When people discuss spiritual health, they often center on religious ideals and beliefs. Be it about gods, prayers, or church services, it’s often said that one cannot have spiritual health without being involved in a religion. I’m here to say that’s not the case. Spiritual health is something that everyone can achieve, with or without religion. Simply put, spiritual health is all about yourself and the life you choose to live.

For much of my life, I was in between religions. Raised Lutheran, I became disenchanted with some of the ideals the church supported. I wandered and studied for several years before finally coming upon Zen Buddhism in my freshman year of college. The thing I realized in my many studies is that spirituality is not inherently about praising a deity or regularly attending a church. While those things do help many people, not everyone will be religious. And that’s okay.

Spirituality is, in a way, the most human aspect of each and every person. A person’s spirituality can stem from a number of sources, and not just what they are taught in Sunday School. It’s about connecting with the people around you and seeing who they are, what they do, and who they can be. It’s about forming bonds with not only you friends, but those who may not always be in your favor. It’s about love, not romantic love, but the love of life and where you are.

Some people pray every day to connect with their spiritual side. Some meditate. Some read scientific texts. Every one of these options is just as good as any other. It’s important to see life as a journey, and one with its ups and downs. And everyone is on that same journey. While they may take others paths, everyone is headed to the same place in the end. During this journey, you will make many choices, and pursue many different beliefs. While you may follow a religion, religion is not necessary to have spiritual health. When you find that reason for your existence, spirituality will come.

More than anything, spiritual health is the connection to something bigger than you. Whether it’s God, the trees, the stars, your friends, or the world you live in that leads you to feel connected, what matters is to feel that you are a part of something and able to contribute to something better. We all have a strong connection to this planet, and will likely never see another. It’s the bonds and beliefs you form throughout your life that form your own unique spirituality. And that’s the most important aspect. It’s your spirituality, not anyone else’s. Everyone’s beliefs will differ. It’s the journey, which formed those beliefs that make us who we are, and we should be proud of them. So embrace them. Embrace your life, embrace your thoughts, and embrace your own unique view of the world.

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Nathaniel Nelson

Nathaniel is graduated in 2017 with a Journalism major and Film Studies minor. He is from Buffalo, MN and spends his time listening to chill beats, going on long barefoot walks around town, making pewpew noises while building plastic robots and reading up about internet fashion.