Four years ago Gorge Happiness Month started as a way to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of One Community Health which has clinics in both Hood River and The Dalles and focuses on Whole Person health.
They wanted to use their anniversary in away that benefited the wider community and we landed on happiness since happier people are healthier. Live longer, lower heart disease, stronger connections to others and more.
Over the past several years the science on happiness has really exploded. One of the coolest findings is that while 60% of our happiness is locked into genetics or environment, 40% is in our control.
So the entire month is geared to inspire as many people as possible to do the three daily habits that are scientifically shown to make you happier: gratitudes, acts of kindness and moments of silence.
We made a calendar with small challenges you can do each day like compliment a stranger, listen more than you talk, pick up trash
There’s 20+ events each year from gratitude art projects, appreciation at work and crossing the political divide. These are not only to inform but to increase social interactions because even just saying hi to the post office clerk gives a big boost to happiness.
Then we signed up 170+ businesses and organizations to participate in different ways. So all the City Councils say a gratitude at some point during their meetings in October; organizations hang posters in break rooms so co-workers can write nice things to each other; and businesses give random things away to their customers or give free hugs or make happiness displays out of books or name a sandwich.
We also created an iPhone app with a calendar of the event and ways to help track the daily gratitudes, kindnesses and moments of silence.
The ideas is that it all adds up so that during October you are reminded in all the ways that it’s happiness month and that ‘oh yeah, I could be doing those daily habits.’
End of year surveys show that 95% of people who participate end the month happier than they started.