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Jeff Skolnick, M.D., Ph.D.
Jeff Skolnick M.D., P.h.D.

Livin' the Dream, Beyond Your Dreams

The key to extraordinary health, happiness and fulfillment

I’ll bet you want to be in great health, to be strong and feel boundless energy? Well, you can exercise ‘til the cows come home, eat perfectly, take the best supplements in the world and do everything health experts recommend and still not have optimal physical wellness! So, what gives?

How could you hope to be in good health if you’ve got a troubled mind? Mental wellbeing is needed for physical wellness. Feeling victimized by life, having low self-esteem, being driven to self-destructive behavior—can all rob you of physical health. Of course, the opposite is also true—feeling physically well helps you feel mentally well.

Now, you can go to therapy for a hundred years, follow all the self-help advice in the world and any other treatment recommendations mental health professionals give you and still not feel mentally well. Now what gives?

How could you hope to be mentally well and as happy and at peace as you can be if you have troubled relationships? To love and be loved, to belong and share life’s moments in a supportive community—this is all crucial to feeling well and happy inside. Of course, in return, it helps to have mental stability and wellbeing to be able to create an empowering community.

With the best of intentions, you can surround yourself by the most loving and supportive family and friends in the world and still not be able to fully benefit from your relationship with them? What gives, you ask?

If your life is a mess, if you are disorganized and ineffective in your daily life, if you are financially irresponsible, don’t manage time well or maintain your home and possessions, you will wear on the people in your life. In the other direction, it’s challenging to get through life and all that it requires if you don’t have support from people—both logistically and emotionally.

Well, you can engage in excellent health practices, deal with your underlying emotional issues, create love and support in your life and organize your life ‘til your blue in the face and still not be successful in living the life of your dreams. What gives this time, you ask?

You need to live in accord with your highest values and principles. If you aren’t living in accord with your highest values and principles, you are not going to be a success in any area of your life. Without sticking to higher principles you will lose sight of what is in your best interests. One in particular, one special value, is to leave the world a better place because you were here using your unique talents or interests. This is called your mission or purpose. Without having a mission, you will soon feel trapped by life.

Yet a mission can quickly turn self-serving and values can get corrupted even with the best of intentions. So, what gives now? What could you possibly need this time?

An appreciation of your existence! An appreciation of your existence helps keep you in touch with your highest values and gives you passion to change the world. Appreciating your existence requires that you penetrate the truth of this simple fact: your birth defied astronomical odds considering the countless events that had to happen over eons of time in exact way. In other words, this moment, right now, that you are alive, is miraculous. And, the fact that you can know you are alive is the most miraculous thing in the universe!

The more you penetrate this realization, the more you awaken to the miracle of your existence, the more it changes your life. It refocuses your values from the trivial, gives your life instant meaning, relieves you of stress, vitalizes your health, frees you from self-limiting beliefs and self-destructive behavior, and helps you value your relationships in ways you couldn’t before. You become wiser and more effective in how you negotiate life.

At this point, you are close to living a dream life, beyond your dreams. Are we done now? Almost.

You can think about the miracle of your existence ‘til you pop, practice gratitude and even do several kinds of spiritual practice and still not come to a full appreciation of your existence—or at least not for very long.

That’s because to appreciate your existence you must grasp that this moment is really happening now, that you are alive right now—that this is not a dress rehearsal or never-ending story. Yet, this is a brain skill not a thought or idea. Actually, it is a series of brain skills I call “Inshifting.” Inshifting means that your higher brain (the parts that tell you you are alive) is more activated than your lower brain (basically your mind programming). This process helps you grasp being alive and let go of self-limiting beliefs that blind you to how monumental this moment is.

Mindfulness practices are just the beginning of the Inshifting process, but a good place to begin. To get a better sense of what it might be like to be Inshifted, try asking yourself this question: “Where do I most experience ‘now’?” Then notice what you do to try to lock your attention onto that answer. It is not as simple as it may seem, but arguably the most important skill you can learn.

So, practice an interconnecting web of wellnesses that are integrated with brain evolution skills such as mindfulness or Inshifting…and you will live the dream, beyond your dreams!

Dr. Skolnick offers a free introductory video series available on his website at

About the Author
Jeff Skolnick, M.D., Ph.D.

Jeff Skolnick, M.D., Ph.D., is a psychiatrist. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Washington.

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