Matt Haig had already been a successful writer for some time when his debut non-fiction memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive, published in 2015 thrust him into the limelight as a man at the forefront of improving the nation’s mental health. Seemingly overnight he became a social influencer and one of the most respected writers on mental health that the UK has perhaps ever seen.
In Reasons to Stay Alive, Haig explored his own experiences of depression and provided, in perfect bite-sized chunks, some wonderfully quotable excerpts which had the potential to provide a real comfort to readers and yet were wrapped up with a raw truth which is so often missing from the so-called ‘self-help’ genre.
Haig then returned to his fiction writing (also well worth reading and profound) and fans of his Sunday Times best-selling work were made to wait three years before the much anticipated follow-up, Notes on a Nervous Planet, and it is this book which Haig is touring the country speaking about this spring.
The blurb of the book opens with a truth universally accepted by most in 2019: “The world is messing with our minds.” Haig strives to find a way we can live with less stress, less anxiety, less feelings of panic in a fast-paced, technology driven world where Instagram likes too often mean more than social interactions. Again, the book is written in those perfect bite-sized chunks with some wonderful take-away advice in note form like this ‘Note to self’:
“Keep calm. Keep going. Keep human. Keep pushing. Keep yearning. Keep perfecting. Keep looking out the window. Keep focus. Keep free. Keep ignoring the trolls. Keep ignoring pop-up ads and pop-up thoughts. Keep risking ridicule. Keep curious. Keep hold of the truth. Keep loving. Keep allowing yourself the human privilege of mistakes. Keep a space that is you and put a fence around it. Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep your phone at arm’s length. Keep your head when all about you are losing theirs. Keep breathing. Keep inhaling life itself.”
To hear more of these lessons to live by that might just help us stay sane in a world demanding so much of us from dawn to dusk then Matt Haig will be discussing his book, Notes on a Nervous Planet, at The Queen’s Hall on Sunday 28th April.