An exploration of some of the subtle- but significant- ways culture shapes healthcare across the globe

When it comes to healthcare, the United States spends far more per capita than any other country- and gets surprisingly little in return. As of 2019, America spent a whopping $11,582 per person on healthcare. Despite that investment, the US has the lowest life expectancy, highest suicide rate, highest obesity and chronic disease burden, and highest rate of preventable deaths of any of the OECD countries.

Though there are many variables that impact healthcare outcomes in a country, conversations with friends abroad have made…


What a chronic illness taught me about the unexpected upside of limitations

Introduction: A lesson I learned from Phil Hansen

A few years ago, I watched a fantastic TED Talk called “Embrace the Shake” by artist Phil Hansen. In his talk, Hansen shares how his dream of becoming an artist was nearly derailed by a growing tremor in his right hand. As an aspiring pointillist, Hansen was so depressed and disappointed that he gave up art for years until he finally decided to “embrace the shake.” …


How a writing exercise helped me identify the words I most needed to hear

A few nights ago, I did an experiment in anticipation of a coming birthday: I wrote in my journal, in the greatest detail I could, about the types of relationships I wanted in my life. It was a playful exercise to get clarity on how I wanted my life to evolve and what that might look and feel like. I visualized a close group of girlfriends that would lift each other up, a loving and playful boyfriend, and the types of meaningful personal relationships I wanted…


And three ways you can use it to transform how you experience emotions

I recently learned that the physiological lifespan of an emotion in the human body is only 90 seconds. That means that all of the physical sensations- racing heart, tense muscles, chemical surges- rise up and fade on their own in that time. If you watch a nature documentary of a toddler throwing a tantrum, you can see it in action. The gazelle that barely escapes the lion shakes off fear and goes about its day; the toddler who is crying his eyes out gets distracted and begins…


What I learned from using three types of breathwork to push my limits

Introduction

Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again. — Thich Nhat Hanh

At the beginning of 2021, I set a single New Year’s resolution: “I want to learn how to turn stress into growth.”

The resolution was my response to 2020 and all of the political, psychological, and social upheaval that came with it. For most of the year, I…


How my Dad helps me redefine what it means to be healthy- at 72 or 27

About a year ago, I decided to dramatically change my lifestyle in order to get back in good health. To offer their support, my parents changed their diets and habits as well. This was an act of love on its own, but it’s even more than that if you consider something additional about my parents: my Dad is 72 this year and my Mom is just a few years younger than that (she still doesn’t like me sharing the number). …


Our felt sense is our most direct link to our needs, wants, and identity- so why don’t most of us use it?

When people talk about the truth, [they] get away with saying factual truths and calling it truth. I’m talking about full body, primal truth…It means the material reality, the feeling, and the ideas, and the words match. -Kasia Urbaniak

Introduction: A whole body compliment

When was the last time you said something and meant it with your whole body?

I asked myself that question last year as I left a very unusual class at the Russian Arts Theater…


Why we repress or deny our anger . . . and what it really costs us

For my entire life, I’ve struggled with anger more than any other emotion. And yet, few people in my life would have recognized it. Not even I recognized it until two years ago when I realized it was making me sick.

Before that point, I thought anger had no place in my personality. I prided myself on being calm, sweet, and easy to be around. When a family friend asked me in my early 20’s, “Do you get angry, Katie?” I thought for a moment and answered, “I don’t really get angry. I’m not an angry person.”

My words gave…


My personal experience using breathing and movement for healing

Out of my head and into my body

If there was any particular event that showed me I needed to get out of my head and back into my body, it was probably a singing lesson three years ago. A family friend and opera singer convinced me she could teach anyone to sing and so I stood nervously facing a music stand, following her piano arpeggios with my thin voice and hoping she was right. Every few minutes, she would pause and give me a tip to open up my voice and project it more fully. …


Three powerful techniques I’ve used to shift my brain and body

My brain has always struggled with space. As a teenager, this meant I could memorize long poems or do lightning fast mental math, but often got lost driving five minutes away from home. It meant that I could never follow a dance instructor to save my life; or that I aced college physics courses until I bombed the units involving orientations of magnetic and electric fields. It was so bad that on one occasion when I drove a college boyfriend through my hometown, he asked why I didn’t take…

Katie Critelli

Welcome! I write about aligning my life with nature, getting healthier every day, and defining the values and culture I find meaningful. Join me :)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store