A new plan for anxious feelings: escape the custard! | Neil Hughes | TEDxLeamingtonSpa

  • Published on Mar 29, 2016
  • Comedian, author, and physicist Neil Hughes lived with anxiety for years before he had a strange realisation: anxiety is just like custard! This surprising pudding-based insight led to a new approach to his mental health.
    In this talk, he uses physics, humour, and poorly-drawn doodles to share this new way of thinking about mind management, including practical suggestions for improving mental habits.
    He also explains the hidden links between fluid dynamics, custard, and emotions, and how these links might help to build a more peaceful life. This amusing and enlightening talk will help you identify the ‘custard traps' in your mind and start plotting your escape.
    Neil Hughes is a comedian, anxiety sufferer and the author of ‘Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life’, a unique combination of autobiographical confessions, humorous fantasy fiction, and a ‘how-to’ for living less anxiously and more happily. As well as speaking about mental health, he is currently working on developing a comedy show, writing his first novel and perfecting the art of the pasta bake.
    You can find Neil Hughes at www.walkingoncustard.com and on Twitter at twitter.com/enhughesiasm.
    This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at ted.com/tedx

Comments • 133

  • Heidilambach
    Heidilambach 9 days ago

    Wonderful! Thank you so much

  • Prashant Sahu
    Prashant Sahu Month ago +1

    Every point was relatable

  • Vennu Soto
    Vennu Soto Month ago +1

    Def gonna listen to this again. Great explanation about anxiety..

  • mark shields
    mark shields 2 months ago

    got so bad I was taken into custardy

  • chiz 1611
    chiz 1611 3 months ago +1

    Brilliant talk.

  • Claire Horn
    Claire Horn 4 months ago +1

    Within the first 2 minutes you perfectly captured and articulated my 12 year old son’s life with anxiety! Thank you for such a great video.

  • Dom  Mccaffry
    Dom Mccaffry 4 months ago

    Cannot get rid of anxiety

  • Maike Doc
    Maike Doc 4 months ago +1

    Thank you so much for this wonderful talk. You're helping a lot of people here. Much love and appreciation. xx

  • Lee Readman
    Lee Readman 5 months ago +2

    AT LAST SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS WHATS GOING ON IN MY HEAD. next problem now l have to work out how to fix it

  • Jamie Lee Olivero
    Jamie Lee Olivero 5 months ago +2

    I relate to this so much, I have been suffering with Generalised Anxiety Disorder for almost 2 years now. I talk about very similar topics on my channel too, feel free to come over and show a little support, thank you for listening.

  • Dea Vult
    Dea Vult 5 months ago

    Anyone else has spent *many* years in a custard trap?

  • Paramdeep Batra
    Paramdeep Batra 5 months ago

    Too fast. I did not understand completely, but seems interesting.

  • Mohamed Khelfane
    Mohamed Khelfane 5 months ago +1

    i need that solid ground

  • TheSerbianChick
    TheSerbianChick 5 months ago +5

    sitting at work watching this and crying. I wish I had someone to talk to about my anxiety. My family doesn't get it...they usually tell me to get over it. And I try! but fail miserably.

  • London59
    London59 5 months ago +2

    Well done. It's refreshing to hear someone speak honestly and naturally. Healthcare professionals have tools, but the average person has the experience. I think we all want to relate and not feel like we're the only ones with a problem.

  • Pretty Prudent
    Pretty Prudent 6 months ago

    He held his problems in because he KNEW that humans are generally untrustworthy. They will often use what they know about you against you when the opportunity arises. They will look down on you rather than sympothize for you. You cannot trust Anyone with your problems, unless you're speaking to a therapist ....and even then...

  • ipii
    ipii 6 months ago +2

    This video made me happy, its so good! It's a relief to know we are not alone with our own problems. Life is all about learning..

  • Angie42 Bonponsiero
    Angie42 Bonponsiero 8 months ago +1

    This video has helped me a lot, thank you.

  • Debra Kelly
    Debra Kelly 9 months ago +2

    Neil, thank you for sharing this metaphor. The more people that openly share personal experiences of mental illnesses, the less stigma they will carry. This is the first time that I've heard someone explain what I have been feeling my entire life so perfectly. I'm beginning to understand that people are patterns. One of my patterns (or cycles) is: Anxiety - Illness -Depression. It's exhausting. The exciting thing is that I can see that pattern. Now the challenge is to break it...

