Susan Noonan MD

View From the Mist

What the Rare Perfect Day Means to Americans

People seemed to prioritize spending quality time with friends and family.

Posted Aug 16, 2018

 neuravnoveshenui/bigstock
Source: neuravnoveshenui/bigstock

There was a recent online article in Ladders by Monica Torres on what Americans think the perfect day looks like. She reports on a survey of 2,000 Americans done for the United States Highbush Blueberry Council and conducted by One Poll. I don’t know the assortment of people in the 2,000 respondents, who’s in that group, how to best describe them. I don’t know how this organization came behind this type of survey question; one can only speculate.

In the survey, the majority of people surveyed described their perfect day in the following way.

On average, their day would last about 12.5 hours, awaking at 8:15 am, back in bed at 10:50pm. The day would have clear skies and be 74 degrees. The majority would spend their time:

  • Eating (2 hours)
  • With family (4 hours)
  • Socializing (3 hours)
  • Seeing 2 friends
  • Relaxing (4 hours)

These results, showing how people prioritize and assign importance to personal relationships, are worthy of our attention. The message here is that those who responded to the survey highly value spending quality time with their families and friends, and in self-care activities like private relaxation, in order to feel good about their day. When you think about it, seeing friends in-person, socializing, and spending time with family is markedly different from communicating by text, virtual visits and exchanging emails with other people. You can’t relate very well or in a satisfying way when you do it electronically. Social connectedness and caring for oneself in relaxing activities are what the majority believe really matters. Things like this are what go into the perfect day they describe.

That’s important to know. Social connections are available, inexpensive, and within the realm of nearly everybody. Of interest, there is no mention in the study results of fancy or expensive pastimes, big purchases, designer jewelry, sports cars, exotic trips, winning the lottery, etc. Those things do not bring lasting happiness or factor into creating the perfect day, at least as perceived by the majority of Americans in this survey.  

In addition, the survey did not mention work, which can be a rewarding experience for many. Since work is a necessity for most of us, and we can’t avoid it, it does suggest that we strive for a healthy balance of work and family life.  

In the survey, 46 percent of those responding said that a beautiful, sunny day was enough to make them feel happier and perk up their mood. We can’t do anything about changing the weather. We can take advantage of the pleasant days, store them up as credit in our emotional bank for when the stormy days come. We can also be aware of the effect that climate might have on our mood and learn how to better manage ourselves during the dark and gloomy days.

So, in your daydreams of creating a satisfying perfect day, make sure that you include time with family and friends along with private time for yourself to relax and regroup.

Stay well!

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