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Who is in Your Herd?


Since the COVID-19 pandemic, people are recovering from long-term isolation and, in fact, anxiety upon the reduction of restrictions following post-vaccination. Over the year, I remember hearing the mistake of calling the 6 feet apart guideline social distancingwhen the 6 feet apart aligned with the title, physical distancing.The last thing all of us needed in a global crisis was to be socially distant; what we all needed more than anything was to come together with those that support us.

I have often heard patients say, Where am I supposed to connect with people? Everything is closed?

I typically recommend attending social support groups of some form to all my patients. Even before the pandemic, this was a typical response: Well, I dont know anyone who is like me or interested in the things I am. Im better off alone.  My family does their best anyway.

These responses are not adaptable and flexible when facing adversity. Although our family is significant, not everyone has a supportive family. We are also social creatures, and we need herds to belong to like elephants do in their matriarch for most of their life. We all require a connection that allows for shared values, support, and accountability.

According to an article published by the American Psychological Association, loneliness and lack of social support not only can affect our mental health, but they are linked to high blood pressure, reduced immunity functioning, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive decline. These findings further emphasize how crucial social support is. 

We live in an age of technology that allows us to connect in ways our ancestors never did. Even before the pandemic, support groups and networks via social media have been an outlet for numerous populations addressing chronic illness, cancer support, hiking, LGBTQ+, poetry writing, advocacy, music, substance abuse, book clubs, and plenty more. Pick a group that interests you. The first step is clicking on a page and sending a request to join. From there, your world only gets bigger, and your sense of belonging grows.

 You might even attend in-person Meet-Up groups to expand your social network. We recommend everyone belong to a social support network.  You might seek support for substance use recovery, trauma, behavioral conditions, family issues, coping with a health condition, or a loved ones suffering. Attending support groups can help you reach your fullest potential and provide necessary resources. Twelve-step programs are a familiar resource for social support. Plus, additional programs such as SMART Recovery and Refuge Recovery for substance use disorders.  For more mental health support groups, search on the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

 It is important to remember that it is not essential to have a massive support group or network but a STRONG social support group or network. Choose wisely and give yourself time. You deserve to feel respected, valued, and a part of when you find your herd.


Here at Hills Neuroscience Integrative Psychology, we offer group therapy services that can effectively reduce symptoms and build your ability to connect, socialize, and create meaningful relationships.


Stay connected,


Hills Neuroscience Team


1= Masi, C.M., Chen, H., Hawkley, L.C., and Cacioppo, J.T. (2011). A meta-analysis of interventions to reduce loneliness. Personality and Social Psychology Review 15(3), 219-266.

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