More About Dr. Mirgain

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Dr. Shilagh MirgainDr. Shilagh Mirgain's clinical interests include individual and couples psychotherapy with patients with mood, anxiety disorders and adjustment issues.

 

Dr. Mirgain also specializes in sport psychology and peak performance training, pre-surgical psychological evaluations, and individual and group treatment of patients with a variety of health problems including pain, headaches, cardiac rehabilitation, diabetes, IBS, hypertension, TMJ and insomnia.

 

In addition to her work with UW Health Pain Management and Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, Dr. Mirgain also see patients in our Health Psychology, Sport Psychology, Integrative Health, Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Care, and Preventive Cardiology.

 

Read Articles Featuring Dr. Mirgain

 

Take the Time to Recharge for Your Health

Take the Time to Recharge for Your Health

By the time July rolls around, it can feel like summer has flown by. But there is still time to make the most of the season because, as we all know, fall will be here much too soon. Part of what makes the days seem to fly by are the endless to-d...
7/25/2019 | Take the Time to Recharge for Your Health

Building Better Relationship with Our Bodies

Building Better Relationship with Our Bodies

Worries about weight and appearance begin in childhood. Girls as young as six talk about wanting to be skinnier. Boys in middle school take supplements and even steroids to develop more muscular bodies. The pressure to look a certain way is often rei...
6/24/2019 | Building Better Relationship with Our Bodies

The Healing Power of Music

The Healing Power of Music

It’s been called many things – the universal language, a great healer, even a reflection of the Divine. While there’s little doubt about the power of music, research now shows us just how powerful it can be. “Across the h...
5/20/2019 | The Healing Power of Music

Taking a Technology Break Can Help Your Health

Taking a Technology Break Can Help Your Health

There’s little doubt the always-on nature of our world creates feelings of stress and dissatisfaction. Look around a restaurant and chances are there are people spending more time on their phones than interacting with those around them. Watch p...
4/26/2019 | Taking a Technology Break Can Help Your Health

Why Love is Good for Your Health

Why Love is Good for Your Health

We all know that heart health is important so we exercise, watch what we eat, maybe even practice mindfulness. But there’s another aspect to healthy hearts that we may not always practice, but it is just as important to our health – love....
2/22/2019 | Why Love is Good for Your Health

How to Live With Purpose

How to Live With Purpose

 When we think about living with purpose, it can create a lot of pressure – it’s one of those life questions that, like so many things on social media, can make us feel like we’re falling short if we don’t know the answer...
1/17/2019 | How to Live With Purpose

Gezelligheid and Your Health

Gezelligheid and Your Health

 Wisconsin winters can be challenging – bitterly cold temps, slippery sidewalks, days without sunshine and night that feels like it arrives too early. It’s no wonder moods tend to be low and motivation can be lacking. But the season ...
12/14/2018 | Gezelligheid and Your Health

Creating Your Winter Survival Plan

Creating Your Winter Survival Plan

Don't let your New Year's Resolution be about staying fit, eating healthy and all of those things you didn't do over the fall and winter. Start now by developing a Winter Survival Plan, so during the New Year you can focus instead on achieving y...
12/01/2018 | Creating Your Winter Survival Plan

Eating Mindfully Can Help Manage Holiday Temptations

Eating Mindfully Can Help Manage Holiday Temptations

Fall doesn’t just mark a change in temperatures. It seems like it’s the start of a season of sweets. It begins with the return of a certain sugar-laden pumpkin-flavored coffee drink and continues through buckets of candy to the seemingly ...
11/16/2018 | Eating Mindfully Can Help Manage Holiday Temptations

Resetting Your Fitness Mindset

Resetting Your Fitness Mindset

Getting picked last for kickball teams. Trudging across the finish line in the one-mile run long after your classmates. Struggling through pushups in the fitness test. If your childhood memories of gym class are associated with dread, embarrassment a...
10/11/2018 | Resetting Your Fitness Mindset

Managing a Health Crisis

Managing a Health Crisis

When you experience an unexpected change in your health – a diagnosis, an injury or even a surgery – it can feel as if your world has turned upside down. And it can affect the whole family. UW Health psychologist Shilagh Mirgain, PhD, exp...
9/11/2018 | Managing a Health Crisis

Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

Sometimes it seems like being busy is a competition with everyone bemoaning just how much they have to do each day. And while there are certainly commitments that take our time, underneath it all is the question of “Why?” Why are our days...
7/23/2018 | Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

