Goodreads: Notes On A Nervous Planet
Genre: Non Fiction, Self-Help, Mental Health
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.
This was my first book by Matt Haig and it certainly won’t be my last! I’m not much of a nonfiction reader but I’m so glad that I decided to read this book because Haig touches upon incredibly relevant issues that we face today living on this increasingly overloaded and sensitive nervous planet.
“I sometimes feel like my head is a computer with too many windows open. Too much clutter on the desktop. There is a metaphorical spinning rainbow wheel inside me. Disabling me. And if only I could find a way to switch off some of the frames, if only I could drag some of the clutter into the trash, then I would be fine. But which frame would I choose, when they all seem so essential? How can I stop my mind being overloaded when the world is overloaded? …We might have to, sometimes, be brave enough to switch the screens off in order to switch ourselves back on. To disconnect in order to reconnect.”
With short chapters and a straightforward way of writing that’s infused with facts, reflective experiences and humor, this book was an easy and compelling read. While I don’t think Haig tells us anything that (I’m sure) many haven’t thought of before, and while he may not give us revolutionary advice, what he does do is make us think and reflect. He makes you take a good hard look at humans and how we deal in a world that’s increasingly more connected, but where people feel infinitely more alone. Where there’s so much information coming at you at increasingly faster rates than ever before, this book makes you think about how all of it affects us both positively and negatively.
Much of what he wrote honestly did make me a little nervous/anxious to read at times but not necessarily in a bad way—he was genuinely reflective of his own experiences and I found that it mirrored mine in many ways. But I took comfort from his words because it was ultimately a hopeful message that he shared in this book.
Notes On A Nervous Planet is insanely quotable and there are so many points that Haig makes which I’ve already been able to reflect on based on experiences I’ve had over the days while reading the book. I know that the contents in this will stick with me for a long time to come because of how relevant it is, and I highly recommend everyone read it! Here are some more of my favorite quotes from the book:
“We often find ourselves wishing for more hours in the day, but that wouldn’t help anything. The problem, clearly, isn’t that we have a shortage of time. It’s more that we have an overload of everything else.”
“Living with anxiety, turning up, and doing stuff with anxiety takes a strength most people will never know.”
“I feel we need to stop seeing mental and physical health as either/or and more as a both/and situation. There is no difference. We are mental. We are physical. We are not split up into unrelated sections. We are not an existential department store. We are everything at once.”
“But, as C.S. Lewis once put it, ‘The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken”.”
Have you read Notes On A Nervous Planet? What did you think?