What makes people happy, deep down? Experts in positive psychology contend that happiness is not merely about having good things happen to you; it has a lot to do with your response to what happens, no matter what comes your way.

Cultivating an optimistic outlook helps people feel connected to others, stay focused and calm amid the noise of a (sometimes) pessimistic world, and bounce back quickly when things go amiss. Helping your girl understand that optimism does not mean denying pain, injustice, devastation, loss, or difficult emotions but, rather, strengthens her ability to look carefully at these situations, face challenges, stay safe and healthy, and take action will help her cope with what she encounters.

As Common Sense Media’s Caroline Knorr writes, “If you're raising kids today, it can be easy to focus on the negative.” Resist that urge, and read on to learn her advice for How to Raise an Optimistic Human in a Pessimistic World.

Explore content excerpted from Your Happiest You: The Care & Keeping of Your Mind and Spirit by Judi Woodburn; illustrated by Josée Masse. American Girl Publishing, 2017. All rights reserved.