Being mindful of the things you appreciate in life can have amazing benefits, especially if you make a habit of it.

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A great day at work, the rain stopping just before you run for the bus, or even a thumbs up from family after they’ve had the first taste of dinner... Whatever they might be, there will always be moments in your life to feel grateful for. They may seem like fleeting mood-boosters, but have you ever considered how you could use these moments to support your mental wellbeing in the long run? Here’s how to create a gratitude ritual and make it a part of your mental health routine.

The benefits

Regularly practicing gratitude can have remarkable effects on your wellbeing, with some research suggesting that gratitude may be associated with better sleep and focus1. It could also enhance and strengthen personal relationships2, which is not only good for you, but your family and friends too! Feeling appreciative for some things might often seem to boil down to external forces (after all, you’re probably most often grateful for things like a bit of good luck or someone’s kindness), but that doesn’t mean you can’t give your feelings of gratitude a helpful nudge in the right direction.

READ MORE: How gratitude makes you happier and healthier

While we all have our own daily rituals, different lifestyles and personalities mean that they can take a lot of forms, and your own set of rituals might be vastly different from someone else’s. Finding the right habit or ritual for you can mean the difference between sticking to it and letting it slip away. Regardless, whichever way you decide to appreciate the good things in life - big or small - know that you’re building on that sense of happiness within yourself.

So, let’s take a look at some gratitude ritual ideas.

Your very own gratitude journal

When was the last time you put your thoughts into writing? Not your thoughts about your work deadlines. Not your thoughts about your budget for the week. Your thoughts about you. Being aware of what you’re thankful for means taking the time to think about your experiences, and a great way to remember them is to write them down. Spend a few minutes each day writing down what you’re grateful for. It doesn’t have to be big — it could be as small as being grateful for the taste of your morning coffee. Whatever you’re feeling grateful for is completely up to you, as is how many ‘gratitude entries’ you’d like to put on your list. If you’re not feeling up to a once a day commitment, remember that it’s your ritual to help your wellbeing. Why not make a habit of it every few days, or even once a week?

Digital vs. analogue

If reading the word ‘journal’ has you reaching for the nearest pen, then you might want to find a diary-style book that you can write your gratitudes in. Don’t forget to err on the smaller side if you want to keep it with you throughout the day. On the other hand, don’t be put off if you want your ritual to stay in the digital sphere. Using a notes or calendar app on your phone, tablet or computer is an easy way to keep your gratitude journal as tech-savvy as you are. And for the super-organised, set yourself a daily or weekly reminder to spend a few minutes on what’s making you grateful.

Are you the arty type?

Why not add a little extra flair to your gratitude ritual by taking photos of things that make you feel grateful? With high-quality cameras infused into almost all of our devices, there’s never been a better time to take a quick snap. Keeping a visual diary of what you’re grateful for can help you make a quick and powerful association with feelings of thankfulness and mindfulness.

READ MORE: How mindfulness makes you calm, clear and focused

Something a little more jarring

Just like some people use piggy banks to save up their money one coin at a time, a great spin on your gratitude ritual could be to create a ‘gratitude jar’. Whenever you think of something you’re grateful for, write it out on a bit of paper and pop it in the jar. You’ll feel the same benefits as writing in a journal, plus you’ll get the added boost of positivity when you decide to open the jar and read them all at once. Don’t forget - it’s up to you to decide whether you set yourself a scheduled time to open it up, or just wait until it’s full. Either way, having a tangible collection of gratitudes waiting for you to read can be a great reminder to focus on your wellbeing.

Did you know eligible Medibank members can earn rewards with the Medibank Live Better App? Like a gift card from our partners, simply by looking after their health and wellbeing.

Download the Medibank Live Better App to set your mindfulness goals and start earning points today.

Must be 18 years or over and have a valid Australian residential address to register for Medibank Live Better. Must be a Medibank member with hospital cover, extras cover, or hospital and extras cover, be up-to-date with premium payments and have signed up to Medibank Live Better with ‘My Medibank’ or have linked their MyMedibank account with their Live Better account to redeem rewards. Excludes Overseas Visitor health cover, Working Visa health cover, Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), Ambulance only cover, ahm covers and other selected covers. Additional terms and conditions may apply to the redemption of a reward depending on the type of reward chosen. See full Medibank Live Better terms here.

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1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19073292

2 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279403394_Gratitude_in_Practice_and_the_Practice_of_Gratitude