Mindfulness Center - VA Salt Lake City Health Care System
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VA Salt Lake City Health Care System

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Mindfulness Center

Whole Health 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.

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.

Veteran Comments

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Ted G.U.S. Army Veteran Veteran

This workshop has done more than I ever could have imagined. Not knowing there were any underlying issues made it hard to even acknowledge or accept them. After doing the workshop and continuing my home practice, I have opened the door to my emotions. I am happy to say that I can feel happiness as well as sadness, and both are great. Just being able to feel has been an amazing experience for me, and has made me become connected with friends and family. I have been given a new life, and I feel empowered to share my new self with everyone. It has been a very interesting journey for me, coming from a cold person who judged and criticized everyone to an open and loving person who is dedicated to serving my community and helping others make the same transition that I went through. Thank you for giving me a life worth living.

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Ron T.U.S. Navy Veteran Veteran

Participating in VA’s mindfulness programs has been a real eye opener for me. I joined the mindfulness program because, while I’ve had a good, even great life, lately I’ve felt kind of “stuck” and lost some of the passion I used to have. Practicing mindfulness exercises and applying mindfulness tools to everyday life has allowed me to recognize when my internal “autopilot” is blindly leading my thoughts and actions, and empowered me to “change gears” and make considered choices. This leads to more control of life’s upsets, such as anger, anxiety, and fear, and has given me a better perspective to choose “what’s next” and create new passion in my life. Mindfulness has helped enrich my life and the lives of those around me.

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JeanieU.S. Navy Veteran Veteran

The easiest way for me to integrate mindfulness into my busy schedule is to use a mindfulness app for three minutes a day, and increase my time as I get more comfortable.


For more information on the Whole Health Mindfulness Center or to learn more about programs we provide, please contact:

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