How Is Your Emotional Health?

Are you experiencing health issues, fatigue, anxiety or depressive thoughts? You’re not alone. We all struggle with these same challenges from time to time and we all have feelings about what causes our problems. Some people believe their problems are caused by external circumstances: financial problems, family obligations, work environments, etc. Others internalize their problems, blaming physical, mental or emotional deficiencies within themselves.The truth is usually somewhere in between internal and external. What’s important to realize is the part we play in our own healing. We can begin the healing process by stepping back and looking at the big picture of our life. When we objectively examine our thoughts, feelings, external circumstances and lifestyle choices, we find many factors we can control to affect positive change in our life.

When struggling with health or emotional problems, it’s wise to consider the following areas of your life:

  • Has there been any physically or emotionally traumatic event in your life?

Emotional trauma or stressful events can leave a lasting effect on our brains. Therapies such as counseling, psychotherapy, behavioral therapies or homeopathic remedies can help release emotional trauma. By releasing emotional trauma, we begin to experience life from a place of strength, openness and authenticity.

  • Is a biological or chemical imbalance affecting your emotions?

Our minds are affected by hormones, neurotransmitters and many other chemical messengers floating around our bodies. Neurotransmitters and hormones are directly influenced by the foods we eat, environmental toxins and the health of our organs. In particular, our liver, adrenal glands, thyroid gland and digestive system affect, and are affected by, our mood.

  • Is there a stressful situation in your life that’s interfering with your ability to find peace, health and happiness?

Our bodies have a magnificent built-in system for dealing with stress. This system dates to prehistoric humans and was essential for preserving life. Called ‘the flight or fight response’, our bodies have an innate ability to speed up certain processes and slow down or stop other processes to enable us to respond quickly to life-threatening situations. In modern life however, we are rarely threatened with life or death. Most of our threats are perceived. These include things like stressful and demanding work, family conflict or financial problems. Our body’s primitive response to these stressors can begin to break down our emotional resiliency and physical health.

  • Are you making lifestyle choices that are interfering with your emotional health?

Unhealthy habits can interfere with emotional health. They also take up time that could be spent on activities that build us up emotionally and improve health. Why not fill your free time with activities such as exercise, reading inspirational books, meditation, yoga, journaling and making meaningful social connections. These types of activities enhance your sense of wellbeing, rather than deplete your energy.

Any challenge we face in life is well-served by considering the big picture. The sooner we become aware of the many factors affecting our health and wellbeing, the sooner we can change what’s under our control to affect positive change.

Visit NavitaHealth.com or contact Cathy Abreu directly at 908-528-3977 or cathy@navitahealth.com for more information on factors that effect your emotional health.

BE PEACE: Increase YOUR Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Definition of EQ: the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships wisely and with empathy.

Yesterday, I was driving and listening to a news podcast. The kind that you can’t seem to resist even though they play on your emotions. As the news analysts discuss the day’s events, you notice your mood shifting. You are tense inside and as it continues, you’re less enthusiastic about the day ahead. These are signs of deteriorating Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

So, what can we do when, in situations like this one, our emotions are stretched to their limits? How can gain greater control of our emotions in order to have a more balanced, enjoyable and successful life?

Remember Who You Are – YOU are more than your emotions.

First. Build your awareness “muscle.” After all, if we are unaware that we are tense there is no way to reduce our discomfort. Without awareness, unchecked emotions such as anxiety, irritability, anger, and frustration not only disrupt our daily lives, they accumulate over time. In the beginning there may be relationship skirmishes at home or work, and later potentially dangerous conditions such as high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes, and addiction.

Second. When we are aware of our growing emotional tension, however, we can take steps to mitigate the problem. For example, in the above situation we could do one or more of the following to change our emotional state:

  • Turn off the radio.
  • Change the station and listen to relaxing music.
  • Breathe mindfully. Practice conscious breathing. Shift your attention away from the stress filled thoughts in your mind to the flow of your breath. Observe the breath as you inhale and exhale. This will help you relax.
  • Move your body, stretch, exercise, walk, get outdoors.