The Health Benefit of Pets

The Health Benefit of Pets

Pet owners have known all along that animal companions are good for our health, and research backs up the claims. While dogs and cats get most of the recognition, birds, rabbits, fish, even horses and pigs can fill an important role in our lives. UW ...
6/21/2018 | The Health Benefit of Pets

The Connection Between Your Home and Your Sense of Well-Being

The Connection Between Your Home and Your Sense of Well-Being

Did you ever visit a restaurant where it seems like you could spend hours lingering over a meal, chatting with friends? Compare that to a casual fast food place. The differences in lighting, furniture and even music can encourage us to relax and stay...
5/23/2018 | The Connection Between Your Home and Your Sense of Well-Being

How to Make the Most of Your Weekend

How to Make the Most of Your Weekend

While TGIF may have been coined in the 70s, the sentiment has probably been around for much longer. The flurry of the work week comes to a close and it’s time to relax and recharge. But often, Monday arrives and rather than refreshed, we still ...
4/24/2018 | How to Make the Most of Your Weekend

Crash Landing: Coping With Post-Event Blues

Crash Landing: Coping With Post-Event Blues

Maybe it’s a marathon you trained hard for, the wedding you spent a year planning, that vacation you dreamed of, or even hitting “send” on a major work project that dominated your life for months. The long-awaited day on the calenda...
2/21/2018 | Crash Landing: Coping With Post-Event Blues

How to Stay in the Driver's Seat of Your Life

How to Stay in the Driver

Even though we’re far enough into the new year for some people’s resolutions to have already gone by the wayside, the reality is that it is never too late to commit to making positive changes.When you decide it’s time to bring about...
1/25/2018 | How to Stay in the Driver's Seat of Your Life

How to Cope When the Holidays Aren't Merry

How to Cope When the Holidays Aren

During the holidays, it can be hard to escape the signs of the season. From commercials on television to a constant stream of carols in the stores, holiday cheer is everywhere you go. But for some, it’s not the best time of the year. Loss of a ...
12/12/2017 | How to Cope When the Holidays Aren't Merry

Give the Gift of Mindfulness This Holiday

Give the Gift of Mindfulness This Holiday

It seems like magazines, blogs and even Facebook feeds are filled with articles about how to manage the stress of the holidays. And it’s no wonder. Enter a store this time of year and the joyful holiday music playing in the background ofte...
12/08/2017 | Give the Gift of Mindfulness This Holiday

Finding Hope During Tough Times

Finding Hope During Tough Times

When times are tough, it’s easy to feel like things are hopeless. Bad news and personal struggles can leave us feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and emotionally drained. But no matter what’s going on in the world around us, we can continue t...
10/03/2017 | Finding Hope During Tough Times

How a Mantra Can Help Your Health

How a Mantra Can Help Your Health

Many of us are familiar with the story of the little engine who could. And while it’s a story about perseverance, in some ways it is also a story about the power of having a personal mantra. Because, as UW Health psychologist Shilagh Mirgain, P...
10/03/2017 | How a Mantra Can Help Your Health

The Ratio for Positive Relationships

The Ratio for Positive Relationships

Think about a person in your life it feels good to spend time with – a friend, family member, partner/spouse, coworker or even a neighbor. Do you usually walk away feeling like you had more energy, even happy?Now think about a person that may l...
10/03/2017 | The Ratio for Positive Relationships

Building Better Boundaries

Building Better Boundaries

It can be uncomfortable meeting someone who has different boundaries than you. Maybe they’re a “hugger” and you’re not. Maybe they share intimate details and you’d prefer they stick to the highlights. Whatever the differ...
9/12/2017 | Building Better Boundaries

Get and Grow Your Grit - The Psychology of Mental Toughness

Get and Grow Your Grit - The Psychology of Mental Toughness

 When it comes to pursuing our goals in life, what matters most? It’s easy to assume talent, or maybe intelligence. Luck probably figures in there, too. But in reality, it’s none of those – or perhaps it’s all of those co...
6/22/2017 | Get and Grow Your Grit - The Psychology of Mental Toughness

Bouncing Back from Burnout

Bouncing Back from Burnout

It seems like everyone is always busy. Ask how someone is doing – “Busy!” is usually the reply. Try to get extended family together for a visit, and it can be nearly impossible to find a free weekend in common. With so many differen...
5/15/2017 | Bouncing Back from Burnout

How Others Influence Your Happiness

How Others Influence Your Happiness

  Is your happiness dependent on your neighbor’s? To some degree, yes.“Happiness isn’t just a personal experience, it is actually affected by the individuals around you,” explains UW Health psychologist Shilagh Mirga...
4/21/2017 | How Others Influence Your Happiness

