On the first day of fourth grade, Mrs. Lovelace told us, “Attitude is everything.” She repeated it frequently, insisting a positive mental attitude meant greater happiness in life. This sounded fishy to me, like we were supposed to force ourselves to be overly cheerful even when we felt sad. As time went on, I learned that having a positive mental attitude is more closely aligned with having a can-do mentality.
The best definition I’ve seen comes from Kendra Cherry, MS, a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist featured on Positive Psychology and VeryWellMind. She defines a positive mental attitude as “approaching life’s challenges with a positive outlook. It does not necessarily mean avoiding or ignoring the bad things; instead, it involves making the most of the potentially bad situations...viewing yourself and your abilities in a positive light.” Positive mental attitude is a habit you can easily develop—even if you’re a cynical fourth grader.