Why is Gratitude Important?

What Is A Token Of Gratitude? What Purpose Does It Serve?

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Many American families will gather around the Thanksgiving table each November and say what they are thankful for. Thanksgiving, for Americans, is known to be a time of expressing our gratitude, but gratitude is something we should learn to communicate daily.

A token of gratitude is when we acknowledge that someone has done something great for us, and the thanks we express to them do not match up to their act of kindness; the purpose of a token of gratitude is to show appreciation to another person. Having gratitude is shown to be vital as it helps us to live healthier and happier lives. How we view and use gratitude in our lives will directly impact the quality of our life; this is why gratitude is so essential for our health and well-being.

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It is also why our expressing gratitude should not just be limited to just Thanksgiving but gratitude should be expressed throughout the year.

What Is A Token Of Gratitude?

A token of gratitude is that you are thanking someone in some way to show them that you appreciate what they have done for you. When the words token of gratitude is expressed it implies that you are not trying to match the magnitude of what the other person has done for you, but you are seeking to find a way to thank them.

Let’s say your neighbor comes over and helps you with your garden as they know you recently had an operation. To thank this for this kind act of service, you may send them a box of chocolates and a thank you card and write inside a thank you note, “this is a small token of my gratitude for what you have done for me; I just cannot thank you enough for your help.”

The token of gratitude implies that you understand what a great act of service your neighbor has done, and you realize that the slight give you gave them does not compare to what they have done to help you with your garden.

What Purpose Does A Token of Gratitude Serve?

The saying “a token of gratitude” is to express thanks to another person while simultaneously acknowledging all they have done for you. The phrase implies that you know they have done a great act of service or done something very kind for you, and you are thanking them in this small way to show your appreciation.

Usually, when the token of gratitude is used, something else is attached to the thank you, such as a gift card, flowers, chocolates, a plant, or a nice thank you note.

Why Is Gratitude Important?

Gratitude is an essential part of life and living our lives. It has been found that people who live their life with gratitude are generally happier and healthier. Being grateful for all our blessings helps individuals be more satisfied while spiritually and mentally strong.

The word gratitude comes from the Latin word gratia or the Old French or medieval Latin meaning gratus, which means pleasing and thankful. The word gratus or appreciation is also a form of grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. When many Christians say they are full of grace, they are also grateful.

The Oxford Dictionary defines gratitude as:

“the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”

Oxford Dictionary

What is even more interesting is the synonyms of the word gratitude which include: gratefulness, thankfulness, thanks, appreciation, recognition, acknowledgment, regard, and respect. We can also add the saying “a token for gratitude,” which shows gratitude.

Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation and thankfulness for all our blessings or benefits. It is not about how much or how little we have but more about appreciating what we do have.

Gratitude is much more immense than our own life, as appreciation is about our connecting with something or someone more significant than just ourselves. It can be said that gratitude is about looking outward, not inward.

The opposite of gratitude is ungratefulness. The synonyms for ungrateful are: unappreciative, unthankful, thankless, and ungracious. In other words, being bitter, resentful, and mean-spirited or looking inward or into ourselves and our lives, an ungrateful person does not have “a token of gratitude.”

If gratitude is about being selfless, then ingratitude or being ungrateful is about being selfish. With gratitude, we look outward toward others, and with ingratitude, we look inward toward ourselves.

Gratitude is Good For Your Health

It has been shown that gratitude helps people to feel more positive emotions in life, build strong relationships, deal better with life’s anxiety, and helps to improve their health. In other words, gratitude is good for our mental, social, emotional, spiritual, and physical health and well-being.

Chi’s Small House That Had A Leaky Roof, her clothes and blankets are drying from the rain the night before.

We visited an old blind woman in a Lacquer village outside Hanoi; we do a lot of manufacturing in this village. We met this older woman we will call Chi.

Chi’s husband had died years before, leaving her with two children to raise independently. Forty years earlier, her son had left her due to a disagreement about the small family land she had; since then, her son had not come back to visit his mother.

Chi was almost entirely blind and pretty much on her own. She was so poor that she had a leaky roof and lived in a house without a toilet or sanitation facilities. Each time it rained, her home would be drenched with water.

The day we came, she had hung out her bedding and the few clothes she had to dry in the sun from the heavy rains from the night before. She was so poor she could not even afford to fix her roof, so she lived in a damp, wet, flooded house each day.