Any one of these approaches will bring you some degree of inner calm and boost your Emotional Intelligence. You are more than your emotions; you are more than your thoughts. You are the silent stable awareness at the core of your being. This is sometimes called the silent witness. It exists behind or beyond your thoughts. Return to that stillness when your emotions are out of control and you will meet with greater success in life.

For me, this calm response usually occurs naturally because I have been practicing and teaching Effortless Meditation™ for more than 40 years. Meditation is a skill set that builds awareness and calms the emotions. With continued daily “practice,” the delight and inner peace experienced during meditation begins to enrich every aspect of our life.

Try it. I guarantee that you will be happier, healthier, more stable, and kinder. Plus, there will be an added bonus. Your friends, family, and coworkers will be glad you are doing it!

And who knows, when they see what’s working for you, they might take steps to enhance the quality of their life.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay


Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter

According to the cover story of the AARP Bulletin, the COVID-19 global pandemic delivered one important lesson that we should all acknowledge. Our immune systems are in trouble.

The medical term for this is ‘dysregulated’, or to keep it simple, our immune systems are not working as they should, i.e. intelligently. Far too often, they are unable to distinguish between a harmless and harmful invader, leaving us at risk. And there is much concrete evidence of the dilemma.


Autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system attacks itself, are rising 4 to 7% every year. Three of the most common are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and type 1 diabetes, however, there are over 80 autoimmune disorders identified.

Food allergies now afflict one in ten adults. Our immune systems are over taxed to a large extent due to a changing environment. We are exposed daily to thousands of chemicals that were not in our environment 50 years ago. In some cases, chemicals are immune activators meaning they cause inflammation and others are immune suppressors – making us more susceptible to disease!

Chronic inflammation. Of those hospitalized for COVID-19, 34 % had diabetes, 42% were obese, and 57% had high blood pressure. Chronic inflammation is a common factor in all these conditions and many more. Our immune defenses are working overtime, 24/7.

Aging certainly plays a significant role in the dysregulation of our immune system. According to the CDC, 8 out of 10 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are among adults over 65. The good news for seniors, however, is that only 10% of the decline in immune function is due to aging alone. In fact, there are many older people who have stronger immune systems that some younger people.

WHAT TO DO? – A Healthy Lifestyle Rocks

Taking these many factors into account, one obvious conclusion is that the answers comes down to lifestyle. Health professionals recommend:

  1. Eat unprocessed foods as much as possible to reduce the toxic chemical load and give your immune system a break. Michael Pollan, the highly respected author of In Defense of Food: An Eaters Manifesto suggests we simplify our diets by eating real food. If we must eat processed foods, read the label. Look for those with 4 – 5 ingredients vs. 30. Gravitate to fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains that aren’t prepackaged with preservatives, hydrogenated fats, added sugars, artificial flavors and colors.
  2. Reduce your level of stress. Seventy to 90% of conditions treated by primary care physicians are linked to stress. It is a powerful suppressant of our immune system. So, the importance of daily movement can’t be overemphasized. Yoga, tai chi, and walking are a few simple forms of highly effective exercise that require no equipment or travel. Ideally, make exercise fun. You’ll be more inclined to do it if it puts a smile on your face.
  3. Finally, let’s talk about the importance of meditation and rest. It is nature’s medicine. The body needs to rest to repair itself. A good night’s sleep not only heals us from the stressful influence of the day, it recharges our body for the day ahead. As a supplement to the rest of sleep add meditation. Scientific research published in the most prestigious journals validate the tremendous benefits of a daily meditation practice.

I have seen the influence of deep healing rest not only in my own life, but in the lives of friends and those that I’ve taught to meditate over the last 40+ years. Meditation is an antidote for stress. During the practice of Effortless Meditation, the mind becomes calm and the body rests more deeply than in sleep. Our muscles relax, breathing softens, and stress and anxiety melt away. And many find they begin to sleep better than ever, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.


It is widely understood that the negative impact of chronic stress accumulates over time. This is one significant reason that the highly stressed U.S. population has been hit so hard by COVID19. Fortunately we are not victims, we have the power within us to be far healthier by making some of the lifestyle choices mentioned here. Self-care begins at home and it’s simple.

Be well, and feel free to contact us if you need assistance or have questions.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA. DAy


Virtual and in-person classes are available.

