I don’t have the key to a shiny, happy morning. I have tried to find it – I’ve written about why you’re not getting enough sleep, (you’re probably holding the reason right now) and I have tried to find The Secret To The Perfect Morning by extensively researching (Googling) the morning routine of successful women.
If you click that link, you won’t be surprised to read that where in the morning you might wake at the last possible minute, scrape your hair into a bun for the third day in a row – you’ll definitely wash your hair tonight – then surrender your sanity to the unreliability of commuting, on the other hand, to the surprise of no one, Anna Wintour rises at 5.45am each day to play an hour of tennis, after which her hairstylist arrives to blow-dry her bob, after which her driver takes her to the office.
Despite all of this knowledge I still start my morning waking on the tenth alarm, half-blind, stumbling into things in a blur until I buy a coffee. I still believe there are two kinds of people in the world – those who sleep in until they can’t snooze the alarm any longer, and serial killers. And I’m still looking into ways to rise and actually shine. As are you, if you are reading this, and if you are reading this, it’s not too late (that was a Drake pun and if you got it, please email me, let’s get married).
According to sociologist Dr Randall Bell, who shared his secrets to happiness from the book Me We Do Be: The Four Cornerstones of Success with Femail, these are some guaranteed ways to have a happier morning without practicing substance abuse.
“When it comes to happiness, your habits matter,” Bell tells Femail. He notes studies that show that rituals influence happiness levels by up to 40%. He has a supporter of his theory in Barack Obama, who told Vanity Fair a few years ago that he only wears blue suits or grey suits. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make. You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.” Other people with less decision making rituals? Steve Jobs – always wore a black turtle neck with New Balance trainers and blue jeans. Karl Lagerfeld has been wearing a ponytail for 40 years. Anna Wintour has had the same hairstyle since she was 15 years old. Get rid of your morning routine of flicking through social media accounts until the last possible minute and then doing the bare minimum before leaving the house in a panic! Get a new ritual.
Dr Bell sounds like he has a lot of patience – but bear with me on this one. He says that “happy people cut a lot of slack with other people. They put their energy into positive things, not yelling at drivers or in inanimate objects.” That makes sense. Next time a traffic jam or a terrible driver makes only you angry when you sit on the horn, put your energy into positive things, like listening to the Spice Girls. Or instead of giving the driver your middle finger, confuse them with a thumbs up and laugh manically as you drive away.
CLEAN YOUR DESK
“Sorry to burst your bubble but getting organised at work can make you three times more likely to be happy,” says Bell. “Many studies show that an organised space allows us to focus on doing our job more effectively as clutter causes stress.” Are you a messy desk person or a tidy desk person? Mine is fabulous. Read more about my beautiful desk and Digital Director Ellie Balfe’s messy one in this piece on what your desk says about you.