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Jill | PsyD in Clinical Psychology | CBT enthusiast | Runner | Strategies for Healthy Thinking Supported by Science | https://ConqueringCognitions.com

A quiet, engaging human who strives to say more with less.

Visiting my friend at the zoo — photo of author taken by author’s husband

Hi, I’m Jill — a clinical psychologist and famous giraffe whisperer (OK, only one of those is true).

Like most folks on this platform, I like to write! For years, most of my writing was in the form of long journal posts or letters to friends. Someone once told me they saved my Christmas cards to read in the bathroom — I’m not sure if that is a compliment or not, but it certainly speaks to the length of my letters.

In July 2020, I took the plunge and made my writing public by starting a behavioral health blog.

At…


We are the narrators of our own story — but it helps to have a good editor

A pen on a manuscript being edited.
Image by Lorenzo Cafaro from Pixabay

About six months ago, my son asked for help with a school project and I responded, “I’ll try, but I’m not very creative.” He was silent for a moment and then said, “But you write a lot of stories.” I responded quickly, “Well, yes, but not creative stories, more like articles.”

My son’s next question created the initial crack in a long-time narrative. He asked, “Do all psychologists write articles?”

As I thought about his question, I was keenly aware of the inconsistency between my beliefs and my actions. In truth, I don’t just write articles. I write about personal…


Actionable steps to help you live a life that you won’t regret

Image by Faby Green from Pixabay

I once turned down a job opportunity in my career field without carefully thinking it through. Realizing my error a few weeks later, I reached out to the hiring authority, but the position was already filled. Although that was years ago, I still wonder how my career might have been different if I had taken that job. I regret my decision.

As a therapist, I hear a lot of regrets. Individuals who were unfaithful to their partners, parents struggling with child rearing mistakes, and people who used poor judgment with alcohol and drugs. …


How to banish the weight of the pandemic

Image by kalhh from Pixabay

If you have experienced some undesired weight gain in the last year, you are not alone.

A year of disrupted routines has been hard on everyone. According to a recent survey, 42% of adults in the United States reported weight gain in the last year. The average amount gained was 29 pounds (the median amount was 15 pounds).

The combination of decreased activity and increased snacking tipped the scale in the wrong direction for many of us.

Small Changes, Big Results

When I started working from home last year, my daily step count was notably reduced. …


Finding connection in a lonely world.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Since the beginning, humans have needed others — regardless of gender, ethnicity, or geographic location, we are social creatures. Quality relationships make us happier, healthier, and more productive. Social support buffers stress and fulfills an important psychological need to belong and feel accepted by others.

In an ideal, harmonious world, we would all enjoy plenty of health-protecting relationships, but that is not the reality for many. A startling number of people struggle with loneliness. …


Wait…what do you mean that is the wrong direction?

Image by Luidmila Kot from Pixabay

While researching an article, I stumbled upon the Dreyfus Model of Adult Skill Acquisition. In the decade of leg warmers and mullets, the Dreyfus brothers postulated that new learners develop skills in five distinct stages: novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert.

I once was new to parenting. Now, I’m an old parent. Does that mean I have earned my expert parenting badge?

Does having five children make me an expert?

With five children, one might presume that I would move up a step with each child thus attaining the coveted expert level by that lucky last child. …


3 Strategies for developing habits that help you feel younger.

Image by Lorri Lang from Pixabay

Yesterday, I was jumping on the backyard trampoline with my son, and I dropped exhausted on the mat proclaiming, “I’m too old for this.” My son reassured me that I was not too old as he continued to bounce all around my heavily breathing body.

In truth, I’m really not too old to jump on a trampoline. I shouldn’t be on a bouncy mat with a much larger, energetic 15 year-old who likes to see how high he can make me fly. But, I’m not too old for a trampoline!

So, I kicked him off and kept jumping.

Age Is Just a Number

A study


A mindfulness based intervention that beautifully combines awareness and appreciation.

Image by EliElschi from Pixabay

Mindful photography is a self care tool that is a dynamic blend of awareness, appreciation, and creativity.

Armed with a camera, you can explore your world through a different lens, freezing time by capturing a snapshot of your life.

In the last year, I have personally and professionally used mindful photography with great results. Mindfulness based interventions (MBI) are empirically validated techniques that promote health and enhance our mood. There are a number of ways to practice mindfulness, photography being one of them.

I started using mindful photography in my clinical practice during the early months of the COVID pandemic…


Math is one solution to sleep problems.

Image by Gerd Altmann and 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

If you asked me two years ago to name things I did well, sleep would definitely have been on that list. I was one of those annoying people who would fall asleep within seconds, sleeping peacefully until the alarm sounded.

I woke feeling refreshed and energized, jumping out of bed to go for my morning run. My sleep-wake cycle was a well oiled machine, only occasionally disrupted by parenting duties and the crazy cat.

About two years ago, something changed — I blame hormones. As I moved into my late 40’s, extreme heat surges in my body started waking me…


Research shows that at least one of these can help you get a second date.

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

While waiting for an oil change, I overheard a conversation between two young adults. A nervous looking guy was chatting with a pretty young woman sitting next to him, and the conversation was not flowing easily. He was talking way too much and not keeping her interest.

As I watched this awkward encounter, I realized that small talk and casual conversation doesn’t come easy to everyone.

As a therapist, I talk to a lot of people, so I have plenty of practice with starting conversations. …

Conquering Cognitions

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