GORGE HAPPINESS MONTH: Here’s help in forming healthy, happy habits

Submitted photo

Submitted photo

Come on, get happy.

Yes, it can take time.


Gratitudes: Find time each day to list three things for which you are thankful. This can be written on paper or just in your thoughts. These may be as simple as a yummy lunch, an extra-soft pillow or the sunshine today. Or it can be grander. You decide. It’s the act of gratitude that counts.

Acts of Kindness: This can be as easy as smiling at a cashier, saying thank you to a co-worker, or complimenting a stranger. Once during the month, look for a way to volunteer or help the community.

Moments of Silence: Sit silently for just five minutes per day. This means turning off the TV, computer, radio, and cell phone. As you sit, observe the thoughts in your head, the sounds you hear around you or other sensations that come and go. Keep your eyes closed if you want or just look at one thing about three feet in front of you. Don’t beat yourself up if you mind wanders — just notice it and come back to observing and listening.

October’s Happiness Month in the Gorge might help.

The One Community Health program returns for a third year next month, with a variety of events, opportunities to engage with yourself and others, and actively discover or enhance your pathways to happiness.

“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,” notes the Happiness Month website. “Fifty percent of our happiness is genetic, 10 percent is environmental, but the rest is in our control. Why? Because 40 percent of our happiness can be helped though habits.”

In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation and freedom in all just pursuits.”

There are plenty of ways to get involved.

Businesses and organizations can partner for programs.

Anyone may form a group, or join one, to check in with others on how you’re doing with daily activities.

Take a happiness index survey to show how you compare to others in the world and areas you can boost; take the survey at the end of the month and see how things might have changed. Create a personal profile to see the two scores together and contribute to a Gorge-wide score.

Educators can find a variety of resources, via the website.

Take “The Daily Three” (see sidebar).

Here are a few of the activities planned:

Thursday, Oct. 4, Hood River Library, 6-8 p.m. — Blue Zone’s Purpose Workshop for Gorge Happiness Month.

People with purpose live longer, are happier and more productive. Are you making a difference where you live and work? Each person has an individual set of strengths and talents that can be used to lead a truly meaningful life. Whatever your role within your community, begin adding years to your life and life to your years. In both English and Spanish.

Tuesday, Oct. 9, 6-7:30 p.m., Hood River Library — Letting Go for Gorge Happiness Month.

“Letting go” is a rejuvenating and enriching practice to do in the everyday flow of life. If you are holding on to ruminating thoughts, grudges, hurts, limiting beliefs, or perhaps clinging to sensations of wanting or insistence that situations “must be” a certain way, this workshop by Ellen Donoghue offers teachings and mindfulness practices to help (www.ardentnature.com).


For a full schedule list of what’s happening, see www.gorgehappines....

Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, 6:30-8 p.m., Hood River Library — Happiness At Work Panel for Gorge Happiness Month.

Want to be happier at work? Happier people are more productive. Which is why companies like Google, Amazon and Zappos have started investing in different ways to help make their employees happier. Join us for a panel of Gorge companies who will share what has worked (or not) for them both personally and as an organization. We will also hear insights from Blue Zones’ Brett Ratchford.

Also look for “A Conversation on Happiness,” family game night at Hood River Hobbies, a workshop on “Change Your Thoughts, Create Your Life,” kids’ activities at Mercado del Valle in Odell, and “What’s your Love Language?” workshop.

Events culminate with “Happiness Project Book Club” on Thursday, Oct. 25 at the Hood River Library from 6-7:30 p.m. Read “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin (or just the October chapter) and then join the discussion.

Copies are available at the library.

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