Finding "Glimmers" in Everyday Life

Finding "Glimmers" in Everyday Life
Photo by MI PHAM / Unsplash

What brings you joy in life?

Is it the aroma of a freshly brewed cup of coffee? The melody of a song that reminds you of a specific memory? Perhaps it’s the first ray of sunlight hitting your face in the morning, or the cheerful chirping of birds outside your window. Maybe it’s the warmth of a tight hug or the sensation of a soft breeze against your skin. Sometimes, joy can be found in a heartfelt conversation with a friend, an outdoor stroll, or just ten minutes of blissful meditation. I know people find joy in dancing their hearts out to their favorite songs. These are the glimmers that brighten up our days and everyday existence.

I recently attended a conference, and on the last day of the conference, the keynote speaker spoke about the importance of self-care and finding joy in everyday life. She wasn’t referring to big milestones in life like landing a job, getting promoted, buying a house, or starting a family. Rather, she was talking about little things in everyday life that bring joy to us. She referred to these micro-moments of joy as “Glimmers” and I found the concept fascinating.

We are often driven to pursue big goals and milestones, but in doing so, we tend to overlook the little moments of joy that keep us thriving in our daily lives. Life is made of all these little moments. Sometimes, a stranger making eye contact and saying hello can brighten up your day, or a warm hug can melt your heart. A compliment on your haircut, nail color, or shoes can bring a moment of happiness. And when you see genuine happiness in someone's eyes after you express gratitude or love, it warms your heart. These fleeting moments of joy, relaxation, calm, and happiness are the glimmers of life.

It turns out it was not the keynote speaker who came up with the concept of glimmers, it was actually first coined by a licensed social worker named Deb Dana in her book “The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy” back in 2018.

We are all familiar with triggers- the events and stimuli that invoke negative reactions in our brains. Glimmers, on the other hand, are the opposite of triggers. You might hear someone say, “Oh that person or that thing triggered me, and I reacted negatively.” While triggers may lead to stress or anxiety, glimmers can ignite a sense of joy and contentment.

As humans, we are wired to be on the lookout for potential threats. Being vigilant is our survival mechanism, and that’s how we evolved. However, we can rewire our brains to prioritize joy and well-being by consciously identifying and savoring the positive moments, no matter how tiny they are. Sounds like a pretty good idea to me, doesn't it?

Since learning about glimmers, I've been trying to be more intentional about recognizing things in my day-to-day life that bring joy to me. With spring in full bloom, the chirping of birds is my favorite music to listen to these days. Just opening my window and listening to the birds brings me so much joy every day. Whether I'm working from my room at home or walking outside, just noticing the birds' sounds brings instant joy to my life. And those colorful wildflowers growing everywhere make me so happy. I have definitely become more observant and experienced more moments of pure joy lately.

As you are reading this piece, has something resonated with you so far? What are your glimmers? They need not be bird sounds or wildflowers, as I'm sure you have your own sources of joy. For example, one of my co-workers sounds so excited and happy for her cup of coffee in the morning. Perhaps her glimmer is the first sip of her morning coffee.

I guess my main message here is staying attuned to our environment. We are already overstimulated with several things going on in our regular lives. Identifying and embracing our glimmers is a way to welcome little bursts of happiness into our lives. So, why not make time for something that makes us happy?

I cannot stress enough the power of gratitude practice as we talk about glimmers. No matter what, there are always a few things in daily life to be thankful for. So, keeping a gratitude journal or a regular journal to reflect on our day can further multiply the joy in our lives, constantly reminding us of the abundance that surrounds us.

So, dear friends, allow yourself to pause, identify, and embrace these moments. Pay attention to what sparks joy in you, look for patterns, make time for your hobbies, and reflect on the moments when you smiled or laughed genuinely. Acknowledge and appreciate the simple, ordinary moments because it’s the simplest pleasures that bring the greatest joy! 😊

Please feel free to share your glimmers in the comment box below!

Thanks for swinging by!

See you in the next blog post!