October is Happiness Month in the Columbia River Gorge.

Happiness is an interesting concept, a little different for each of us.  Research has shown that happy people are grateful.  Happy people derive some of their infectious happiness by doing nice things for others – random acts of kindness.  Finally, happy people are good to themselves.

During the month of October, we are tasked each day with identifying three things we are grateful for. Write them down and say them aloud.  There are big gratitudes: I am grateful for the unique opportunity to care for my father in his last years.  Small gratitudes — like fresh-made marmalade and exquisite yellow roses blooming — are also important.  By the end of October, I will have written down 93 gratitudes! Just reading over my list so far makes me smile: Pat-the-cat; high mountain oolong; autumn leaves; turkeys strutting; my RBG face mask; Margaret’s Hope muscatel; Einstein socks; fainting goats; puppy kisses; dark chocolate; puns; Eddie Van Halen; you get the picture.  Amazing that identifying what we are grateful for makes us happy.  Try it!

You might have noticed that I mention a tea or two.  And there are so many! Today, doke black fusion fuels my gratitude.  Tomorrow, sparrow tongue.  Which teas are you grateful for?

Happiness Month - A photo of a yellow rose
Happiness Month - A photo of a bag with snacks, teabags, and a five-dollar bill.

Random Acts of Kindness are another way to fuel happiness.  Planned acts of kindness work, too.  Stepping in to help that mom find the last few dollars needed to pay for her groceries; giving a clean mask to a man who left his in the car; letting a desperate driver have the better parking spot.  Kindness doesn’t have to be big.  In a small ziplock bag, I place three tea bags, a protein bar, an apple, and a five dollar bill.  I hand these little goodie bags out to the panhandlers who are experiencing a patch of bad luck.  The sense of satisfaction I get from these small acts is far greater for me than the person assisted.

Finally, happy people are kind to themselves. Raised by a mother who always put herself last, being good to myself is the most difficult aspect of happiness month.  Engaging in a few moments of tech-free silence each day seems like a luxury. Brewing and pouring myself a cup of tea several times each day is one way I take care of myself.  Getting outdoors to walk; taking time to read for pleasure; listening to opera turned up loud; taking a hot bath; giving myself permission to nap – all little acts that result in major satisfaction.

Tea drinkers, what fuels your happiness?

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