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Madison health care workers say everyone can learn from Olympians

United States' Crystal Dunn adjusts her socks during a women's soccer match against Sweden at...
United States' Crystal Dunn adjusts her socks during a women's soccer match against Sweden at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Tokyo.(AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 7:29 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - With the Olympics about to start, Madison health care workers say everyone can learn from how the athletes mentally prepare for their sport to improve their own performance.

UW Health psychologist Shilagh Mirgain said events ranging from amateur athletics to giving a presentation at work can all be challenging situations, but a strong mind can help overcome them.

Mirgain gave the following tips:

  1. Access an Optimal Zone of Performance – Olympic athletes are able to find the right physiological and emotional state to compete. Mirgain stated that people can learn to find their optimal zone by thinking about times where they performed well and what went into doing their best.
  2. Manage Stress – Olympic athletes’ training includes learning how to handle stress. Mirgain advises people to do brief relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises to keep anxiety to a minimum.
  3. Focus the Mind – Olympic athletes need to be focused when they are under pressure. Mirgain said practicing mindfulness is important to be focused.
  4. Practice Positive Thinking – These athletes have learned to replace negative thinking with encouragement. According to Mirgain, people should correct negative thoughts they have about themselves with constructive ones.
  5. Recover from Setbacks Quickly – Mirgain noted that Olympic athletes are able to bounce back quickly. While this technique sounds easier said than done, UW Health advises people to remind themselves setbacks are minor and are something to learn from.
  6. Four Year Goals – Olympians don’t succeed by chance, they set long-term goals. Mirgain adds that by thinking about your life in the long-term, you will have success.

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