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CentraCare Health – Monticello

  • Ask the Doctor - October 2017

Ask the Doctor
Jessica Hodson, DO
Family Medicine
CentraCare Clinic - Big Lake
Finding Happiness Through Giving Back

Question: As the colder months approach, I feel a little down. What is something I can do to feel happier?

Answer: We often think of volunteering as positive for the people or organizations we give our time or service to, but giving back is proven to provide us with an overall sense of happiness as well.

As a physician, I have a desire to help keep people in the best health I can. Volunteering with Project H.E.A.L., which provides free medical screenings and social services consults for under served populations, helps me see patients in their environment and puts their real-life dilemmas in perspective for me. It allows me to connect to these patients in a much more relaxed setting and provide one-on-one support for health and wellness in the community. In addition, through volunteering, I have found myself feeling happier!

Here are some ways that volunteering helps to to keep you happier:

  • Enjoying a sense of purpose and fulfillment which helps to increase self-confidence.
  • Staying physically and mentally active. Nearly half of all volunteers say volunteering has improved their physical health and fitness.
  • Reducing stress levels.
  • Opening doors to new life opportunities through new social connections or work place volunteer experiences.
  • Increasing personal satisfaction in retirement. A study of older adults found participation in community service was more strongly correlated with life satisfaction for retirees than for those individuals who continued to work for pay.
  • Making new friends.
  • Increasing job opportunities for school-aged individuals. Volunteering builds social skills and develops awareness. It helps boost college applications for high school students and can increase college students’ job placement possibilities after graduation.
  • Feeling connected to community by supporting local organizations and investing in positive outcomes that support a healthy community.
  • Experiencing “The Happiness Effect.” You know that feel-good sense you get after a vigorous workout? It comes from a release of dopamine in the brain. Helping others has that exact same effect—so the more you volunteer, the happier you become!

If you are looking for a new way to feel happier, more physically active or meet new people, consider volunteering in your community. It could be the health care prescription you need!


CentraCare Health - Monticello

1013 Hart Boulevard, Suite 1
Monticello, MN 55362
Phone: 763-295-2945
Business Office: 800-835-6618
Monticello Medical Group: 763-271-2200
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