Sunderland are currently just one point above the Premier League drop zone at present, but the Wearsiders are taking heart from the great escape they pulled off last season.
The North East outfit were in even greater danger of losing their top-flight standing in 2013/14, but they managed to get out of trouble and Van Aanholt says that they are using those experiences as motivation heading forward.
“Everyone in the dressing room is positive. We all believe we can get out of this," he said. “If you are going to stay up, you have to stay positive.
“Some of the lads who were here last year have said we were in a much worse position at this stage last season and got out of it. Of course, I wasn’t here then, but I want to make sure we survive again.”
Sunderland need to raise their spirits on the back of what has been a difficult run of results, and the fact they have experience of a relegation dogfight could benefit them.
The bulk of the players in the Black Cats' current team were involved in their survival fight last term and they can draw on those experiences and emotions over the coming weeks.
Sunderland still have six games in which to to gather enough points to see them safe, and the first of these comes against Stoke City this weekend.
Sunderland travel to the Britannia Stadium desperate for the victory and will be hoping that this is the game in which they can finally kick-start their season.