It is not a coincidence that our world is struggling with mental illness now more than ever before and a large reason, possibly the biggest, is that we are being suffocated by negative news all of the time.

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The National Library of Medicine released a study that showed the correlation between negative news and the increase in the level of cortisol which is the body’s primary stress hormone. In other words, the more negativity in a person's life, the more stress they'll feel, and the more stress a person feels, the more they emit those feelings to those around them.

Friends, family, newspapers, television, social media. Our world is drowning in ugliness and the sad reality is that the longer a person trudges through junk, the deeper they get sucked into it. If there ever was a time that our world needed to raise its collective hands out of the muck and claw for solid ground, this would be it.

Finding light in the darkness isn't something that comes naturally to most people and I'll be the very first to admit that seeking out small joys in my daily life can be a challenge, but it's one that I am constantly working on. While I stumble here and there, I have made the choice to do my best to live a life of intentional joy and I challenge you to do the same.

Contrary to those intent on squashing happiness, intentional joy doesn't mean being delusional or living in ignorance of what's happening in the world. Intentional joy means being fully aware of the darkness, but intentionally seeking out the light within it.

My husband and I got sick in December and what we experienced was the worst illness that either of us could remember. Functioning for our child was a daily struggle, but we did it and we came out of it just fine. The intentional joy that we found in the midst of being a pandemic statistic was knowing that neither of us had been around my severely immunocompromised parents before we got sick. The joy in knowing that we didn't share something with them that could have claimed their lives is one we will be forever grateful for.

Detoxify your soul and spread your light. You'll be amazed at what an uplifting impact it has not only on you but all of those around you.

Four Simple Ways to Feel More Grateful