Gratitude is a powerful human emotion. By conveying and receiving a simple thank you, we can truly derive the pleasure that we seek everywhere else. Gratitude, derived from the Latin word gratia, means gratefulness or thankfulness. In its simplest form, gratitude refers to a state of thankfulness or a state of being grateful.Theres no denying that we all want to aspire for the best, and theres nothing wrong with that, but sometimes, taking a step back and being grateful for the things we do have at this moment, can make a huge difference in how we feel. Gratitude exudes feelings of happiness, which ultimately has an impact on how we interact with the world. Here is how gratitude affects our mental health.In todays world, it is easier to focus on the negatives and think of the things you dont have. However, counting every little blessing can uplift your mood. Scientifically speaking, the limbic system is the part of the brain that is responsible for all emotional experiences. It consists of the thalamus, hypothalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus. Studies have shown that hippocampus and amygdala, the two main sites regulating emotions, memory, and bodily functioning, get activated with feelings of gratitude. Dr Mantosh Kumar, senior consultant psychiatrist, Sukoon Health, Gurgaon says, Studies have found that people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed, less anxious, and also less stressed. They experience fewer negative emotions (like jealousy, anger, etc.) as gratitude seems to shift the attention away from such emotions, as you focus on the positive aspects of your life. When you are grateful, you also pay more attention to yourself and take good care of your physical health. Dr Kuman elaborates, Being grateful and expressing gratitude has a positive effect on physical health, like decreased blood pressure and cardiovascular problems, fewer head and body aches, decreased gastrointestinal problems, and decreased respiratory infections.An important change one needs to make to be grateful is a shift in mind set. A conscious effort in changing your pattern of thoughts towards a positive one helps immensely. Dr Kumar suggests the following to bring about a shift in your mind set:- A gratitude journal is a great way to list down the things you are grateful for and track your thought patterns. Write about all the good things that have happened to you and elaborate as much as you can. Be sure to also include the names of the people you are grateful for as it strengthens your bond with them. You can make this a daily habit, or update the journal every two days.- You could also write a letter to the person you are grateful for, which you may or may not choose to share with them.- Going back to the basics, make it a point to say please and thank you when you are interacting with someone so they feel valued too, and the feelings will be reciprocated.Additionally, you could also try praying, meditation, and mindfulness which are some other practices that help express gratitude, as it helps put your thoughts together.