The power of social connections and health

The power of social connections and health

By Published On: May 6th, 2022

During the pandemic, our family moved from our home of 20 years and bought my childhood home that my grandfather built. 

It was hectic, but it was worth it!  

And as part of the process, we have purged a lot of things.

The one thing I will never part with is our family photos. We have A LOT of them that we recently decided to digitize.

But, there is something super special about printed photos of old friends. Coming across some from university and realizing that many of the people we connected with then are still friends now.  

How lucky are we?

I value those photos because the relationships built over the years have carried me through the highs and lows of life. 

Coincidentally, being a health coach includes recognizing that one of the most important things we can do for our health is maintain and nurture our relationships. 

Social connections, like those built through play, are powerful predictors of health, happiness and longevity.

An article I read this week, called “The Seven Habits That Lead To Happiness In Old Age,” confirms that one of the essential habits is cultivating long-term relationships.  

“According to the Harvard study, the single most important trait of happy-well elders is healthy relationships.” *


Social connections are essential to health because they beat the loneliness and isolation that many people in the world have endured, especially over the past two years. 

It affects all aspects of something I work on in my coaching practice with my clients, known as “deep health” (physical, emotional, mental, environmental, existential and relational).  

Honestly, it’s about thriving in all the dimensions of your life, not just physical wellbeing. 

“What we do in life isn’t so important. It’s the way we choose to live and connect with those around us that matter most.”** 

Play and social connections are essential for our quality of life and longevity.

“In small doses, loneliness is like hunger or thirst, a healthy signal that you are missing something and seeking out what you need. But prolonged over time, loneliness can be damaging not just to mental health, but also to physical health.”***

I get it if you have been negligent about re-connecting because of the pandemic.  

But I also know that getting outside and playing is one of the best ways to improve your health and connect with your friends, family, and neighbours.  

While I’ve been on a mission to re-ignite people’s passion for play, my good friend from university, Pete Bombaci, is doing the same for human connection through The GenWell Project. You can read more about it here

You can connect over the phone or, better yet, face-to-face. It can be as simple as reaching out to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while and saying let’s chat today and catch up. Or it can be a walking date!

It will make you feel better because it will give you the energy, happiness and soulful connection you didn’t know you were missing. Imagine if you did that once a week? You’d re-connect with 52 people in a year. Woah!  

You can start THIS weekend!  

The GenWell Weekend is a fabulous excuse to connect with family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and classmates. You also become part of a research project that helps validate the positive impact of human connection on ourselves and others.  Click HERE for more details.  

Together, we can make the world a healthier and happier place.

Play on!

Your friend and coach,

Jan xox  


P.S. ​​If you found this article helpful, please share it and join my community for more news from the playground.



** The Headspace app


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About the Author: Janet Omstead

To re-ignite people’s passion for play (movement) to fight chronic disease while improving their quality of life as they age.

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