As a child, whenever you were given something tangible (gifts) or intangible (compliments), you were taught to always acknowledge it by saying 'thanks' or 'thank you' because it was the right thing to do. You were being polite. But did you know that being thankful or grateful has other effects on the body as well? Research has shown that gratefulness is good for your health and mental well-being.

Just to clarify, there is a difference between mouthing off a 'thanks' and being grateful. The former is usually automatic. Someone gives you a paperclip and, without even thinking about it, you say thanks almost instantenously. The latter, on the other hand, is really appreciating the gift, gesture, thought – whatever it is, that you have received.

What happens to the body when you are truly grateful? Why is being grateful empowering? How does being grateful affect your outlook in life?

Let's answer the questions chronologically because they are all interconnected. When you consciously try to be thankful for what you have – both the good and the bad – you trigger the 'happy hormones' in your body. The endorphins, dopamine and serotonin in your system kicks into full gear and you feel lighter and more elated. Studies show that being more appreciative leads to beneficial alterations in heart rates, which may relieve hypertension and reduce the risk of heart diseases.

Furthermore, your mental state is affected positively as well. Your psyche reverts back to its natural state: which is of happiness, joy, peace and bliss. You block out the negativity and your attention is diverted from thoughts of 'what needs to be done' to acknowledgement of the thoughts of what 'has already been accomplished'.

When you are no longer worried about all the things that you think are going wrong with your life, and are focusing on those that you have achieved, you feel better. You feel empowered because you know that you can accomplish things, and you have accomplished much. You become more confident because you know (and history can prove it) that you are a capable individual.

Armed with the knowledge that you have worth, you would eventually begin to look at things differently. You no longer shirk at the thought of problems – but face them head on. You learn to appreciate the little things that you once took for granted. You focus on the positive aspects of now, instead of the negative possibilities of tomorrow. You become less fearful of the unknown because you know that you can handle whatever comes your way.Noted Canadian-born self-help author Brian Tracy sums up the importance of being grateful in this one sentence: “Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”

If that's not enough for you to practice gratefulness on an every day basis, remember that according to Hazrat Inayat Khan, “A person, however learned and qualified in his life's work in whom gratitude is absent, is devoid of that beauty of character which makes personality fragrant'.

Author's Bio: 

Matthew Ferry a Life Coach,The Life Coaching Company Matthew Ferry International offers life coaching training, life coach training, law of attraction and dozens of training products and seminars relating to the law of attraction to help you find your passion and love your life.