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Local artist Jenny Loughmiller created a traveling installation and interactive art project called the "Million Hearts Project," on the life changing power of gratitude during Gorge Happiness Month in 2019. This year, the month will be celebrated virtually.

Back for its fifth year, Gorge Happiness Month has changed like everything else due to the pandemic.

But COVID can’t stop gratitudes, acts of kindness and moments of silence, and that makes them all the more important. Gorge Happiness Month is an effort to inspire as many people as possible to take up those three daily habits, which are scientifically shown to make humans happier and healthier, according to organizer Emily Reed of Mosier.

“These habits truly work and are needed now more than ever,” she said.

A wide and growing body of research has shown that happier people are healthier, have lower stress levels and live longer lives, she said. And while genetics and environment are responsible for 60 percent of our happiness level, 40 percent is in our direct control.

Reed noted that Happiness Month gatherings will happen virtually, with no in-person meetings or hosted booths at various events.

“This means we will be relying more on our partners to help spread the word and encourage folks to actively do the habits,” Reed said. 

“We have a Facebook group where anyone can post their gratitudes, any acts of kindness they see in the area, or anything out there on the science of happiness,” Reed said. 

In addition, a new Happiness Council has been formed and anyone interested “in helping to make Happiness Month bigger or reach further. We’d love your ideas and participation,” Reed said. Contact gorgehappiness.org or check out their Facebook page for more information.

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