What makes Americans’ days better? Finding money in your pocket, sleeping in without setting an alarm, and lying in bed listening to the rain are the nation’s top three “mood boosters,” according to new research.
Petting a dog, performing small gestures of kindness and enjoying a freshly baked treat like blueberry pie also rank high on the list.
These mood boosters emerged from a study by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council exploring the tiny things in life that improve people’s moods – and what exactly constitutes a “perfect day.” The new survey of 2,000 Americans is part of the aptly named Positively Bluetiful campaign.
From walking into an air-conditioned room on a hot day to holding hands with someone you love, the list reveals that the smallest things can have the biggest impact on our moods.
In fact, almost half of Americans (46 percent) perk up simply from realizing that it’s a beautiful, sunny day.
Music makes for a mellow mood, too – 37 percent agree that listening to your favorite album is enough to improve your day. Specifically, The Beatles were voted the top “mood-boosting” band or artist (32 percent), with The Eagles and Michael Jackson rounding out the top three.
Mood boosters can instantly turn your bad day into a good one. According to the study, the average American has 204 good days each year and 15 self-described “perfect days.”
So, what’s the recipe for a perfect day? The study found that for the average respondent, the perfect day starts with getting out of bed at 8:15 a.m. and ends with crawling into bed at 10:50 p.m.
The perfect day also features clear skies with a temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as actually being outside for about three hours.
People also factor significantly in a perfect day, which includes four hours with family and three hours of socializing with friends. To unwind, the day incorporates three hours relaxing in front of the TV, too.
“Who doesn’t love sleeping in, sunny skies and spending time with loved ones,” concurred Vicki De Bruin for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. “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 top three feel-good food and drinks include sweet and savory treats: ice cream, bacon, and coffee.
However, reaching for a healthier snack you enjoy can offer double the benefits. According to the survey, 89 percent of Americans believe eating healthy and exercising impacts their mood.
Over half of Americans (52 percent) say that eating healthy and more cleanly make them feel happier, while another 45 percent point to regular exercise as a factor that leads to their happiness.
Summer is a great time to enjoy fresh, healthy produce – and in July, fruit lovers can take the opportunity to enjoy National Blueberry Month. Eaten on their own or in your favorite dishes, blueberries bring the healthful goodness.
TOP 40 MOOD BOOSTERS
• 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%
TOP 10 MOOD BOOSTING MUSICAL ACTS
• The Beatles 32%
• The Eagles 26%
• Michael Jackson 25%
• Queen 23%
• Fleetwood Mac 23%
• Bruno Mars 22%
• Elton John 20%
• Elvis Presley 20%
• Adele 20%
• Whitney Houston 19%
THE PERFECT DAY, ACCORDING TO RESPONDENTS
• Wake up at 8:15 a.m.
• The weather is clear skies with a temperature of 74 degrees
• Two friends seen
• Three hours spent socializing
• Two hours spent eating
• One hour exercising
• Two hours spent reading
• Three hours spent watching TV
• Four hours spent with family
• Three hours spent outside
• Four hours of relaxation
• Three hours listening to music
• In bed at 10:50 p.m.