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

The treatment is an infusion of joy.

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I caught it — the post pandemic malaise that is floating around everywhere. I tried to run from it (literally), but it still caught up to me. It’s in the air and has been difficult to shake.

My motivation is low, sleep is restless, and I’m more forgetful and distracted these days. The world is starting to open back up, and I’m not sure I have the energy to engage.

To help shake off the year-long heaviness, I need more than the usual self care. I need an infusion of motivation and enthusiasm. Show me the joy!

Music Is Invigorating

It is well…


May the odds be ever in my favor.

Image by kalhh from Pixabay

I’m not your typical blogger. I’m 49 years old with limited computer skills and almost no social media presence. Prior to starting my blog, I didn’t know anyone who had their own website, so it was completely uncharted territory.

According to Marko Saric, co-founder of Plausible Analytics, there are over 500 million bloggers with more than 2 million blog posts published every day. These are staggering statistics that are frankly depressing to a relatively new blogger.

When I first considered starting a blog, I thought of countless reasons why it was a horrible idea. …


Complaining is a barrier to happiness.

Image by Libel SanRo from Pixabay

This morning, as my husband walked into the kitchen for coffee, I launched in about how the trash wasn’t picked up yesterday as scheduled.

He stood there patiently while I complained about the unpredictable waste management schedule — oh, the injustice of it all!

Suddenly, I caught myself. My poor husband was just starting his day and his first encounter was listening to me complain. That wasn’t fair to him, and it certainly is not how I want to spend our time together.

In truth, who cares when the trash is picked-up? …


#2: Career progression

Image by Lothar Dieterich from Pixabay

I became a runner by chance, but remain a runner by choice.

I started running my sophomore year in high school. Having recently transferred to a new school, a friend suggested I sign up for the cross country team to meet people. It seemed like a good idea even though I had no experience running. I remember thinking, “How hard can it be?”

On the first day of our pre-season camp I learned my first lesson — never underestimate running.

I couldn’t run a mile without feeling winded and immediately regretted my decision to try and meet people this way…


There is power in reinforcement.

Image by Robert Balog from Pixabay

Behavior change is a key variable in improving mood, and as a psychologist, I have extensive training in this area.

I first learned how to alter behavior in one of my favorite undergraduate courses, Behavior Modification. I loved learning about ways to influence behavior, and I was particularly fascinated by operant conditioning. The use of reinforcement or punishment to increase or decrease behavior is a simple, yet powerful concept.

The highlight of this class was practicing operant conditioning with Roberta, my lab rat.

When I first heard I would be assigned a rat, I pictured a mouse. A cute, furry…


Strategies for managing fear and worry in uncertain times.

Image by Alexandra ❤️A life without animals is not worth living❤️ from Pixabay

I live in the beautiful state of Colorado. It’s been a heartbreaking week here among the pines and snow-capped peaks. Ten lives lost in an unfathomable act of senseless violence.

This week’s tragedy hits particularly close to home for me. I shop at King Soopers. I have a son who attends college very close to where the shooting occurred in broad daylight. My two grown daughters live in the suburbs of Denver, not far from Boulder.

The mass shooting has left me feeling vulnerable and a little shaken. This is not how I chose to live my life. I will…


#2: Gratitude is not the same as positivity.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

This morning, I woke up to six inches of snow. It’s spring break and I was looking forward to going on a hike. Instead, I’m shoveling snow. The day is cold, grey, and gloomy which mirrors my mood.

I was disappointed about the cancelled hike, and sat with those emotions for a bit. Then, I took some time to consider the day. The snow was beautiful, and my dog was going to have great fun playing in the drifts. She loves snow! It wasn’t the day I expected, but it was the day I was given.

Gratitude doesn’t change the…


Cognitive behavioral strategies for healthier thinking.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Thoughts have power. Our internal dialogue about our strengths, and weaknesses, directly impacts how we feel and how we choose to live our life. There are times that we get stuck in negative thinking which can lead to poor decisions and emotional pain.

The good news is that our self talk can be altered to provide opportunities instead of hurdles. This is the foundation of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

I was first introduced to CBT in 1996 while attending a workshop with Dr. Christine Padesky, co- author of Mind over Mood. I was captivated. The idea that thoughts have the…


If you want to think smarter, read deeper.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

I love libraries. Spending time in a quiet space browsing stacks of books brings me great joy. I check out a lot of books with the intent to read all of them, but I have noticed in recent years that I struggle to find the time and energy. Reading has become less of a priority.

A few months ago, I decided to make a change in my habits. My plan was to read more books, and watch less TV. Unfortunately, despite my best intentions, I found it difficult to really focus on a book. …


A four-step psychological strategy for navigating the warranty department.

Image by Asoy ID from Pixabay

I pride myself on having a kitchen. Not just any kitchen, but one with a built-in microwave! I recently installed this shiny, new appliance that was guaranteed to make perfect bacon. Sadly, the microwave I was promised turned out to be just a well-lit bread box with a timer. It had no spark to it.

Like most psychologists, I focused on gratitude. I tried being thankful for the microwave I had been given. It doesn’t require any cleaning. It occupies space that would otherwise be cluttered by useful items. And it lowers both my bacon consumption and serum triglycerides, because…

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