TODAY’s Carson Daly is grateful for the gift of turning 50.
“I feel better now than I did in my 20s,” Carson tells TODAY.com. “There’s so much self-acceptance that comes with age.”
Carson points to improvements in his mental health. When the California native began his broadcasting career at 23, he was struggling with undiagnosed generalized anxiety disorder.
“I suffered for so long without knowing what it was,” Carson says. “I was scared a lot. I always felt panicky. You know that feeling of losing your phone or your wallet? That's how I felt all the time.”
“I couldn't relax,” he adds. “I couldn’t enjoy life.”
Carson has since learned to manage his anxiety with cognitive behavioral therapy (or “CBT” as it’s commonly referred to). A core principal of CBT is that cognitive distortions are based, in part, by exaggerated or negative thought patterns, according to the American Psychological Association.
“I now have the tools to work through my anxiety,” Carson says. “I’ve never felt this strong mentally, and that’s one of the reasons I feel so good about going into my 50s.”
Carson says he recently devoted a room in his house to mental health. It comes complete with a Peloton bike and a cold plunge pool, which some people say reduces mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
“My family calls it the ‘Daly Health and Wellness Center,’ he says. “It’s a place where I can go and meditate and read. I get in 40 degree water every day for three minutes.”
Carson, who shares kids Jackson, 14, Etta, 10, London, 8, and Goldie 3, with his wife, Siri Daly, used to wish he could “slow the hands of time.”
“Of course, we can’t do that, so I’m living in the moment and taking advantage of each day,” he reveals, noting that he’s also “hyper-aware” of his mortality due to experiencing "a lot of loss."
Carson’s biological dad, Jim "J.D." Daly, passed away when Carson was 5. In 2017, weeks after the sudden death of his beloved mother, Pattie Daly Caruso, Carson lost his stepfather, Richard Caruso, who he called “Pops.”
Carson wears a necklace that says “memento mori,” which is Latin for “remember that you will die.”
“It’s a daily reminder that today is so important," he explains. “Some people might think, ‘Wow, that’s so morbid.’ But it’s not like I’m pondering being on my deathbed. I’m just extremely cognizant of the importance of now. I wake up and I thank God that I have another day. I go to work and I try to be the best employee I can be, and the best father and husband I can be."
“I don’t let the sun set on anger,” he continues. “I resolve things.”
Carson says he's looking forward to a low-key birthday celebration on June 22, though he's not sure what Siri has up her sleeve!
"If it were up to me, I'd be in flip flops, cargo shorts and a black T-shirt, barbecuing some steak and listening to Morgan Wallen!" he tells TODAY.com.