Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig
Publication date: 05 July 2018
Genre: Nonfiction mental health
Page count: 320 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
A few years ago I stumbled upon a little book called Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. I cannot tell you what a game changing book this was for me. Here was this person who could talk about depression and anxiety with honesty, humour, and hope. It was the first time I really acknowledged my own mental health worries and it felt a little less alone. I figured this marvelous book was just a one-off, so you can imagine my delight when I found out he was writing a follow up, Notes on a Nervous Planet.
The world is messing with our minds.
Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index.
– How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad?
– How do we stay human in a technological world?
– How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious?
After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him.
Notes on a Nervous Planet is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the 21st century.
Where Reasons to Stay Alive is a very personal book, I felt that Notes on a Nervous Planet was a little less so. You still get the injections of Haig’s personal life, but Notes is much more of an examination of our relationship with social media, why we become obsessed with our phones and the news cycle, and how we can take back control. True to his prior nonfiction writing, this book is filled with insight, earnestness, and humour. The short chapters and list format in the book really make the pages fly by and his warm, open writing style makes it feel like a conversation with a friend. This is one of the reasons I love his nonfiction so much — these books truly make you feel like you’re not alone in your weird headspace, and that is so important to anyone who is suffering from mental health issues.
I am a person that loves social media, but has a pretty healthy relationship with it. I don’t get into fights, or get whipped up into a frenzy over other people’s posts, or even get envious of the lives other people present on screen. However, I still got a lot out of this book. I have gained insight into my own habits and am much more conscious of my phone time. Notes made me think about my relationship with my phone, which is attached to me at all times, and how I approach the internet as a blogger and vlogger. I even experimented with this while on holiday — I limited my phone time and didn’t fret over the spotty Wi-Fi, didn’t respond to comments immediately, and didn’t post much while I was away. And you know what? The anxiousness and panic I’ve been feeling lately receded and I was able to enjoy the beautiful place I was staying.
I really feel like this book will be helpful for a lot of people, regardless of how much time one scrolling aimlessly through their phone or their relationship with social media. There’s nothing wrong with disconnecting a little. If you’ve ever felt envious of Instagram posts, or spiraled downward because of the news cycle, or have ever felt like social media is stressing you out, I highly encourage you to pick up Notes on a Nervous Planet. Hell, I encourage you to pick this book up even if you have a good relationship with social media — you never know what you’ll learn.
Just like in Reasons to Stay Alive, Haig brings a level of humanity that makes this Notes on a Nervous Planet an open and frank conversation, not a self-help book. Although it didn’t have the same emotional impact as his previous book, I really enjoyed reading Notes on a Nervous Planet and it certainly gave me a lot to think about. I can easily see myself referring back to it again and again.
Want to give Notes on a Nervous Planet a try? You can find it at the following sites (affiliate links):
Have you read Notes on a Nervous Planet? How about Reasons to Stay Alive? What did you think? Let me know!