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Triggers and Glimmers: A Guide to Emotional Well-being Part 2

"Trigger" is a word we’ve become intimately familiar with over the years, but recently, buzz has surrounded the opposite of triggers: glimmers. In our last blog post, we discussed triggers; what they are, how to spot them, and how to cope with them. Today we will cover the opposite of a trigger, a glimmer.  In this article, you’ll learn what glimmers are, why they matter, and how to embrace them in your daily life.

What is a glimmer?

Glimmers are tiny micro-moments of joy that allow us to feel calm and give us a sense of inner peace, a term coined by Deb Dana, LCSW, psychotherapist and author. Imagine seeing the light peer into your room on a calm morning, or the smell of the perfume you wore on your first date with your partner. Different stimuli that encourage feelings of joy, peace, or serenity. Unlike big moments that bring on positive feelings, like graduating, getting promoted, or moving to a new city, glimmers are small everyday moments that bring on warm feelings. 

Just like a glimmer of light, which can be missed if you aren’t really looking, emotional glimmers are tiny sparks of joy. The more we focus our attention on them, the more we see that light and love surround us on a daily basis. 

A glimmer can be:

  • Rays of light shining through the clouds
  • Finding an angel number 
  • Hearing a song you haven’t heard in a long time
  • An unexpected call from someone you love
  • The smell of rain, freshly cut grass, or a nostalgic perfume 
  • Your pet snuggling up to you or wanting to play 
  • That first sip of your morning tea or coffee
  • Finding just the thing you were looking for
  • Lighting a candle after deep cleaning 
  • Getting an item you’ve had on your wishlist… on sale!

Why Glimmers Matter

1. Glimmers can calm our nervous system down

Our nervous system serves as our body's surveillance system. The nervous system is critical to our emotional health. Both our moods and emotional responses are regulated by the nervous system. Our nervous system allows us to experience a wide range of emotions and react accordingly, influencing our social interactions and overall well-being. 

Every day, without even being conscious of it, our nervous system is constantly scanning our surroundings. When our nervous system senses danger (a trigger) it sends out an alert for our fight or flight response to kick in. When our nervous system senses a glimmer, a cue for safety, we become more socially engaged. When our nervous system picks up on a glimmer, we feel more calmed and relaxed. (Ref: Therapy With Abby

2.  Glimmers enhance connections

Glimmers enhance our connection with ourselves and others.. Glimmers often involve connecting with the people and environment around you. Small acts of kindness like holding the door, offering assistance to someone in need, or sending a thoughtful message can create positive glimmers. These interactions reveal that we are all connected, creating a sense of belonging. We also learn more about ourselves the more we pay attention to our glimmers. For example, when you tune into your internal state, you may notice how calm you feel when you hear the rain outside. Whether it's sharing a laugh with a friend or taking a moment to appreciate nature, these connections are essential for our well-being.

3. Glimmers improve your ability to manage triggers

In our last blog post, we talked about ways to manage triggers. Another way to help offset the stress or anxiety triggers can bring on is by tuning into what calms us down. Once aware that our nervous system is in a state of arousal, we can take a moment to breath deeply and turn our mind to more positive stimuli. The next time you begin to feel triggered, try taking a breath and notice three things in your environment that spark joy. 

4. Glimmers help reduce stress

As we tune into our nervous system in a more positive way, our stress levels decrease. With both triggers and glimmers, our nervous system becomes activated. However, we experience glimmers during a relaxed state. By taking more notice of our glimmers, and seeking out more of them, we decrease our stress levels. 

5. They make you feel happy

Glimmers simply feel good! Glimmers often involve things you feel grateful for. Harvard Health reported that practicing gratitude has been linked to increased happiness and better quality of life. In addition, experiencing glimmers can lead to the release of dopamine, the brain chemical associated with pleasure and reward. This can create a sense of happiness and satisfaction.


How to start embracing glimmers in your daily life?

Glimmers are specific to the person, they are unique to you and your life’s experiences. When we are too preoccupied to notice these small happenstances, we miss out on those small, special moments. Noticing your glimmers begins with calming the inner chatter of the mind and being aware of your surroundings. Practicing mindfulness opens the door for us to recognize moments where we feel calm, content, and happy.

1. Unplug and observe

In our modern world, we tend to go a hundred miles an hour. There are emails to check, notifications reminding us to plug in with our social networks, and unread texts to reply to. By dedicating a few moments each day to tuning out digital noise, we increase our awareness of the world around us. This increased awareness allows us to notice small, beautiful moments we may have otherwise missed. 

2. Journal about a glimmer that stood out to you that day 

Creating habits around our positive moments reinforces them in our psyche. A daily journaling practice of any kind is very impactful in maintaining a sense of stability within ourselves. Going the extra step to reflect on what brought us joy that day is even more powerful.

 3. Take photos of places or things that remind you of glimmers

Photos can be reminders of special moments in our lives. When safe and appropriate, snap a photo of the little things that make you smile. Over time, you’ll see just how many little things in life spark joy. 

4. Share the positive feeling that glimmers bring

Use your glimmers to spark joy for someone else. Text or call a loved one and ask them what makes them smile. When we feel good, one of the best things we can do is share that feeling with those around us. 

5. Remember that glimmers are a reminder of the good in the world 

As you can see, glimmers are everywhere, just waiting to be discovered. In a world with so much negativity, it is crucial for us to acknowledge the beauty and light in the world as well.

At Inside Then Out,  we believe that holistic well-being also encompasses mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Glimmers are the small but mighty ingredients that add joy to our lives. By savoring these moments, we can enhance our overall wellness, reduce stress, and lead happier, more fulfilled lives. Take the time to appreciate the glimmers in your life, and watch as they lead you down the path to holistic wellness.


We want to keep the conversation going. Comment below, what do you think about glimmers?


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