Does Mom Need a Nurse or a Health Aide?

I often hear people use the term ‘nurse’ to describe the person who comes to the house to help mom or dad bathe and get dressed three or four times a week. There’s apparently a lot of confusion out there between what home health aides and nurses do.

The person who helps your loved one bathe and dress is typically a Home Health Aide (HHA) or Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). There are other titles and designations for this type of help, but HHA and CNA are two of the most common.

While many HHAs have a high school diploma or a GED, formal education generally is not required to be an HHA. Home care agencies typically provide their own training programs. Some states do offer a training and certification process to become a certified home health aide, or CHHA.

CNAs must pass a state licensing exam to be certified. This requires a formal training program offered by community colleges and vocational and technical schools. Candidates must learn basic principles of nursing care and complete several hours of supervised clinical training.

HHAs and CNAs working in the home setting may assist with bathing, dressing and other self-care and hygiene needs. As needed, they may also grocery shop, prepare meals, help clients eat, perform light housekeeping and provide occasional transportation.

In healthcare language, both CNAs and HHAs are considered “Unskilled” help. By definition, “Skilled” services are functions that must be performed by a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN).

All states require RNs to earn at least an associate degree, but some employers prefer candidates with bachelor’s degrees. RNs must also be licensed to practice, a process that requires that they complete an accredited nursing program, lasting from two to four years, and pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses, or NCLEX-RN.

LPNs must complete a state-approved training program, often in the form of a diploma, certificate or associate degree. The majority of programs can be completed in one year, although some offering an extensive nursing curriculum may take longer. Individuals must then pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses, or NCLEX-PN.

While the differences between RNs and LPNs are beyond the scope of this article, both are qualified to provide more advanced care than HHAs and CNAs. In general, nurses may administer medication, perform wound care, create and implement detailed care plans, and collaborate with doctors and other members of your loved one’s healthcare team.

Hiring an HHA or CNA is usually one of the first steps in planning to keep your loved one safe at home. They are typically employed at a home care agency in your area and are private pay (meaning not covered by insurance).

Nursing care may or may not become necessary as certain health conditions progress and are often ordered by your family doctor. When ordered by a doctor for a specific illness or condition, nursing services are generally covered by health insurance. There are also private duty nurses that can be hired by an individual patient, their family, or an agency. They are not necessarily under the direction of a physician and their salary is paid by the individual.

It’s important to make an accurate assessment of your loved one’s needs and obtain the proper level of  help to keep them safe and healthy at home. Many times family members are overwhelmed by the prospect of figuring things out, or have differing opinions about what’s best for mom and dad. This often results in family strife, leading to inertia and nothing gets done until there’s an emergency. If this is the case in your family, it may be wise to hire a professional health advocate to perform a comprehensive and objective assessment for the family.

Contact Cathy Abreu, RN, BCPA at Cathy@NavitaHealth.com or 484-548-0201

Visit us online at www.NavitaHealth.com

Tools for Interacting With People Who Have Dementia

Dementia is a general term for a loss of memory and other thinking abilities that is serious enough to interfere with activities of daily life. It has many causes, the most common cause is Alzheimer’s disease.

A diagnosis of dementia can have a huge impact on a person’s life. Someone recently diagnosed with dementia is likely to experience a range of emotions. These may include grief, loss, anger, shock, fear, disbelief and even relief from finally understanding their diagnosis.

Living with dementia presents many challenges for patients and their families. As a family member, friend or caregiver, there are specific ways we can interact with people with dementia that can increase the quality of our interactions and decrease many common frustrations.

Interacting with People Living with Dementia

• Slow your pace and allow time for the person to process and respond
• Simplify sentences or choices
• Ask one question at a time
• Speak clearly and calmly, be patient, listen
• Avoid arguing or embarrassing the person
• Seek to understand the person’s reality or feelings
• Gently redirect to another environment or subject as needed

We can all work together to spread dementia friendly practices by partnering with advocacy groups, state agencies and regulators to learn more about, follow and encourage dementia friendly practices in our communities.