The Surprising Benefit of Going Through Difficult Times

The Surprising Benefit of Going Through Difficult Times

As Ella Fitzgerald once sang, “into each life some rain must fall.” And while we can’t control just how much it rains, we can make a decision – let ourselves get wet, or break out the umbrella. The rain, of course, is the chal...
3/21/2017 | The Surprising Benefit of Going Through Difficult Times

Feeling Lonely? Generate Your Own Warmth

Feeling Lonely? Generate Your Own Warmth

Having friends doesn’t just help our mental health, they help our physical health, too. And thanks to social media, we can now stay connected to friends and family across the globe. Things like Facetime and chat features help us keep friends an...
2/22/2017 | Feeling Lonely? Generate Your Own Warmth

Transitioning Through Life

Transitioning Through Life

Is there really such a thing as a "mid-life crisis?" The short answer is no, but it’s a myth that has endured over time in part because we go through transitions throughout our lives and may not always manage them in the best way. But recognizi...
11/03/2016 | Transitioning Through Life

Why Confidence Matters

Why Confidence Matters

We spend a lot of time and effort developing our skills and abilities – whether it’s for our careers, a musical passion or even a favorite sport - but there’s one key element that can hold us back despite all of our efforts. Our con...
10/11/2016 | Why Confidence Matters

The Power of Presence

The Power of Presence

Reflection of the Day: "The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention... A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to conn...
7/27/2016 | The Power of Presence

Why Adults Should Get Out and Play

Why Adults Should Get Out and Play

Somewhere between childhood and adulthood we stop playing. With job and family responsibilities we often have an endless to-do list and rarely take the time to engage in fun, rejuvenating activities. But, like our parents so often used to say to us,...
6/10/2016 | Why Adults Should Get Out and Play

The Benefits of Journaling

The Benefits of Journaling

Madison, Wisconsin - In a laundry list of things to do to stay healthy – eat more vegetables, exercise, meditate, manage your stress – adding yet one more can seem daunting. Yet, an ancient practice dating back to the 10th century th...
4/13/2016 | The Benefits of Journaling

A Personal Journey: Putting Sport Psychology to the Test

A Personal Journey: Putting Sport Psychology to the Test

UW Health Sport Psychologist Shilagh Mirgain, PhD, recently traveled to Africa to accomplish a 20 year dream. She shares her personal reflections of her journey in the following post. Madison, Wisconsin – Twenty years ago, I met a gro...
3/14/2016 | A Personal Journey: Putting Sport Psychology to the Test

Learning the Languages of Love

Learning the Languages of Love

Relationships are hard. Anyone who has had an argument with their spouse or partner over something like dirty dishes or the laundry knows that love isn't all red roses and chocolate. Along with the good, we can find ourselves feeling hurt, frust...
2/12/2016 | Learning the Languages of Love

Why You Should Choose Courage Over Comfort

Why You Should Choose Courage Over Comfort

Ever get the feeling like you're moving on auto-pilot? Wake up, go to work, come home, repeat. Maybe even down to what dinner you'll have on a given weeknight. But when you start to change things up – teriyaki instead of tacos on Tuesdays ...
1/13/2016 | Why You Should Choose Courage Over Comfort

Take Charge of Your Eating

Take Charge of Your Eating

Crave fast food, cookies or ice cream when you're stressed? There may be a biological reason for that. Studies have suggested that when our bodies are under stress, we tend to crave foods high in fat, sugar or both. Those so-called "comfort food...
11/18/2015 | Take Charge of Your Eating

Dealing with Peer Pressure When You're an Adult

Dealing with Peer Pressure When You

When we reach adulthood, we often think that some of the pains of childhood are behind us. But, worries about how we look, the desire to be accepted, sometimes even the willingness to do something just to fit in continue to affect us whether we're te...
9/21/2015 | Dealing with Peer Pressure When You're an Adult

Getting Out in Nature is Good for You

Getting Out in Nature is Good for You

Madison, Wisconsin - Summertime, and the living is easy – as the lyrics go. But, if you're finding yourself spending more time in air-conditioning than beachside, it may be time to make a change. As UW Health psychologist Shilagh Mirgain e...
7/22/2015 | Getting Out in Nature is Good for You

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Madison, Wisconsin - By now many people have heard the term "emotional intelligence" or "emotional quotient" (EQ for short). Basically it refers to our ability to navigate relationships and social complexities by identifying, understanding, managing ...
6/10/2015 | The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Athletes Need to Recover Mentally From Injuries, Too

