, 51, tells Yahoo Life's The Unwind. "Weather providing, I go outside and I walk around barefoot in my backyard to ground myself. I learned that doing those types of things to start my day makes for a productive day."

Anderson's daily routine also includes prioritizing his physical and mental health. For the former, that means hitting the gym to box or lift weights. For the latter, he's recently started journaling — "that's my own way of analyzing issues or problems that I may have," he says — and is a firm believer in the power of regular therapy.

"I see a therapist just to keep my mind clear and my emotions and everything else in check," Anderson, whose just-wrapped series Black-ish has been praised for its handling of mental health topics, says. "It's also good to have someone that you can speak to and talk things out — and if there's an issue or a problem, get a different perspective.

Keeping his allergies at bay has also been key to his overall well-being since his first attack — during a round of golf on a course surrounded by juniper trees in Albuquerque, New Mexico — about a decade ago. Dealing with congestion and other symptoms can be especially "problematic" given that his role on Law & Order sees him filming outdoor scenes all over Manhattan.

"I wasn't thinking about my allergies and I was just like, 'Why do I have the sniffles all of a sudden? Why do I have this slight cough and sneeze?'" he says with a laugh about feeling rundown on set. "And it didn't dawn on me until later that evening or the next day that I was like, 'I have allergies!' I was in Central Park chasing a perp, trying to solve this murder all day, and then it made sense."

These days he insists on keeping Zyrtec in his toiletry bag, and makes sure the crime drama's hair and makeup team have it on hand for "24-hour relief." Anderson has also teamed up with the allergy medication brand as it partners with American Forests for the Zyrtec ReLEAF Project. The initiative will see trees being planted in communities that are typically starved of nature in hopes of supporting sustainability and healthy living. Improving tree equity is a cause close to California native Anderson's heart given his upbringing in the concrete-heavy areas of Compton and Watts.

"I look at how I grew up versus how my children have grown up here, living in the suburbs surrounded by trees," he says. "Where I grew up, there weren't many trees in my neighborhoods at all. Not too many parks where I lived; definitely not golf courses where I lived."

Anderson regularly shouts out his Compton roots by adding #JustAKidFromCompton to his social media posts, but it's not the only hashtag he's fond of. Consider his habit of adding #BigZaddy and #HuskyAndHandsome to his captions an act of "self-love."

"Health is wealth," Anderson says, "so that's where #HuskyAndHandsome came from. We all have our body types, and as long as you are as healthy as you can be with your body type, embrace it. And that's what I do."

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