This is an edited version of a podcast episode. If you prefer to listen, click Make Me Whole Podcast to find this and all my other episodes.
Hello there and welcome back! As always, I am thrilled you’ve chosen to spend the next few minutes with me. Today we’re jumping into a topic that personally interests me, and always has: the role of spirituality in mental health. Particularly the importance for myself as a Latina woman. Let’s face it. Spiritually is often a hard topic to talk about. It can feel so big, so personal. Sometimes we might even question our own beliefs, and that’s ok. Our spiritual journey, like any other journey, is filled with ups and downs. Moments of clarity and instances of doubt.
Now, why is spirituality important for mental health? Well, it expands our perspective to include things larger than ourselves. It provides a sense of purpose, connection, and peace. It acts like a compass during the rough times when everything else seems to be losing meaning. I was raised in the Catholic Church, and I’m grateful for the foundation it gave me. The rituals, the communities, the teachings. They were all stepping stones in my spiritual journey, but if I’m being honest, the most profound spiritual lessons didn’t come from within those church walls. They came from my grandmother.
Now, my grandma Aida was a unique soul. She wrestled with the morality of the church and didn’t attend regularly towards the end of her life. But, she had an amazing relationship with God. Something so intimate, so personal that it transcended the need for a physical place of worship. Every day she prayed. Not just for herself, or for our family, but for everyone she knew. She was a woman of extraordinary faith, and she held an unwavering belief in the will of God. “Nothing is done without the favor de Dios”, she would often say. From her, I learned that spirituality isn’t just about attending church or following a certain religion. It’s about fostering a personal relationship with a higher power. It’s about finding strength in that connection and using it as a beacon to guide you through the storms of life. Her lessons about faith were not taught, they were lived. They were in her kindness, her patience, her resilience, and her unwavering belief in the goodness of life, even when faced with adversity.
And that’s what spirituality is to me. It’s not dogma. It’s a lived experience, it’s faith, it’s love, it’s a deep and personal connection that uplifts and nourishes the soul. Now while this journey towards spiritual well-being can be challenging, it’s also incredibly rewarding. As we grow in our spirituality, we begin to see improvements in our mental health and self-esteem. This is especially important for us Latina women who often carry a heavier burden of cultural expectations and societal norms. It takes time, patience, and plenty of self-compassion, but the good news is every step forward, no matter how small, counts. Maybe today you take 5 minutes to meditate or perhaps you carve out a moment of purposeful gratitude in your day. Celebrate those wins, because they matter. Your mental health matters. And your spiritual path, no matter how tangled or unclear it seems at times, matters. It’s all part of making you whole.
I want to leave you with this. Take time for your spiritual health. Embrace your journey wholeheartedly and trust that no matter the twists and turns, you are on the right path for you. I want to remind you to take a moment tonight to celebrate a win from your day. Maybe it’s a spiritual win, maybe it’s not. Whatever it is, give yourself credit for it. That’s how we grow, step by step, day by day. I’ll start. Today I’m grateful for the memory that I have of my grandmother, and that I made it through today, con el favor de Dios.