Athletes Need to Recover Mentally From Injuries, Too

Madison, Wisconsin - Recovering from a sports injury involves more than healing an athlete's physical pain, says UW Health sport psychologist Shilagh Mirgain. To once again thrive, the athlete's psyche needs as much attention as her torn ACL, co...
5/19/2015 | Athletes Need to Recover Mentally From Injuries, Too

Finding the Present Moment

Finding the Present Moment

Madison, Wisconsin - It really is a 24/7 world. And, it seems, there is tremendous pressure to make the most of every one of those minutes. With more workers staying connected after hours and even on vacation, to an abundance of technology ...
5/13/2015 | Finding the Present Moment

Why You Should Find Awe in the Every Day

Why You Should Find Awe in the Every Day

Madison, Wisconsin - Perhaps it was a summer campout in an area far from the city when you looked up and saw the Northern Lights. Or that moment of looking down over Chicago from the Sky Deck on the 103rd floor of the Wills Tower (or New Yo...
4/13/2015 | Why You Should Find Awe in the Every Day

Using Mindfulness to Increase Exercise Satisfaction

Using Mindfulness to Increase Exercise Satisfaction

Madison, Wisconsin - If you're having trouble sticking to an exercise routine, pay attention. Not now. While you're exercising. Pay attention to how you're feeling, in a nonjudgmental way, and you may derive greater satisfaction from your circui...
3/18/2015 | Using Mindfulness to Increase Exercise Satisfaction

Are You a Superstitious Athlete? You'd Be Better Off With a Routine

Are You a Superstitious Athlete? You

Madison, Wisconsin – Most professional and college hockey players grow beards during the playoffs. One former pro basketball player had a pair of shorts for each NBA team and would wear the ones with the logo of his team's next opponent to...
3/12/2015 | Are You a Superstitious Athlete? You'd Be Better Off With a Routine

The Power of Positive People: Why They're Important to Your Health

The Power of Positive People: Why They

Madison, Wisconsin - Ever notice how a bad mood can be contagious? Maybe your spouse is stressed at work and brings it home. What started out as just another evening ends up with the two of you fighting and you're not really even sure why. Maybe...
2/17/2015 | The Power of Positive People: Why They're Important to Your Health

Stress and Gender: Common Triggers and How to Cope

Stress and Gender: Common Triggers and How to Cope

Madison, Wisconsin - If you've had a stressful day, what do you do? Talk with friends or a partner about it, or withdraw and keep to yourself? How you answer that may depend on your gender. "While it is a generalized statement, there are ways in...
1/08/2015 | Stress and Gender: Common Triggers and How to Cope

Creating the Best Year of Your Life

Creating the Best Year of Your Life

Madison, Wisconsin - It's the new year - a time when many people commit to making changes both big and small in hopes of improving their health or well-being. Unfortunately, within a few weeks, 90 percent of the commitments are already broken. B...
1/02/2015 | Creating the Best Year of Your Life

Make Yourself a Priority This Season

Make Yourself a Priority This Season

The holidays are often seen as a time of joy and celebration. Visiting with family and friends, special traditions and festivities seem to fill the month following Thanksgiving. But many people also experience significant stress this time of year. So...
12/15/2014 | Make Yourself a Priority This Season

Non-Medicinal Techniques for Managing Migraines and Headaches

Non-Medicinal Techniques for Managing Migraines and Headaches

Some estimates put the number of people stricken by migraines at 37 million in the U.S. alone, with women - typically between 35 and 55 years of age - more than twice as likely as men to get migraines. "Headaches are one of most common complaint...
11/26/2014 | Non-Medicinal Techniques for Managing Migraines and Headaches

Improve Your Health Through Kindness

Improve Your Health Through Kindness

Madison, Wisconsin - Want to know how to be happy in life? Just be kind. Research indicates that people who engage in acts of kindness actually become happier over time. And it's good for your health too. "Kindness and generosity have many ...
11/12/2014 | Improve Your Health Through Kindness

Tips For Making Father's Day Memorable and Meaningful

Tips For Making Father

Madison, Wisconsin - Fatherhood is perhaps the most important job that any man has. A strong father-child relationship is central to the emotional and intellectual growth of children, creating self-esteem, confidence, security, and the ability t...
6/12/2014 | Tips For Making Father's Day Memorable and Meaningful

Tips for Coping with Emotions During Mother's Day

Tips for Coping with Emotions During Mother

Madison, Wisconsin – Mother's Day is quickly approaching and many people are considering how best to show their appreciation for everything their mothers have done for them. Unfortunately, there are many people who suffer rather than celebrate ...
5/06/2014 | Tips for Coping with Emotions During Mother's Day