  • LiftOrGTFO
    LiftOrGTFO 9 months ago +2

    I've watched a lot of these Anxiety videos on TedTalks and this is easily one my favourites. Great work Neil.

  • Pan Vegan
    Pan Vegan 9 months ago

    poor bulls how do you think the bull feels

  • Jonathan Byrd
    Jonathan Byrd 10 months ago +2

    are you telling me i can dodge anxiety?
    im telling you, when the time comes, you wont have to

  • Beyond Beauty69
    Beyond Beauty69 11 months ago +1

    Feel the fear, and do it anyway! Great book helped me immensely.
    What you resist will persist.
    Good Talk. Blessings.

  • NYJanus
    NYJanus 11 months ago +1

    This was such a helpful video and funny. Favorited so I can keep coming back to it.

  • Vicky Ellis
    Vicky Ellis Year ago +2

    Great video, I’m currently in CBT

  • John V Denley
    John V Denley Year ago +1

    Absolutely brilliant 😁💖💖💖

  • Benita Steffan
    Benita Steffan Year ago +1

    Boy does this make so much scenes. Well done.👍❤️🙏

  • UpinTheClouds
    UpinTheClouds Year ago

    I don't think I've ever commented anything so personal but I really want to understand..
    I love my friends. I would love to continue to connect with them. But these friends are overseas, my closest ones. That's okay there's apps at least. But there's a huge time difference. That can be a hassle but okay we can adjust. But life. But theres so many days that I feel like I'm only just keeping up with the people physically around me. I feel so guilty for not connecting with my overseas friends more. There's this one friend that's extremely near to my heart that I haven't connected with for a almost a whole year. And there's so many group chats to keep up with. And apps..so many apps. I don't to even have that many but it already feels a lot at times. Leave them? Delete them? No, Id lose contact faster and I wouldn't get to experience conversations with all my high school friends together again.
    But honestly? There are days where I dodge my phone all together. I feel guilty all the time when I remember and then when I finally send those messages and get the responses and reply and get other responses there are honestly days where I do everything in my power to not check these messages because then I will have to deal with it all. I don't know why I'm like this. It makes me feel even more guilty. I have probably made a whole bunch of people I love feel at the very least frustrated if not hurt at some point. My friends from overseas, the closer ones are very understanding and I feel even more ashamed and like I don't deserve to know such people. And maybe I don't. I always prefer calling. I love listening to my friends. I don't know why messages and message numbers and groups overwhelm me so much.
    Does anyone else have these experiences? What even is going on with me to exhibit these behaviours?
    I look up to those who can keep up with everyone at the same time, consistently and answer almost immediately each time..

  • kara winston
    kara winston Year ago +1

    I have severe anxiety & relate to everything u say & ive been extremely depressed for so long. You made me laugh so hard during this 😂
    - thank u

  • Andrew Novitsky
    Andrew Novitsky Year ago +13

    don`t worry about, its just Steve

  • Alyssa Washington
    Alyssa Washington Year ago +3

    I've been having paralyzingly debilitating anxiety for a decade now, and it's gotten so much worse since my friend was murdered a month ago. I'm in the loop from the first thing I wake up in the morning to when I reluctantly fall asleep at night. I'm constantly afraid that I'm not taking deep enough breaths or breathing enough in general. So I end up overdoing it and feeling like gonna pass out which only makes it worse. It makes me feel a bit better to hear these confirmations that I'm not alone in this terrifying experience.

  • ciaran delaney
    ciaran delaney Year ago

    I hate when people use the word stress for anxiety. No it is not.

  • Justin Molanick
    Justin Molanick Year ago +1

    I like you alot dude you were so yourself n open and funny!

  • M W
    M W Year ago +2

    hi neil. just finished your book and gotta say it was great. i could really relate to it and its answered many of my questions. really big help towards relieving my anxiety. (the jokes did get a tad annoying though, have to agree with your inner critic lol!)

  • S C
    S C Year ago +2

    Humour is my Passion 😇
    Thank you🙏🏼 for you way of feeling...
    Delicious 🤤 ❤️ 😋

  • Olli Vanajas
    Olli Vanajas Year ago +4

    A wonderful talk on a truly life-draining and tragic problem. Thank you Neil.

  • Latoya Spence
    Latoya Spence Year ago +1

    I absolutely loved this: the jokes, imagery, and the way anxiety was described. Great job

  • Felipe Coelho
    Felipe Coelho Year ago +1

    If it weren't for this talk, I would've been all the way in the custard. Thanks for giving me insight. Thanks for giving me the tools to fix myself.

