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Mindfulness Center

The Mindfulness Center is a new and exciting program offered through Whole Health Services. We provide research-based training and education in mindfulness to Veterans throughout the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System. We offer both traditional and non-traditional methods of practicing mindfulness (e.g., sailing, eating, trips to Snowbird.)

Our approach to care differs from many areas in the VA as we do not use the traditional medical model meant to identify and treat specific symptoms. Instead, we believe in helping Veterans achieve a way of life that focuses on wellness, positive emotions, compassion, and, most importantly, what matters to you!

The Mindfulness Center has three clinicians in partnership with clinics throughout the hospital. Although we are partnering with Mental Health Services for shared space, it is our goal to create an actual center apart from all other areas of the hospital.

Whole Health Mindfulness Center water lilly

Background

Mindfulness is, “Purposefully paying attention to the present moment, non-judgmentally, with openness and acceptance.” Essentially, mindfulness meditation is a way to train our brains to be more present and to learn how to work with thoughts, emotions, and sensations. It helps eliminate unhealthy preoccupations with the past and future - to make our life more joyful.

The present moment is quite literally the only thing that’s real. Everything else only exists in our minds. That’s why practicing mindfulness is so important.

It was Lao Tzu who described this best:

If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.

You can’t change the past, no matter how much you dwell on it. You can ponder it, learn from it, and grow from it. Anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and even chronic pain often occurs when a person is stuck living in the past. They focus too much mental energy on the choices they’ve made (or failed to make). Over time, this pattern of overanalysis can overtake the mind and overwhelm the senses. Our past defines us only as long as we allow it to. Instead of using the past as an excuse for present circumstances, a more productive approach is to acknowledge and learn from it. Put the past where it belongs. Use the lessons of past experiences to inform decisions made in the present. If something isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to change it. Mindfulness meditation is excellent for this.

Visit the Mindfulness Center and talk to our highly trained staff. They will help guide you and provide you with all the necessary tools and resources to help live in the present moment, leaving you feeling more at peace.

Contact

Brandon Yabko, PhD
Mindfulness Center Director
Phone: 801-588-5991
Email: brandon.yabko@va.gov

More information

Mindfulness Center staff listing

Resources

Veteran education

Mindfulness & meditation exercises

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