notes on a nervous planet
enthusiastic book reviews
notes on a nervous planet: 4.5/5 stars
Reading Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig made me feel seen. There’s nothing like picking up a book and finding your feelings on the page, written by someone you don’t know. It’s what makes reading wonderful. It’s proof of the human experience and that you’re not alone in living it. Notes on a Nervous Planet addresses a difficult subject, anxiety. It’s a follow up to his book Reasons to Stay Alive, which talks about depression. Matt was in his twenties when he developed panic disorder, anxiety, and depression, and writes about it now with pure honesty and empathy.
From politics to consumerism to the social internet to our phones to the supermarket and the beach, Matt writes about how the external world we live in has been designed to stress us out. And even if you don’t have Anxiety, surely you know what he’s talking about. Surely we have all felt the overwhelm we’re currently living in, right?
Breaking down anxiety into short essays, Matt manages to describe exactly what anxiety feels like and still finds the hope in it all. Maybe it’s a bit cheesy to say, but reading this book felt like a nice hug. And we could all use more of those I think.
Life can sometimes feel like an overproduced song, with a cacophony of a hundred instruments playing all at once. Sometimes the song sounds better stripped back to just a guitar and a voice. Sometimes, when a song has too much happening, it’s hard to hear the song at all.
And like that overcrowded song we, too, can feel a bit lost.
Our natural selves haven’t changed in tens of thousands of years, and we should remember that, with every new app or smartphone or social media platform or nuclear weapon we design. We should remember the song of being human. To think of the air when we feel stuck underwater. To find some calm amid an age of saturated marketing and breaking news and the million daily jolts of the internet. To be unafraid of being afraid. To be our own brilliant, true, beautiful, fragile, flawed, imperfect, animal, aging, wonderful selves, trapped in time and space, made free by our ability to stop, at any moment, and find something - a song, a sunbeam, a conversation, a piece of pretty graffiti - and feel the sheer improbable wonder of being alive.
- Matt Haig
If you’re feeling a little anxious or stressed out, pick up this book. It will change your life, or at least make you
feel a little better about the life we’re all living. Notes on a Nervous Planet is available here.