With the help of the local village, we raised some funds to help Chi fix her roof and get a small toilet for the house and some running water. Local villagers volunteered their time to help her fix up her tiny house.

The Small Alley Chi Walked Down Everyday to Express Her Token of Gratitude

Chi was so grateful for the help she had received that she would hobble down her small alley to my friend’s house to express her appreciation and blessings for what she had been given. She knew this was not much, but for her, it was her “token of appreciation” to show how much this meant to her.

(You can read more about Chi and other women we visited in his village by reading our blog post, Loneliness, Old Age and Sickness in the Villages of Vietnam, by clicking here.).

When I think of Chi, I think about what she taught me about gratitude. Chi taught me that gratitude is not about how easy or difficult your life is. Gratitude is not about whether or not you have a huge mansion or a small shack with a leaky roof – Gratitude is an attitude.

Cultivate Gratitude In Life

Cultivating gratitude in life will help you have a happy life. Gratitude is an attribute that we can all try to develop and grow. It is something we can work on to help our well-being and bless the lives of others around us.

Here are some ways you can work to cultivate gratitude in life:

Write Thank You Notes

You will be happier and nurture better relationships when you write to another person to thank them for something they have done for you. Or you can express to them your enjoyment or appreciation for them.

Send the note to them. Or better yet, if you can, deliver it to them in person and let them know how much they mean to you.

Try to get into the habit of sending at least one gratitude letter monthly. If you don’t want to write it by hand, send it by email or, better yet, tell someone in person.

Every once in a while, also give yourself a break and write a thank you note to yourself.

Developing Gratitude By Thanking Someone

Develop an attitude of gratitude by thanking someone. Thank those who do something kind for you.

Make a habit to thank strangers. If someone holds a door open for you, helps you carry a bag, or gives you a shopping cart at the grocery store – smile and thank them. Be in the habit of always saying “thank you.”

Keep A Gratitude Journal

Write down or share your thoughts about gratitude in the form of a gratitude journal. If you cannot do it in the journal, write it in a notebook or even on a post-it note that you can look at during the day. Take the time to write down all the things you are thankful for.

A gratitude journal helps you to focus on the positive things in your life.  Focusing on what you are thankful for, improves your outlook on life.

Some people use the gratitude journal as part of a regular journal and write down five things they are thankful for each day. Others may just write down what they are thankful for when they have a reason to think of those things.

However, if you decide to use your gratitude journal, it can be a powerful tool to reflect upon and think about your blessings in life.

Count Your Blessings

Take some time each week to write five things you are thankful for. If you cannot write them down you can go over the list in your mind. Actively counting your blessings will help you focus on all you are grateful for.

Pray To A Higher Being

Prayer to a higher being as God helps you to cultivate gratitude for all blessings. Express to God and list all the many blessings you are thankful for to Him. Expressing your gratitude in the form of prayer helps you to focus on your many blessings.


Mindfulness and meditation are about focusing on the present moment. It is about learning to try to clear your mind of all your worries and just focus on a word or phrase, such as peace or gratitude. Mindfulness or meditation can help you focus on your positive blessings in life.

Gratitude is not just about saying thank you to someone – it is much more than that. Gratitude is an attitude and a way of life we can all work to cultivate. If we do that, we will have a happier and healthier lives than we can imagine.

What Things Can We Learn From Our Ancestors?

We learn from our ancestors that family matters, education is essential, and change can happen in life, so we need to learn to deal with it. We also learn that people only know your story if you write it down and that our family traditions are important. We also learn from our ancestors about compassion, love, and gratitude.

To discover more, you can read our blog What Things Can We Learn From Our Ancestors? by clicking here.

What Are Some Lessons Learned in Grit and Perseverance From Nomadic Herders in Mongolia?

In Mongolia, Nomadic herders spend their lives in very harsh conditions. Life is harsh, and the weather is extreme, yet they continue to keep on going as they know that things will eventually get better. The Mongolian nomadic herders can teach us some important lessons in life, such as that bad things can happen in our lives, but we can choose not to be bitter. We can also choose to be grateful for all our blessings while at the same time we can get up and get to work.

You can discover more by reading our blog 5 Lessons in Grit and Perseverance From Nomadic Herders in Mongolia by clicking here.

Anita L Hummel
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