Robert A. Emmons, a professor of psychology at the US-based University of California, conducted research on how gratitude affects humans and his conclusions show that people who were in the gratitude condition feel 25 per cent happier than others. Additionally, they are more optimistic about the future.

Gulf News readers agree with this study and believe that being thankful is the beginning to a happier state of existence.

Thiruvallur A. Palani, an accounts supervisor based in Dubai, is one of them and thinks it is respectful to say ‘thank you’.

He said: “Being thankful is a way to show respect to those who help you or others. Being thankful differs from person to person. Some may expect just the word “thanks” from others, while some expect others to help out in return. And some people don’t bother about other people’s reactions.”

Palani believes that the way you behave has an impact on those around you.

He said: “When a person conveys his or her regards to another with a smile, it will motivate the other individual to not only help others but also do more good. It makes people happy. If everybody will follow, it will bring about a positive change in society. Being thankful should be taught from childhood.”

Vaishnav Rajkumar, a student based in the UAE, agreed.

He said: “Being thankful can have an immense impact on people’s lives. Sometimes, a simple ‘thank you’ can be the best way of repaying someone. People with their busy schedules often don’t find time to convey their gratitude for even the simplest of actions. We need to choose what kind of a world we want to live in — one in which people are so caught up in their own lives that they don’t appreciate others or a world in which people are grateful for everything, right down to the privileged blessing that is life.

“To me, being thankful is important as it is a means of letting someone know that I sincerely appreciate their action or thought and in the process you leave a lasting impact on the person. There is a lot in my life that I have to be thankful for right from my teachers, who have played a vital role in shaping me, to my supportive family and friends.”

Ruqayyah Merchant, another student based in Dubai, was taught to be grateful since she was a child.

She said: “Being thankful is not just a good habit, but it gives us a reality check and makes us appreciate and realise our virtue. As children, we have always been taught to thank well-wishers, but in a generation moving so fast, being grateful to those from whom we benefit nothing is the real ordeal.”

There have been moments when Merchant has realised that just through her actions, she is appreciating someone else’s efforts and leaving them happy.

She said: “At the mall food court, a simple way of thanking the cleaners is by picking up your own tray and throwing the trash away thus reducing the cleaners’ work and also leaving the table clean for the next group of people using it. In a way two people have already appreciated you. Another instance that left me overwhelmed was appreciating the washroom cleaner’s work. Day in and night she has to flush toilets and scrub floors with every passing woman ignoring her existence. All I did was buy her an ice cream and thank her for all her efforts and she was so happy, she had tears in her eyes. The men filling petrol at pumps certainly deserve to be appreciated as well. Not once have I ever come across a person who doesn’t smile and wish you well. All it takes is a minute to return the favour and thank him for his effort.”

Sunil Roy, an account director based in the UAE, thinks that being thankful for something makes both parties happy.

He said: “When I thank people, it helps me realise that someone has done something that has made my life a little easier, even if it was a part of that person’s job. The recipient also feels good that his or her effort has been recognised and will be motivated to continue the good work. In the process both of us are happier. Feeling appreciated increases the commitment and this in turn leads to a positive attitude. ‘Thank you’ are two powerful words that should become part of every individual’s daily statements. Disillusion creeps in when we start expecting thanks but we do not get it. To overcome this, it is important not to expect thanks for everything that we do.”

David Woodward, a managing partner at a Dubai-based company, thinks the habit of people saying ‘thank you’ is slowly fading away.

He said: “Saying thank you is a simple and common courtesy, which some tend to forget in today’s fast pace of life. I can only speak for myself, but it makes me feel good when someone thanks me for something I have said or done. But it is at risk unless reinforced. And it is giving way to rudeness, for example talking on your mobile phone at a shop check-out, or answering it without any apology when in the company of others or even listening to music with both ears plugged with an earpiece when in public and not knowing what is going on around you. Such distractions tend to make people forget about saying those two words, that small gesture that means so much.”