What Athletes Can Teach Us

What Athletes Can Teach Us

Madison, Wisconsin – Watching the world's top athletes compete, like they did during the current Olympic games, can be inspiring. And a little daunting. After all, these are athletes that may have started learning their respective sports s...
3/09/2014 | What Athletes Can Teach Us

Gratitude and Your Health

Gratitude and Your Health

What are you thankful for? Taking time to think about the question can actually be good for your health. "Research suggests that individuals who feel grateful experience lower blood pressure, improved immune functions, recover more quickly from ...
11/19/2013 | Gratitude and Your Health

Practicing Happiness: Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude

Practicing Happiness: Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude

Madison, Wisconsin – While it may seem like some people are just naturally happier, that doesn't mean there isn't hope for the rest of us. Happiness, like many things, is a skill that can be cultivated. But why is it so important to be hap...
9/23/2013 | Practicing Happiness: Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude

Finding a Balance Between School and Sports

Finding a Balance Between School and Sports

Madison, Wisconsin - With school back in session, young athletes may find themselves trying to balance the demands of their sport with their academics. The challenge is – how to prioritize the two and what to do when things feel out of bal...
9/16/2013 | Finding a Balance Between School and Sports

Learning How to Forgive

Learning How to Forgive

Madison, Wisconsin - It sounds so simple, yet forgiving someone can be one of the most difficult things we ever do. And, when we do, it can actually improve our physical and emotional well-being. Research shows that holding on to anger and resentmen...
7/22/2013 | Learning How to Forgive

Can What You Think Affect How You Feel?

Can What You Think Affect How You Feel?

Madison, Wisconsin – There may be a reason optimists are happier – research suggests that how we think affects how we feel and act. But, is the key to being happy as simple as thinking of the glass as half-full rather than half-empty?&nbs...
5/17/2013 | Can What You Think Affect How You Feel?

Simple Strategies to Improve Your Sleep

Simple Strategies to Improve Your Sleep

Madison, Wis.– Americans are becoming increasingly sleep-deprived. We're always looking to squeeze more time out of 24 hours. Unfortunately one of the first things to go is sleep. While some may boast that they can get by with just a few h...
4/18/2013 | Simple Strategies to Improve Your Sleep

Five Steps to Breathing for Your Health

Five Steps to Breathing for Your Health

Madison, Wis.– There's no question we live in stressful times. From work to home, our lives can be a constant juggle of trying to do more with less – more work, more bills, less time and less money. While our bodies are actually desi...
3/18/2013 | Five Steps to Breathing for Your Health

Tips for Maintaining Healthy Relationships

Tips for Maintaining Healthy Relationships

Madison, Wisconsin - When we think of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we probably think of eating well and exercising. But having healthy relationships – both romantic and friendly – is just as important for our wellbeing. Positive ...
2/18/2013 | Tips for Maintaining Healthy Relationships

Developing Healthy Relationships to Sports for Young Athletes

Developing Healthy Relationships to Sports for Young Athletes

Madison, Wis. - We admire athletes like Michael Phelps for the product - 22 medals during the most highly-decorated career in Olympic history - but also for the process. In our applause we recognize the years of hard work that prefaced the coronation...
8/07/2012 | Developing Healthy Relationships to Sports for Young Athletes

Finding and Keeping Your Motivation

Finding and Keeping Your Motivation

Madison, Wisconsin - Whether it's losing weight, taking control of our finances, or even pledging to eat more vegetables, often our best intentions go the way of New Year's Resolutions – after a few unsuccessful days, they're given up with a sm...
5/09/2012 | Finding and Keeping Your Motivation

Coping with the Winter Blues

Coping with the Winter Blues

For some people, shorter days mean more than just the beginning of fall. They can also signal the onset of seasonal affective disorder, or the "winter blues." Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression that occurs seasonal...
10/10/2011 | Coping with the Winter Blues

Sport Psychology Helps Triathlete Find Right Frame of Mind

Sport Psychology Helps Triathlete Find Right Frame of Mind

Living in Madison, Wisconsin, it's hard not to catch the "Ironman Bug." Watching the race can be inspirational. So much so that many observers sign up for their first Ironman prior to even completing a triathlon. Some reports suggest that 40 percent ...
4/21/2011 | Sport Psychology Helps Triathlete Find Right Frame of Mind

Confronting the Problem of Chronic Pain

MADISON – For Charles, the most difficult part of chronic pain was the uncertainty. He didn't know why the pain wouldn't stop and why he had to change his life so dramatically because of it.The former illustrator was diagnosed with bilater...
5/14/2009 | Confronting the Problem of Chronic Pain