Health Tip – What is the Secret to Well-Being?

Ellery Duke_headshot_300 dpi for print

Ellery Duke, Ph.D.

By Dr. Ellery Duke, licensed psychologist and executive director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

According to Sigmund Freud, to love and to work are the two keys that give life all its meaning. This idea was taken further by philosopher Kahlil Gibran who said that work in itself is love. In other words, when work is approached with love, love can be its greatest reward. But how does one find purpose in their work when they’re at odds with their work — say, underemployed, unemployed, or facing retirement?

Research shows that the secret to well-being is to find ways to help others, no matter our position. Some of us are lucky enough find our purpose in the daily work outlined in our job descriptions. Yet all of us are situated to reach out to those around us, to offer comfort, support and encouragement. This heightened sense of purpose can improve the health of others, and ourselves. It is a win-win proposition.

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center offers mental health counseling for children, adolescents, adults, couples and families through 26 licensed clinicians. For more information, please visit our website: To schedule an appointment, call 515-274-4006 or email


This article first appeared in the Urbandale Chamber Newsletter, August 1, 2016.