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| By Wellvyl Media Editorial

Sexuality, stress, and spirituality. Coming to terms with core spiritual beliefs often goes overlooked as sources of our stress. Spiritual stress arises when there is a crisis of values, meaning, purpose, or misalignment of one’s spiritual beliefs. It may sound like some Woo-Woo concept but psycho-spiritual stress is becoming a real thing worth considering.

We can experience psycho-spiritual stress when we feel that our lifestyle is incompatible with the traditional beliefs of our community and upbringing. Many Latino/Latina LGBTQ individuals from religious families experience excruciating alienation and hesitate to come out because they do not want to discredit their family name in the eyes of the Church or their communities.

Coming out would also compound alienation. In the Latino community, the religious environment provides social support, a coherent worldview, meaning and direction in life, structured activities, and emotional/spiritual satisfaction. Not “fitting into the mold” could mean multiple losses, including the loss of friends and family support.

Lifestyle prejudices from religiously conservative communities can have a profound effect on their members who see themselves as “living on the moral fringe”. Research shows that experiencing disapproval from parents or religion because of your sexual identity or choice of lifestyle results in “internalized stigma”.


The cumulative stress caused by profound self-loathing and guilt can create massive physical health issues throughout the body. According to the Mayo Clinic, for example, gay people who live in communities with high levels of anti-gay prejudices have a shorter life expectancy of 12 years.  

What also furthers to deepen psycho-spiritual stress is having a perceived sense of abandonment. A series of emotional disturbances such as anxiety attacks, hopelessness, psychological burnout, confusion, and depression are some of both short and long-term symptoms of psycho-spiritual stress symptoms. Theses agonizing psychological experiences can prompt feelings of isolation and further one’s sense of not belonging.

What I find fascinating here is that the experience of spiritual stress is largely brought about when there is a lack of acceptance, support, and inclusion. It is not just communities themselves, but it is through communities who provide unconditional acceptance and support that help to manifest our spiritual well-being. We find ourselves connected to a larger purpose by virtue of being connected to each other. No matter our disposition, the unconditional love of genuine communities is a pure demonstration we are held by a higher power, that there is no need to fear.   

Read more stories for the soul in search here.