The Well-Being Buddy Blog

#WellBeingWednesday The Pawsitive Power of Social Connections

The majority of us are aware of the challenges faced by veterinary professionals that negatively impact their total well-being, so it’s important to highlight ways that individuals can be equipped with effective coping skills to support themselves through everything else that is outside of their control within the veterinary industry. If you’re more of a visual person like me, then here is a helpful graphic you can reference – please note, by no means is this an exhaustive list! But at least you get the gist 😉

An often overlooked part of our well-being routine that not only impacts our mental and emotional well-being, but can also significantly impact our physical well-being is one of the pillars of lifestyle medicine: positive social connections. In fact, loneliness and social isolation are risk factors to our physical health and have been cited to potentially be as harmful to our health as smoking and obesity due to the adverse impacts on our cardiovascular health!

So what does this mean for you? It means one powerful way we can boost our overall well-being is through cultivating those meaningful connections with others! In fact, research suggests that the single most important predictor of human happiness and long life is having strong social connections (American College of Lifestyle Medicine-ACLM, Lifestyle Social Connections Handout).

Here are some quick stats that help demonstrate the importance of creating positive social connections for your overall health and well-being!

Mental and Emotional Health:

  • According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, individuals with strong social connections are 50% less likely to experience depression compared to those with weak social ties.
  • The American Psychological Association reports that social support is associated with lower levels of anxiety and stress, improved self-esteem, and better overall psychological well-being.

Physical Health:

  • A meta-analysis published in PLOS Medicine found that individuals with strong social relationships have a 50% increased likelihood of survival compared to those with weak social connections.
  • The Mayo Clinic highlights that positive social interactions can lead to reduced risk of chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular issues.

Work Performance and Satisfaction:

  • Harvard Business Review reports that employees with strong social connections at work are more engaged, motivated, and satisfied with their jobs, leading to higher productivity and lower turnover rates.
  • A Gallup study found that employees who have a best friend at work are 7 times more likely to be engaged in their jobs and are more likely to stay with their organization.

Longevity and Aging:

  • Research from Brigham Young University suggests that loneliness and social isolation are as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, contributing to increased mortality rates and a shorter lifespan.
  • The National Institute on Aging states that maintaining social connections in older adults is associated with better cognitive function, reduced risk of depression, and improved overall quality of life.

Okay – now that we understand the importance of developing these meaningful connections, the next question is usually…HOW can we do this?! Especially as an adult, it can be challenging to cultivate new friendships and relationships (even more-so if you are an introverted homebody like me!) – so where can we get started?! 🤷🏻‍♀️ Here are 3 quick tips for ways you can work to form new connections and enhance already existing connections you may have…

Tips for Forming New Social Connections:

  • Join Community Groups or Clubs: Engage in activities or hobbies that interest you by joining local community groups, clubs, or organizations! This provides opportunities to meet like-minded individuals and form new social connections based on shared interests – and you may even get to learn a new skill!
  • Attend Networking Events: Attend networking events related to your profession or industry to expand your professional network and meet new people! Networking events offer a platform to connect with individuals who may share common career goals or experiences.
  • Volunteer for Causes You Care About: Volunteer for charitable organizations or community initiatives that align with your values and passions! Volunteering not only contributes to a meaningful cause but also allows you to meet others who are passionate about similar social causes, fostering new social connections with people who likely have similar values as you!

Tips for Enhancing Current Social Connections and Relationships:

  • Regular Communication: Make an effort to maintain regular communication with your friends, family, and coworkers! Schedule phone calls, video chats, or in-person meetups to stay connected and nurture your relationships through engaging activities and/or meaningful conversations!
  • Build Others Up: Make a conscious effort to build others up by sharing compliments, acknowledging their strengths, and expressing appreciation for their contributions! When you notice something positive about someone you know, take the time to genuinely compliment them or highlight their strengths. This not only boosts their confidence and morale but also strengthens your bond with them (ahem – sounds like it would be especially beneficial if you find yourself in a leadership position)!
  • Plan Meaningful Activities Together: Plan meaningful activities or outings with your social connections, such as group dinners, game nights, or outdoor adventures! Creating shared experiences strengthens bonds and creates lasting memories – so check out some upcoming events in your area and get the group together!

I’m also going to take this opportunity for a shameless plug about my brand new membership, the Well-Being Buddies! 🐾 I wanted to create a space where veterinary professionals could learn skills to cope with the challenges of the job, to discover their strengths and leverage them in all aspects of their lives, and to connect with other people in vet med who have a desire to fall in love with the profession again 🩵 And that is exactly why I decided to create the Well-Being Buddies membership! 

It’s another heartfelt extension of Buddy’s legacy into the world, where veterinary professionals who want to be part of a movement of pawsitive change within the culture of vet med can connect and strive towards health and happiness, together! 🥹


  • Monthly open coaching calls with Melyssa to ask questions about the membership content and participate in on-the-spot coaching
  • Monthly resource content drops like workbooks, challenges, video trainings, and more!
  • Access to archived and brand new programs coming to the Veterinary Well-Being Buddy platform hosted on the Healthie app
  • A private community on Slack to find inspiration, ask for suggestions and solutions, and connect with other veterinary professionals across the world!

All of this for less than $1/day! If you’re interested in learning more or getting started, head to today!

Okay Buddies, that’s it for now! Until next time – take care, stay healthy, and be well 🩵

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