NEW YORK — What makes a day “perfect?” Of course, the answer can be quite different from person to person, but a recent survey sought to find out common characteristics of an ideal day for the average person. As the results showed, we typically enjoy just 15 truly perfect days each year, and it’s often the most trivial activities that make us feel the best.
The survey of 2,000 American adults, commissioned by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC), found the average person would be happiest waking up at 8:15 in the morning. A perfect day would entail a sunny, spring-like forecast with temperatures reaching 74 degrees, and respondents being able to enjoy three hours outside. They see themselves spending four hours with their family and three hours with friends, then coming home and hopping on the couch — where they’d use another three hours watching television.
When all is said and done, the perfect day would end with an individual hopping into bed at 10:50 p.m.
“Who doesn’t love sleeping in, sunny skies and spending time with loved ones,” says Vicki De Bruin, a spokesperson for the USHBC, in a statement. “These simple pleasures put the biggest smiles on our faces – and it’s even better when we know these seemingly indulgent treats are actually really good for us.”
The survey also polled respondents on various “mood boosters” that bring enough uplift to brighten cloudier days.
The top three mood boosters? According to the survey, most participants agreed that finding money in their pocket (58%), sleeping in without waking up to an alarm (55%), and lying in bed listening to the rain (51%) were sure-fire ways to improve their days. Not far behind was being on the receiving end of a small act of kindness (49%), petting a dog (48%), and performing a small act of kindness for someone else (47%).
Music and weather had large effects on mood, too. Almost half of the respondents (46%) said they immediately perk up when they hear sunny weather is in the forecast. Another 37% said listening to their favorite album boosted their mood. The Beatles were voted the most “mood-boosting” band by participants, with The Eagles and Michael Jackson rounding out the top three.
All in all, when asked to quantify the number of “good” days and “perfect” days, the average participant calculated that they have 204 good days and 15 perfect days per year. It may sound like a low number, but perhaps setting the bar high for an ideal day makes it more rewarding when it happens.
Here’s a look at the top 40 “mood boosters,” according to the survey:
Finding money in your pocket you didn’t know you had 58%
Being able to sleep in with no alarm set 55%
Lying in bed listening to rain fall outside 51%
A small gesture of kindness from somebody in your life 49%
Petting a dog 48%
Performing a small gesture of kindness for somebody in your life 47%
Realizing it’s a beautiful, sunny day 46%
Long, hot shower 44%
A meaningful, long hug from somebody you love 42%
Seeing a friend you haven’t seen in a long time 42%
The first sip of coffee of the day 41%
Plopping down on your bed after a long, tiring day 40%
Walking into an air-conditioned building on a hot day 40%
Baked treats (i.e. fresh blueberry pie) 40%
Listening to your favorite album 37%
Watching the sunset or sunrise 37%
Holding hands with someone you love 36%
Getting new clothes 35%
Cuddling your partner before getting up to start your day 34%
Cuddling with your pet after a long day 33%
Waking up to birds chirping 33%
Petting a cat 33%
Cooking your favorite meal 31%
Happening across a smell you enjoy, from cookies to the smell of rain 31%
Exchanging a genuine smile with a stranger 31%
Sunlight on your skin 31%
Getting a new haircut 30%
Finding a good new book to read 29%
Having a pleasant conversation with a total stranger 28%
Meeting a new person you genuinely like 28%
Eating a healthy food that makes you feel good about yourself 28%
Long soak in the tub 27%
Going to the movies 27%
Receiving a bouquet of flowers from someone you care about 25%
Going for a walk alone 25%
A lazy drive to nowhere in particular 25%
Having a nice, long stretch after sitting for awhile 24%
Ordering delivery 24%
Nice glass of beer or wine after a long day 24%
Realizing you’re going to have a good hair day 23%