The phrase “attitude is everything” has long been used to help inspire and motivate people of all ages. And in honor of Positive Thinking Day, recognized on Sunday, September 13, Apex Leadership Co. offers tips to help students take control of their “attitude,” work towards positive thinking, and change their lives for the better!

Positive thinking has so many positive benefits! Being a positive thinker can help people handle challenges and solve problems — it can even be good for one’s health. In fact, Johns Hopkins’ expert Lisa R. Yanek, M.P.H., and her colleagues found that “positive people from the general population were 13 percent less likely than their negative counterparts to have a heart attack or other coronary event.” For the study, Yanek and her team determined “positive” versus “negative” outlook using a survey resource that assessed a person’s cheerfulness, energy level, anxiety levels and satisfaction with health and overall life.

Thinking positively might not come naturally to all students, but there are little things everyone can do to change their attitude and create a more positive outlook. The article on the John Hopkins Medicine website suggests simply smiling or trying to find humor during moments of stress or frustration. The article states, “A University of Kansas study found that smiling—even fake smiling—reduces heart rate and blood pressure during stressful situations. So try a few minutes of YouTube humor therapy… It’s difficult not to smile while watching a favorite funny video.” Most students can relate to that. Need some silly inspiration for a few laughs? Check out some of the Apex Squad’s challenge videos such as the Pancake Art Challenge or the Pass the Pumpkin Challenge.

When faced with a frustrating, stressful or difficult situation, students can also change their attitude through gratitude. Instead of thinking about all the bad or negative parts of a situation, they can think about the positive aspects. It’s also important to consider what students can control — and what they can’t. When faced with a challenging subject in school or a tough teacher, they might not be able to control the situation, but they can take control of their role in managing it by studying hard, seeking help from a study group or tutor, or spending time with the teacher in office hours to help get a handle on the subject matter.

While parents and guardians may want to create perfect scenarios for their children, it’s also important to help them understand adversity is part of life — and their outlook upon challenges can make those situations easier or more difficult to navigate. By accepting the fact that nothing (or no one!) is perfect and that change is inevitable, children can become more resilient to challenges. And by looking on the bright side, they can learn to rise to and overcome those challenges with a positive attitude.

Parents, students and teachers alike can use September 13 — Positive Thinking Day — as a jumping off point to commit to thinking on the bright side in everyday life and in every situation. Eventually, thinking positive will come more naturally and can make a difference in how students handle stressful or difficult situations.