Matt Haig’s latest book begins with him pacing the room, arguing with a stranger on Twitter. It’s the first step on a journey that leads him to question our entire relationship with a rapidly-changing world. Part-personal reflection, part 21st century-self-help guide, Notes on a Nervous Planet is a much-needed examination of what the world we live in could be doing to our mental health.
Matt Haig, author of the bestselling memoir Reasons to Stay Alive, hadn’t intended to write another book about mental health. After describing what he learnt from the depression and anxiety that almost led him to take his own life, he returned to writing fiction, thinking he had no more to say about the workings of the mind.
But then he began to notice how the modern world encroaches on our mental state. He realised the impact that social media, in particular, was having on his wellbeing. Gradually he identified more and more 21st century distractions that could actually be driving us to distraction – and Notes on a Nervous Planet is the result.
In it, Matt examines everything from social media to body image to 24/7 news to sleep to our changing relationship with time. He asks whether we’re really equipped to cope with the current pace of change, and offers a wealth of advice that’s helped him to feel happier and less distracted in an overwhelming world.
Much of his advice could be seen as common sense – but it’s common sense that’s all too easy to forget, which is what makes Notes on a Nervous Planet so valuable. It’s a book to come back to, to underline and make notes in: a book that could make you think differently about the way you live your life.
Sabrina, Mind Membership Team