People living with dementia still need the same things we all do – love, support, connection, community and engagement. It’s important to always remember that although someone with dementia may behave differently, they still deserve to live with dignity, respect and at their highest possible quality of life.

Contact Cathy Abreu, RN, BCPA at Cathy@NavitaHealth.com or 484-548-0201 for more information on living with and caring for people with dementia. Visit us online at www.NavitaHealth.com!

Effortless Meditation™ Soothes the Soul, Reduces Anxiety

Everyone is challenged by the unsettling influences of the global pandemic. Our senses, which are our windows to the world, are continually bombarded with chaos everywhere we turn – news apps, newspapers, social media… It can easily overwhelm us.

If we are not grounded, it doesn’t take much in our outer environment to disturb any remnants of inner peace and calm. Yet, we can’t seem to put down the unsettling news and images in the media. Why do we torture ourselves in this way?

Meanwhile scientific research tells us under chronic stress our heart rate and blood pressure increase, our muscles tighten, and our immune system weakens – and that is just a few of the negative influences of debilitating stress.

Metabolizing Our Experiences

Deepak Chopra, M.D., a pioneer in the field of mind body medicine said it well, “we metabolize our experiences.” The good news is that we are not victims. We can take proactive action to minimize, even neutralize the impact of stress. The solution lies in balance. It is the key to a healthier, better life.

Here’s where meditation comes in. Every day we have the ability to transcend the chaos in our lives, and experience peace, delight. These are found at the Source of Thought – the most silent mind. A proven vehicle to accomplish this is the practice of Effortless Meditation™ (EM).

When I introduced EM at a local corporation, one of the directors said this is a tool that we can use for the rest of our lives. We don’t have to drive across town to get to a gym to use it, and we can do this almost anywhere. It’s ideal for our needs.

Within a few weeks employees who took the EM training, offered as an employee benefit, were reporting a myriad of benefits. These included less stress, greater mental clarity, improved memory, better relationships at work and home, restful sleep, less fatigue, reduced anxiety, and greater happiness.

A Quiet Room

The company was so pleased that they created a “quiet room” for team members to use whenever they wished to meditate. I taught EM in this company practically every day for six consecutive months. Corporate leaders recognized a need and took corrective action.

Prior to the meditation training, the company had reorganized five times in the preceding seven years. Rapid, relentless change is chronic stress; it wears us down. Adapting to it is exhausting, maybe you’ve noticed! To make matters worse, over time the influence of stress accumulates.

Restful Sleep and Energy

Fortunately, the mind is powerful. A clear mind allows us to accomplish great things, and yet it needs deep rest to repair and heal in order to function at its best. This is one reason that sleep is so important. Rest is preventive maintenance for our mind and body. Without good rest, we cannot sustain the energy needed to have a successful and fulfilling life.

By calming the mind and releasing stress, Effortless Meditation practice helps us sleep better. In addition, every meditation provides us with deep supplemental rest and energy. They are both vital to provide balance, reduce anxiety, and to lighten our day. This is especially true in the turbulent times of today.

Deep rest nourishes us in a way that nothing else can. It is nature’s medicine.

Effortless Meditation courses are regularly offered both in-person and with on-line video conferencing.

Greg Schweitzer, BA, D.Ay


Handling the Changes of Covid-19

For Health & Well-Being

Feeling off, or strange?  Noticing that the people you love are a bit touchy?  Just about everyone in the world is experiencing mourning, loss, and a huge change.  Have you noticed their collective reactions?

The research of Dr. Kubler-Ross’s Mourning Cycle has long been recognized by a variety of researchers and therapists as applicable to mourning, forgiveness, and change management.  This cycle is built into human DNA.  You do not have to be consciously aware of it.  It automatically functions.  Mourning, forgiveness, and change all deal with a significant loss. Fortunately, your movement/mind system has a built-in process to deal with it.  Think of it as the “Human Loss/Change Cycle.” Being aware of it helps.

All human behavior is both physical and mental. However, most people have no idea of their need to deal with the physical/movement aspects of behavior. You might “feel” angry or depressed, even as you say, “I have the will to forgive, or be at peace; therefore, but you just can’t  will it.  Or, you may realize that you get an uncomfortable “zing” every time you think about “the incident.” You might even realize that stress reactions are making your head, stomach and/or back ache.  This cycle is a psychosomatic (mind-body) event and not just “all in your head.”  This is not a time to “suck it up, and get on with life.”

