My Highlights of Notes from a Nervous Planet

Hello everyone! If you’re a regular here on the blog or happen to follow me on any social media you’ll quickly realise that I’m not a huge non-fiction person. What can I say, I have my own preferences and I rarely trudge into the waters of non-fiction but you know the one author I always make an exception for is Matt Haig.

He’s one of my absolute favourite authors and while he writes in both fiction and self-help genres, I surprisingly love his self-help books more. Almost all of his works center around or have themes of mental health and anxiety. It’s actually a difficult topic to write about and and even trickier topic to write self-help books about but Haig manages to hit the mark every time.

My first book of his was Notes On A Nervous Planet and it truly tugged at my heartstrings. It’s part autobiographical but mostly advice and jottings regarding the world and anxiety. This book came to me when I needed it the most and I constantly go back to flip through its pages. I’ve highlighted so many lines and passages, I swear I’ve never highlighted this much in all the other books I’ve read combined.

I think a lot of people could benefit from reading it, especially these days when our stress levels are already off the charts. I would honestly recommend that you grab a copy but in case that’s not possible, I’m here to share some of my top highlights from the book 🙂

My Highlights of Notes from a Nervous Planet

“The thing with mental turmoil is that so many things that make you feel better in the short term make you feel worse in the long term. You distract yourself, when what you really need is to know yourself.”

This is such a good quote! It’s also something you might actually know but unless you’re paying attention to your actions and behaviors you may never realise the many ways in which you distract yourself.

“But everything was difficult. Even choosing what to wear in the morning could make me cry. It didn’t matter that I had felt like the before. A sore throat doesn’t become less sore simply because you’ve felt it before.”

Such a wonderful way to explain mental health issues. Just because you’ve gone through something before doesn’t mean it hurts less every time.

“The knowledge of so much suffering in the world didn’t help put my pain in perspective. It just made me feel powerless. And pathetic that my invisible woes were so paralysing when there were so many visible woes in the world.”

This quote is so me. I often maintain a distance from news and politics because it can be overwhelming for me. In the past I would just run away from it but now I’ve realised the importance of staying up to date on what’s happening and educating myself while trying not to drown in it at the same time. It’s a very tricky balance to maintain.

“We need to find out what is good for us, and leave the rest. We don’t need another world. Everything we need is here, if we give up thinking we need everything.”

“Maybe happiness is not about what we deserve because we’re worth it. Maybe happiness is not about what we can get. Maybe happiness is about what we already have. Maybe happiness is about what we can give. Maybe happiness is not a butterfly we can catch with a net. Maybe there is no certain way to be happy. Maybe there are only maybes.”

To anyone who worries whether they’re happy or how they can be happy… happiness is such a complicated emotion, something we think we need to be all the time. I just love how Haig talks about it in terms of maybes. I don’t think any of us can completely understand happiness, it’s just a huge maybe.

“The problem, clearly, isn’t that we have a shortage of time. It’s more that we have an overload of everything else.”

“To enjoy life, we might have to stop thinking about what we will never be able to read and watch and say and do, and start to think of how to enjoy the world within our boundaries.”

Again, such a huge fan of this quote. Focusing on things we may never be able to do is only going to make you spiral.

“Change doesn’t just happen by focusing on the place you want to escape. It happens by focusing on where you want to reach. Boost the good guys, don’t just knock the bad guys. Find the hope that is already here and help it grow.”

“I believe it’s possible to be a happy mess. Or, at least, a less miserable mess. A mess who can cope.

This one made me laugh cause I would now like to go by the title ‘a mess who can cope’.

“The problem is not that the world is a mess, but that we expect it to be otherwise.”

“I was convinced I wasn’t made for the reality of the world. And in a way, I was right. I wasn’t made for the world. I was, like everyone, made by the world.”

This one hits me so hard. None of us were made for this. None of us were made for this ugly mess of things, we weren’t made for a pandemic. However we’re coping and surviving is good. It’s enough.

“Living with anxiety, turning up and doing stuff with anxiety takes a strength most will never know.”

“There is no better way of filtering out the people who will be no good for me than by looking and being myself.”

“We have to be careful of our wants and watch that they can’t cause too many holes inside us, otherwise happiness will drip through us like water through a leaky bucket. The moment we want is the moment we are dissatisfied. The more we want, the more we will drip ourselves away.”

“In a world that can get too much, a world where we are running out of mind space, fictional worlds are essential.”

Yes! Essential is the word.

“The more ‘success’ you get, the easier it is to be disappointed by not getting things. The only difference is that now no one feels sorry for you.”

Did you like this post? I tried something different so please let me know! If people are interested I might also post my highlights and commentary on some other books as well.

Do you read self-help books? If yes, which ones are your favourite?

How are you doing? I hope you all are coping, just know that I see you. These are hard times, hang in there and hopefully it shall pass soon ❤

7 thoughts on “My Highlights of Notes from a Nervous Planet

  1. Yess although I loved this one so much too, my favorite was actually reason to stay alive 🥰

    I’ve read a book recently, « first we must make the beast beautiful » where she quoted and built from Matt Haig’s writting a few times — made me so happy!! Also quite a nice book to understand some stuff, id recommend it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. yesssss Matt Haig is such a fantastic writer! I’m slightly more into his nonfiction than his fiction (I found The Midnight Library somewhat disappointing, truth be told) – lines like the ones you highlighted are part of the reason, they seem to work better in self-help and memoir than fiction. and you’ve picked some really resonant lines; I think this post type is neat!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhhh I did love the Midnight Library but I can see why some people may not have found it the best. Yup, a lot of people keep saying that and I guess if I wasn’t already a fan of Matt Haig I might have had that issue too…
      Thank you, Isabelle! 😘

      Liked by 1 person

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