Why are you happy?

One Community Health embarks on a campaign to let your community know

Happiness is good for your health. A review of hundreds of studies has found compelling evidence that happier people have better overall health and live longer than their less happy peers.

But the recipe and ingredients for this are variable things.

Habits, genetics and environmental factors account for most of this, but the rest is in our control, note the folks at One Community Health. The community health provider based in Hood River and The Dalles is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a month of activities based on the science of happiness, designed to make our community healthier.

They call it Gorge Happiness Month, October 2016.

Whether it’s to help your community, to help yourself, or just for curiosity’s sake, the OCH happiness campaign is a good thing to get into.

Individuals simply take the Happiness Index Survey at the start of the month, do things in October that make them happy, then take the survey again at the end of the month.

During the first week of October, OCH will host events in The Dalles, Hood River, Stevenson, and Goldendale to sign people up, hand out calendars, eat ice cream and do the Meet a Future Friend project. Watch Hood River News for times and dates.

To participate, simply offer something at the event that helps make people happy: a hair salon can give short head massages, non-profits can give a list of easy ways to volunteer, a real estate company can give tips for making your home happier.

OCH has provided a variety of ideas for how individuals, organizations and businesses can participate in Gorge Happiness Month.

Meet once a week with people who are participating. Groups are given a simple structure to follow. For example: people set goals, report how they are doing and then do one new exercise together. You will be sent a weekly guide.

The more people to sign up, the merrier — literally. Use staff email, social media or other outlets to spread the word and increase interest. Sign up to the OCH Facebook page and re-post happiness month posts, or simply add a sign or poster to your office or store.

Offer something that helps make people happy and OCH can add it to the calendar. For example: a cooking class with fresh foods, a workshop by a life coach, a social event to meet new people, a free yoga or workout class, a workshop on decluttering, etc. — anything that makes people happy.

To sign up or participate, go to www.GorgeHappiness.org. Sign up to host an event or kick-off by Sept 15 to add your logo to the poster. Call Emily Reed at 503-360-3532.

Hood River News happily adds a slight incentive. Come November, send us a description, up to 500 words, of what you did during Happiness Month, to hrnews@hoodrivernews.com. Go ahead and attach a photo to tell your story. Deadline is Nov. 15.

The first three submissions received will have their choice of gift certificates redeemable for bowling, a local brew pub, or fresh produce — three things that definitely make us happy.

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