The physicality of the Loss/Change Cycle is real and is caused by your bio-electric, neuromuscular, movement-mind link.  Moreover, the physical and mental are one at your deepest core self.

Since 1971, I have developed Coordination Pattern® Training and Dynamics which among other concepts shows the connections and how to use knowledge and physical exercises to support people experiencing this Mourning or Loss/Change Cycle.  It also explains how physical, habituated stress reactions can get locked into the body, prevent or stop the progress of the Cycle and how this type of block can be released.  These blocks cause physical injury, high tension and more.

The basic connection of the Loss/Change Cycle and the Coordination Patterns can be essentially stated as:

  1. Denial – Hang Pattern: go with the free-flowing movement; letting go, random, intuitive, Tai Chi, improvisation
  2. Anger – Thrust Pattern: press, strike, force movement; “do it,” sensing, Karate, Hip Hop
  3. Bargaining – Swing Pattern: back and forth, interactive, playful movement; feeling, Hula, Belly Dancing
  4. Depression – Shape Pattern: placed movement; formal, correct, thinking, Yoga, Ballet

Acceptance uses all four Patterns. Each one of us has one of these four Patterns as our “home” Pattern, which is the Pattern of our relaxation, awareness, creativity, and alpha brain waves.  Thus, it dominates our style of forgiveness.

Use these Patterns to support your Loss/Change Cycle process during this challenging time.

You will become healthier both physically and mentally if you do.  There are also easy exercises that can be used to help, but for now “wiggle, giggle and play every day!”

You can also do pretend Tia Chi, Karate, Ballet and Hula.  Or you can listen and move to Bobby McFerrin for Hang, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring for Thrust, Beethoven’s 9th for Shape, and Aloha Oe Hula music for Swing. They can all be found on YouTube.

TP Van Main CPD Chart 2

Betsy Wetzig, Founding Director of Coordination Pattern® Training & Dynamics


gain·​say | gān-ˈsā

gain·​say | gān-ˈsā

Merriam-Webster’s definition: to declare to be untrue or invalid

What to do when, despite evidence to the contrary, a loved one continues to gainsay that he or she needs help in their home. As a Patient Advocate, I’ve received countless calls from distressed family members concerned about the safety and well-being of their loved ones who refuse to acknowledge they need help. It’s a delicate situation with no ‘one’ right answer.

Time and time again, callers express overwhelming frustration over a parent or relative they’re concerned is not eating well, taking medications properly, going to doctors’ appointments, or understanding what is being said by their doctor when they do go. They may have fallen a few times, and there’s concern about whether or not they’re still safe in their home.

As if all this weren’t enough, the kicker is when the loved-one in question denies there are any problems and refuses to accept help! How do we stand by and watch someone exercise their right to make poor decisions?

These issues are at the heart of much family discord and distress, with everyone fighting over what to do. Unfortunately, having the mental capacity to make decisions does not guarantee the use of good judgment, and there’s little we can do to force someone to accept help if they refuse it.

There are, however, a few approaches that may get better results than all-out combat.

  • Consider the Family Dynamic: In our culture, the parent/child relationship has a built-in dynamic defining who advises who. Many seniors are reluctant to accept guidance from their children. Consider asking a trusted friend of your loved-one to broach the subject of getting them help. We are often more receptive to the advice of our peers than our children or younger relatives.
  • Empower Rather than Disempower: The aging process is often accompanied by a feeling of a loss of control. Many people stubbornly hold on to wrong decisions to assert authority over their situation. Try taking a team approach and giving your loved-one a voice in creating a plan to improve the quality of their life and make it possible to live safely in their home.
  • Start Slow: Personal care is just that – personal. Most people are uncomfortable with strangers coming to their home, and especially with having them help with bathing and dressing. Why not start with assistance with grocery shopping and light housework and build from there?