  • Mikaela Bassick
    Mikaela Bassick Year ago +16

    From now on, when I’m having a bit of a rough day with anxiety I’m going to stop calling it anxiety attacks I’m going to say “I’m stuck in custard”

    • London59
      London59 5 months ago

      Me too! It somehow helps to give it a name and add a little comedy.

  • Dillon Fleming
    Dillon Fleming Year ago +1

    Thank you Neil.

  • Paula M. Schrebler
    Paula M. Schrebler Year ago +1

    This talk was great! I could listen to him for hours! Funny and great examples to explain a very difficult subject.

  • Daddy Devito
    Daddy Devito Year ago +1

    thank you

  • Falcon Britt
    Falcon Britt Year ago +2

    Jarrad Hewett has an amazing sound healing (free on RU-clip) that can clear out fear energies. Energy healing can clear out these patterns surprisingly fast, so I thought I would mention it here. Jarrad does really good work.

  • Satwinder Sandhu
    Satwinder Sandhu Year ago +1

    Finally got to watch it Neil! Great talk and concept for a really important topic.

  • wim lammens
    wim lammens Year ago +4

    I have coped with this problem to and still do from time to time. Fear is the main driver, fear of being alone and dying lonely and not being loved by anybody or appreciated by anyone. I have been reaching breakthroughs lately and come to one conclusion.
    We are not grounded and nobody(parents, teachers, physicians) seems to realize this is causing the anxiety, fear causing people to even do suicide. Our mind is ALWAYS on the run. Mindfullness is not the way, but is better than nothing, yoga, meditation, sports can help you improve the anxiety, but the underlying problem is never adressed. All these coping strategies can give some relief, but the grounding in this culture is totally neglected as our survival strategies are linked to using our brain to sustain ourselves in a material and economic way. almost immediately we force our children to prove their brain capacity or their body capacity(sports). We don't realize that this way will never give us any peace of life(not mind) peace of mind = stop worrying, but this is not good enough to give you a peacefull feeling which will last your entire life. The challenges in this highly competitive world where we even have to deserve the love of those who should be supposed to love us unconditionally(our parents) has to be gained as we feel their pressure to do our very best mentally and physically (school and sports) we feel unaccepted just being ourselves and realize that true unconditionnel love will not be in the cards and we will have to work hard mentally and physically to look the most beautifull and bright and physical as we can be

  • Sarah Rogoz
    Sarah Rogoz Year ago +1

    funny and helpfull. what a good talk

  • vsleboss cacakaka

    Before buying on gearbest, know that it's thieves.
    They do not repay,
    on google search for "Thieves Gearbest".

  • luca marco
    luca marco Year ago +4

    Remember: first of all you must find natural solutions (herbs, psychologists, good breathing, exercise). But if you don't find a solution, RUN to a VERY GOOD Psychiatrist. It's not a shame! It's a great SOLUTION. Now there are some psychiatrists that are VERY VERY GOOD (search Dr. Daniel Amen for example).

  • Moiz
    Moiz Year ago +1

    From the thumbnail I legit thought it was Scarce.

  • balasubramaniam coimbatorebalu

    good and beautiful thanks my dear soul friend

  • STE7EN 77
    STE7EN 77 Year ago

    1 a thought appears.
    2 followed by a feeling.
    3 followed by a response.
    Step three is where you are.

    • Deborah Deborah
      Deborah Deborah Year ago

      I say, try to cut it off before it becomes a feeling. Feelings are what have the negative effects on the body by the release of cortisol Etc. Have to cut it off before that happens.
      1. Thought
      2. Observe the thought
      3. Still working out what to do here. Do I label the thought as good or bad and send bad ones on their merry way by taking a sip of water or taking a deep breath before they have the chance to turn into an emotion? Or be non judging and just accept it as a thought and choose not to react to it.

    • STE7EN 77
      STE7EN 77 Year ago

      Wow! It works! It's like a little magic trick!

  • STE7EN 77
    STE7EN 77 Year ago +1

    swimming is also a metaphor for something you must keep doing. Fighting off alien attack kittens is a metaphor for something you must keep doing. What makes the custard metaphor really good is that there's that little custard flavor in the back of your mind every time you think about the custard.

    • STE7EN 77
      STE7EN 77 Year ago

      I just realized I've been fighting alien attack kittens with lazer beams my entire life.

  • Hampdood
    Hampdood Year ago

    awesome! Gd Bless!

