Where to begin with your reading list? If it’s anxiety that’s troubling you, where better to start than with a user’s manual? Enter Neil Hughes’s Walking on Custard & The Meaning of Life – A Guide for Anxious Humans.
Don’t understand the title? Neither did I, but it turns out walking on custard isn’t a totally made up thing. Check this out:
Cool, right? Hughes explains that ‘walking on custard’ is a metaphor for how exhausting trying to cope with anxiety can be. If we don’t continuously keep moving we will sink, or so we think – but he promises there is a way to find solid non-custardy ground.
The author doesn’t pretend to be a specialist in mental health, but refreshingly writes about his own experiences and what he learned throughout his struggles, meaning there’s nothing patronising about what is essentially a self-help book. It’s comforting to know that you don’t have to be a professor with a PhD or a multimillionaire mogul to be able to overcome your inner battles.
Moreover, the book is littered with whimsical anecdotes and light-hearted asides so you’re never overwhelmed as a reader. I’ve read a fair few self-help books in my time, but this was virtually the only one that spoke to me on a human level and acknowledged the author’s own flaws. In fact, it left me wondering why there isn’t a self-help/comedy section in WH Smith.
On a personal level, I felt the pragmatic approach to the subject of anxiety-relieving techniques really helped me. While Hughes describes meditation practices, mindfulness, breathing exercises – all the kind of things I have previously scoffed at – while admitting he too was once cynical about their worth. It was reassuring to know the author felt the same way once upon a time. Having now attempted all the exercises in the book, I can honestly say I wouldn’t scoff again.
Walking on Custard & The Meaning of Life – A Guide for Anxious Humans by Neil Hughes, £9.99, is available in print and for Kindle here.
For more information about the book and the author, you can visit the main website here.