Despite the many community living options with built-in assistance available today, the truth is, most people still prefer to age in their homes. Approaching the associated challenges gently and with compassion, affords those we love most to age with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Contact Cathy Abreu, RN, BSN, BCPA at 908-528-3977 or Cathy@NavitaHealth.com for more information on how to keep your love-one safe at home. Visit our website at NavitaHealth.com

Have Heart!

Hearing from your doctor that you have “heart failure” can be daunting and scary. It might make you think your heart is about to stop working and there’s nothing that can be done. What it really means, however, it that your heart isn’t working as well as it should. If you’re on the receiving end of this diagnosis – have heart, get educated and take action.

To start, there are several different types of heart failure and they require different treatments. It’s important to get a clear understanding of what type you have and what treatments apply to you. Treatments may be any combination of medications, lifestyle changes, and devices or surgical procedures.

You will likely be working with several healthcare providers that will make up your healthcare team. Members of your team may include: your primary care doctor, cardiologist, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical and occupational therapists, dieticians, case managers and pharmacists. It’s important to develop good relationships with all members of your healthcare team. Talk to them openly and honestly. Keep them informed about symptoms or changes in your condition so that they can help you. And remember, you and your caregivers are also essential members of your healthcare team.

Good communication with your healthcare team can help you get the most out of your doctor’s visits. Knowing what questions to ask and understanding what your healthcare provider is saying can help you feel confident that you’re getting the best care.

Here are some tips for communicating with your healthcare team:

  • Be prepared: Bring a list of all medicines you’re taking to the appointment. Make a list of your current symptoms. Try to describe how you feel and any changes in your condition. Write down your concerns and questions.
  • Ask questions: Making the right decisions for you starts with asking questions. Take notes or record your conversation so that you can review the information later. It’s often helpful to bring someone with you to be an extra pair of eyes and ears and help with note taking.
  • Clarify what you hearIf the information you receive from your healthcare team is unclear, ask them to use simpler words or explain it in a different way. Then repeat what you’ve heard back to them in your own words to make sure you’ve understood correctly.

Although living with a chronic condition like heart failure can be challenging, many people learn to manage the condition and enjoy full and meaningful lives. Living your best life lies in your hands. Educate yourself, take charge of the things you can control, and lean into the support of your loved ones and healthcare team.

For a detailed list of questions to ask at your doctor’s appointments, contact Cathy Abreu at 908-528-3977 or Cathy@NavitaHealth.com

Let’s Create Peace on Earth

I have taught meditation for a long time – 42 years. And for years, have discussed the value of reducing stress and the resulting benefits for our body and mind. Lower blood pressure, better sleep, less anxiety and depression, to name a few.

The other day, it hit me. It’s way beyond time to talk more about the overwhelming need we have to create peace and love in our lives. If you doubt the need, just turn on the news on any of your mobile devices. The stress and turmoil in the world today has reached alarming heights. It seems everyone is affected.

You may be familiar with the quote from Mother Teresa, “The problem with the world is that we draw the circle of our family too small.” In other words, if we treated the people that we meet as family, there would be much less strife, much more love.

So, I want to invite you all to do that! Interact with peace in your heart – as if those around you were dear family. Does this sound airy fairy, or unrealistic? Well, it is unrealistic when we hold overwhelming tension, fear, and stress inside. Did you know there’s a statement in the UN Charter that says, war begins in the mind?” But here’s some good news.

The reverse of the above proclamation is also true, PEACE begins in the mind. For example, when attending an Effortless Meditation™ introduction class at our center, people frequently comment on the calming influence here. What they are feeling is the byproduct of meditation practice. Consistent meditation practice is an antidote for what ails you, your family, and the world.

Meditators find that they begin to relate to people in a more harmonious and compassionate way. As we quiet our mind with a simple meditation practice, we spontaneously begin to feel closer to those we meet. In our deepest meditations, all the differences among us drop away. Then, after meditating, we’re more comfortable and at home around others. After all, at our core, we are very much alike.

Here’s the bottom line: There’s more to life than the struggles of the conscious mind, the psyche. Haven’t we all known quiet moments of peace and joy? I invite you to join me in meditation practice and experience those moments of delight grow in number – every day. This is a game changer. And the need for peace is great. Would you agree?

I welcome your feedback.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay


Stress Reduction Resources, Director