  • Natalia’s Portraits
    Natalia’s Portraits 2 years ago +3


  • MsBeatriceB
    MsBeatriceB 2 years ago +1

    This really resonated with me right now - thank you so much for this.

  • Sean
    Sean 2 years ago +1

    Great analogy with custard.

  • Emilie Rosanvallon
    Emilie Rosanvallon 2 years ago +1


  • P. T
    P. T 2 years ago +4

    I'm a hypochondriac and I fear death & I hate living this way. It's very exhausting & im only 20 yo. This helped!

    • Aiya Knight
      Aiya Knight 10 days ago

      Research near death experiences.

    • Tactics-MNK
      Tactics-MNK 5 months ago

      P. T
      Skydive, bungeejump, stand on the edge of a cliff. “Don’t fear dying, fear not living.” It is normal for humans to fear it though, but we will all die someday.

  • Lola Prus
    Lola Prus 2 years ago +84

    Do you guys feel really weird at a moment (for me it last no longer than one minute) when the fear is gone? I don't know how to explain it, but sometimes I feel like I was worrying so much, that when the anxiety is gone, I'm feeling uncomfortable and I feel the need to find something to worry about...

    • madi sun
      madi sun 5 months ago

      shadowsage1 yes

    • Tactics-MNK
      Tactics-MNK 5 months ago +1

      What I learned in clinical anxiety therapy is this. Map your triggers, expose yourself to them and try to not resist your feelings. The one sentence to say to yourself was: I rather not feel this, but it’s part of it. That way you voluntarily (which makes a massive difference) experience these feeling and don’t resist them and your mood naturally returns to balance. This is very hard at first but becomes easier. If you have generalized anxiety, I feel it’s best to start with breathing and relaxation exercises. Then also replacing negative thinking patterns (map them) with positive ones or try a one sentence to make a negative thought less powerfull, something like: yeah, so what? I’m saying all this but I haven’t managed myself to get out of the loop. It does work though. Repetition is key. Retrain yourself. Good luck;)

    • shadowsage1
      shadowsage1 7 months ago +1

      so you have anxiety about not having anxiety?

    • rachel woo
      rachel woo 9 months ago +1

      Yaaaaaaaa right I too feel the same and I am so happy to know the fact that I am not alone...I don't even have any friend becoz I feel nobody likes me and I don't even go out of my home becoz I fear meeting people...I feel a strange stomach cracking feeling whenever I have to go out somewhere

  • Brigham Yen
    Brigham Yen 2 years ago +3

    insightful! I really liked the part where he said that when you're triggered by something that makes you anxious, that's the time where you do something different like drink a glass of water, meditate, etc to get your brain to associate that trigger with something more positive!

  • Ann Mulgrew
    Ann Mulgrew 2 years ago +2

    love this talk.. such a great take on it..and I love the bit about it being difficult and it gets worse before better as so many people stop when things feel worse.. I did.. and I'm glad I realised that it's normal for it to be difficult..but the pay offs are getting to actually feel alive xc

  • korisx
    korisx 2 years ago +4

    Thank you for your TED type talk. It was most inspiring and I feel better about myself now. I suffer from the custard march too, I was about to go back into the denial cycle as well. I have a choice in how I react, thank you for reminding me.

  • RocciaScoccia
    RocciaScoccia 2 years ago +3

    Amazing. This needs to be seen by way more people

  • Philip Peak
    Philip Peak 2 years ago +25

    Funny and excellent. My anxiety is mostly based in physical sensations, too.

    • Heidilambach
      Heidilambach 9 days ago

      I agree, beautifully delivered. I wish you the best in your way to solid ground :) I also have physically sensations as the "base" for the feeling of anxiety. But I am sure we can make it all the way to the green grass ;)

      WHY SO SERIOUS 8 months ago

      Yeah same.
      Most of the time I don't even feel anxious but I feel heart racing and mind fog...

  • Nathan Furtado
    Nathan Furtado 2 years ago +1

    Amazing talk Thanks!

  • Jack Jones
    Jack Jones 2 years ago +3

    Great talk. Good pointers on changing thought reactions

  • Vanessa Vargas
    Vanessa Vargas 2 years ago +2

    I loved it.

  • Hannah Gray
    Hannah Gray 2 years ago +1

    Fantastic talk, really helpful.

