Gorge Happiness events gear up

Happiness Month is coming to the Gorge again this October and businesses and organizations are getting involved.

Sponsored by the non-profit community health center One Community Health, Gorge Happiness Month is 31 days focused on the three daily habits scientifically proven to make people happier: gratitude, acts of kindness, and moments of silence.

The goal is to inspire as many people as possible to make happy a habit.

The initiative is based on a number of studies that show that happier people are healthier, including lower rates of cardiovascular disease, longer lives, faster healing after injuries and better immunity.

Happier people are also shown to be more productive at work.

Partnering companies who join in any of these ways will be featured in the posters that go out through the Gorge in September, as well as on the website and social media promotions. See details at www.GorgeHappiness.org.

Learn more at the Gorge Happiness Booth at Farmers Markets in Hood River on Sept. 30 and in Goldendale and The Dalles on Oct. 7.

Happiness Workshops are held each Wednesday in October, 6 p.m. at the Hood River Library and 5-6 p.m. in The Dalles, at 200 Union.

Happiness Month events include:

Sept. 30 —Latino Exhibit, Open House, noon to 4 p.m., History Museum of Hood River County.

Oct. 1 — The Dalles, Wellness Walk, pick up trash/ build community, 1 p.m., Waterfront Park.

Oct. 3 — Happiness Group, Walk in the Park, 5 p.m., 200 Union St., The Dalles Library.

Oct. 3 — Movies for adults, 6:30 pm, The Dalles Library.

Oct. 4 — Free health checks for seniors, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Rite Aid Pharmacy, Hood River.

Oct. 4 — Money Smart Class, 10 a.m., 683 Rock Creek Road, Stevenson.

Oct. 5 — Keep Moving Wellness Yoga, 7 a.m., Hood River waterfront near Stoked.

Over 120 different companies and organizations participated last year in seven different towns throughout the Columbia River Gorge region.

Companies and organizations are invited to become a partner in a number of ways.

The easiest is by simply agreeing to promote Happiness Month to their staff during October.

Wasco County, Mosier City Council, The Next Door Inc. and others participated this way last year by signing up employees for daily inspirational emails and by taking a few minutes at the start of meetings to have people list their gratitudes.

The other ways for businesses to become a partner include spreading the word to customers through social media, newsletters and in-store signage, randomly giving away small items to customers through the month, or by offering a free class or event during October that is open to the public.

Organizers are interested in any ideas to help make the month happier.

Last October, Bridgeside Restaurant in Cascade Locks gave out free hugs on Fridays, The Cabin in Stevenson featured free hand massages, Hood River Hobbies hosted a family games night, and Urban Paper ran a happiness journal making workshop in The Dalles.

In an activity this year, businesses can also “Sponsor a Cynic” by nominating someone who is willing to take up the three habits for the month and then offering something to keep them inspired, such as a free coffee each week, a dinner at the end of the month or a donation to a charity.

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