Blog posts by Shilagh Mirgain, PhD

How a sport psychologist can help youth athletes

Young athletes can be hard on themselves and each other. A missed pass, a dropped ball, a slow swim time can lead to feelings of “I’m not good enough” and that they let their coach, teammates and even parents down.

While no athlete is immune to anxiety, teens seem to be particularly vulnerable to the effects. The pressure they put on themselves can be intense, and unfortunately they’re not necessarily able to manage it. And it can ultimately affect their performance.

UW Health sport psychologist Shilagh Mirgain, PhD, explains that anxiety causes us to think less clearly, have slower reaction times, tense our muscles and even be less willing to take risks. All of which can affect an athlete’s performance during the game.

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Making the Most of the Holidays With Your Children

Making the Most of the Holidays With Your ChildrenAll families have their own unique and often personal way of celebrating the holidays. Whether it is a special meal together, exchanging gifts or a celebration of blessings, the month is filled with a festive spirit. And while there may indeed seem to be a magic to the season, the reality is for some families it can be a difficult and challenging time. Financial struggles, a significant illness, loss of a loved one, or a divorce or separation can have profound effects on a family during a time of year that’s all about celebrations.

If your holiday is going to be different this year, how can you help your children navigate the sometimes difficult feelings that may accompany the changes?

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Generosity and Kindness: The Best Lesson This School Year

Teaching Generosity and KindnessWhen we think about the many things we teach our children – reading, math, even manners – it can be easy to forget about the basics – like kindness and generosity. But those are skills we have to develop, even as adults.

Kindness and generosity are one of the best things children can do for their well-being. Research shows that when kids are kind, they feel good about themselves, have more friendships and actually get better grades. But kindness does not always come naturally to children, although there are ways to help encourage it.

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