  • nadav harari
    nadav harari 2 years ago +4

    well spoken! is it me or this guy is Samwell Tarly doppelganger twin

  • Sherrilyn Billger
    Sherrilyn Billger 2 years ago +3

    Thanks for this Neil! I can absolutely relate. And I love that you mentioned neuroplasticity--it's a concept that is just fascinating to me. We CAN rewire our brains?!?!?!? Mind blown.

  • James Murray
    James Murray 2 years ago +6

    Incredibly clever guy I can tell. This really helps me, thank you.

  • Chris Synnott
    Chris Synnott 2 years ago +88

    I don't normally comment on RU-clip, but this video was just too good! Thanks for making me laugh and putting a difficult topic into a situation which everyone can understand and connect with. I am also impressed that he stayed calm and cool under pressure with his slideshow errors. Bravo!

    • DottyGale8
      DottyGale8 2 years ago +6

      Chris Synnott I agree with you on everything you said - including how calm he was with the errors.

  • CutiePieZapZap
    CutiePieZapZap 2 years ago +3

    Thank you!

  • Taryn Nieves
    Taryn Nieves 2 years ago +63

    Thank you for making me laugh, oh how I've missed laughing

  • Federica L
    Federica L 2 years ago +3

    That was really brilliant. Especially about when negative thoughts come into your head over nothing. I do it constantly.. so now I'm going to try your advice about paying attention to the thought and breaking the habit.

  • Ricardo Genovesio
    Ricardo Genovesio 2 years ago +5

    could you add spanish subs? i would really apreciate it!

  • Simonida Lazic
    Simonida Lazic 2 years ago +9

    thank you ❤

    • cipy McDonalds
      cipy McDonalds Year ago

      Simonida Lazic what song is good for me to dedicate to my gf

  • Mr.Francis 47
    Mr.Francis 47 2 years ago


  • Mr.Francis 47
    Mr.Francis 47 2 years ago

    wow , i´m still have no clue , thanks man

  • Luis Alonso CN
    Luis Alonso CN 2 years ago +1

    Thank you for share your experience :)

  • Anne Molinas
    Anne Molinas 2 years ago +2

    Yes, very good, good description, good ways to proceed!

  • Ellie - Panda & the little bears

    he is such a cute human!

  • luckysuz R
    luckysuz R 3 years ago +18

    I feel as if I've been in a custard mine-field for the last year or so. Now I feel I have tools to deal with my intense anxiety and stop living in fear every day. I honestly felt my shoulders come down from my ears and my body relax somewhat just listening to your talk. I look forward to checking out your website. I can't thank you enough!

  • Sam Sam
    Sam Sam 3 years ago +3

    Wish I was Rich.
    I could have been a motivational speaker if it wasn't for my Anxiety and Depersonalisation disorders. Spend my days with regrets..
    What a Life I lead

  • ImpowerYou
    ImpowerYou 3 years ago +10

    Thank you. I really needed this today. :)

  • Kashkash
    Kashkash 3 years ago +12

    yes it's mindfulness meditation

  • DappsJames
    DappsJames 3 years ago +19

    fantastic talk! Very insightful and really opened my eyes. Thank you!

  • Yasmin A
    Yasmin A 3 years ago +7

    Thank you so much. I will use your tip.

  • Joseph Fernando
    Joseph Fernando 3 years ago +9

    greatest talk I have seen on TED so far...and I have seen almost a 100.....3 cheers from India

  • whitecookie
    whitecookie 3 years ago +4

    Well done, Devious Custard ;)

  • Liv Boeree
    Liv Boeree 3 years ago +5

    So good! Thanks for sharing this wisdom

  • Kelsye Nelson
    Kelsye Nelson 3 years ago +21

    This resonated. Thanks for sharing Neil!

  • Ania Szyszka
    Ania Szyszka 3 years ago +1

    Great talk, love it : ) !

  • Darla W
    Darla W 3 years ago +3

    This was very helpful as well as humorous. Thank you!!

  • Maia Jintcharadze
    Maia Jintcharadze 3 years ago

    გრაციას, ამიგო

  • Shell S
    Shell S 3 years ago +2

    Many good points to remember. Thank you😊

  • theresa mathai
    theresa mathai 3 years ago +1

    enjoyed the talk-- thank you

  • Kirsty Lovell
    Kirsty Lovell 3 years ago +1

    Great talk. Well done Neil!

  • Lewis McGhee
    Lewis McGhee 3 years ago +2

    Amazing Neil!! I loved it. Very well done!

  • Kendra Jory
    Kendra Jory 3 years ago +3

    I love this!!! You are speaking for me :D We are the Custard Club!