John Legend talks anxiety dreams, music and why ‘we all have to have a health care plan for our minds’
The unwind Yahoo Life has a welfare chain in which experts, influencers and celebrities share their views with wellness and mental healthFrom self-care rituals to the establishment of healthy mantras that sustain them.
“Legend” may be a stage name, but it is a man who is born John stephens Earned the right of thanks for becoming the first black person and second youngest person in 2018 to achieve the status of EGOT (Amy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony). Last year the singer-songwriter added another chord to her bow, becoming the chief music officer for the meditation app The head. This is a role he has cast in the just launched YouTube series Music on my mind, In which Legend, cognitive neuroscientist Sahar Yousef and neuroscientist Yvande Pearce dig deeper into impact music – be it EDM tunes or slow, soulful ballads, such as, “All of Me” – sparking can cause brain to focus, Emotional relationships to improve memory and relaxation.
For Legend, music is not just a profession – it is also a workout motivator and mood-brightener. Here, he told Yahoo Life about tunes, meditation and how and wife Chrissy Teigen Giving priority to his mental health.
Chrissy is so open about mental health and medicine and Mourning Amidst a terrible year. What is your view in this?
I think we really have to be intentional about how we think about running our mind, like we think about our diet and we think of one [physical] Exercise. I think we all need to create a health care plan for our minds – whether it involves medicine, whether it involves meditation, whether it involves music. Can affect the way you react to life. And the more I learn about it, the more interesting it becomes. I think we are trying to take advantage of everything that is available to us, to make sure that we are taking care of our mental health, just as we are taking care of our physical health.
What stress do you have?
I don’t like when I feel like I’m running late. It’s fun, because your dreams tell you what your stressors are, because when you worry, they tell what you’re worried about. And one of my dreams of worrying is that I’m always late for something [laughs]. I can not reach it further. Like, I’m on my way to the airport and I’m behind, I’m lost … like a stressful experience. And so I think that is telling me that I don’t like being late.
You mentioned that you sometimes put on an audiobook to “kill two birds with one stone” while doing workouts, but there are some songs that you find?
I like to listen to hip-hop, in fact, when I work out. I am not a big EDM person. So when you’re thinking about the types of music that you hear that you need to pump that is an upbeat BPM, hip-hop usually satisfies me – so Jay-Z, Outkast … I’m still stuck in the ’90s and early 2000s [laughs]. I love Kendrick Lamar. I’m playing my “I Love ’90s Hip-Hop” playlist on Spotify. So hip-hop in the ’90s and early 2000s definitely hits my beloved niche, and it is an indifference to my days when I was going to clubs in New York.
Is there anything – a good night’s sleep, music, a workout – that you really need to include in your routine? If you don’t have it, does it make a big difference in terms of your mental headaches?
I don’t think about the negative effects of not listening to music, but when I’m going to do something I definitely have a positive effect on listening. It gives me that extra little shock I need during the day, and then it takes my mind to a good place. I don’t know if I necessarily notice when it’s not there, or it has a really strong negative effect when it doesn’t, but I definitely feel positive so it’s worth doing.
You have said that sleep is a big topic of conversation in your home. It seems that a lot of people are struggling with sleep issues during the epidemic.
Well, Chrissy is having a much harder time sleeping than I am. Like you, do we need more melatonin? Do you need it, do you need it? Everyone is different when it comes to what works for them and whether their sleep makes them more durable and more peaceful and all those things. And so it helped me to talk to a doctor about it, just so we can hear how music can play a role in it.
You have also shared that you meditate. What does that look like for you? Do you go to another room?
Yes, we have a little gym at home, so I brainstorm for a few minutes and then I workout. So it’s kind of like trying to get a moment in that room and getting my body ready for the day.
Do you have any other self-care rituals that you practice to brighten your day or create a more positive experience?
I feel like starting the day diligently and doing workouts, which are very helpful for me. There are also some things that I like to make more productive in my job, which is, you know, writing music, making music. There are certain places that work better for me. Like, I don’t like working from home when it comes to writing. I like to live in a place where I feel like I’m at work. Some people write right at home, but I do not enjoy writing at home. I like to go to a place to do that work, and then come home and just be at home.
With all your awards, and your fame, you have reached a very high level of success, but you have a reputation for being sensible and trustworthy. How do you stay grounded?
I do not know. Like, I feel like I’m very grounded and I’m really grateful that I’m in so many ways because I feel like it helps me handle that crazy life situation with some peace and some grace and some calm What can happen If I were not this way it could be huge. And I think part of it was I was succeeding relatively later than many people. Many people in my business become famous when they are still late teens or may be, like, 20, 21 years old and you still haven’t really experienced much life. And this happened to me when I was 26 years old, which is not very old, but it is quite where I went to college, I worked in the corporate world, I have experienced different aspects of life and take care of myself And be independent for a long time and built my personality and I had a good foundation before I became famous. And so I think that through this way it helped me to be just an adult, not a lot of pain in my head. I was able to become an adult and live a little bit of my life before it was all an adult hit.
Your social media often shows you playing piano around your children. Are you going through any lessons about the power of music and how it might make them feel?
There is a lot of music in our house, and our children are very intentional about listening to music day by day. They know what they want to hear. They have requests; They like to hear it in the car. They want to take a turn where, like, like Luna, “Well Miles had to choose a song, now I want to choose a song.” And so he has clear preferences and tastes, and he likes music. I am sure that they are not aware of what it means or what it means to choose this or that song, but they know at that level, that this is what they want to hear. I think this is the beginning of developing his musical sensibility and his taste.
I would love for them to try to learn a tool at some point. I do not know what it will be. I’m not going to hit them too hard, but I would like for them to grow up with the ability to play an instrument and love music as much as I do. But if they don’t, that’s fine too. There are many other interesting things for him. But it would be my priority if they love music and try to play an instrument, even if they don’t do it professionally.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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