Searching for Glimmers of Joy
So, it turns out I’m kind of a cutting edge groundbreaker! 🤣
I recently saw a reel on Instagram that talked about ‘glimmers,’ and it struck me that I TOTALLY take notice of glimmers — I just never knew they had a name!!
Are you curious about glimmers? I was, too!
Licensed clinical social worker, Deb Dana, coined the term ‘glimmers’ in her book, The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation.
Dana explained that glimmers are the opposite of triggers. Rather than a cue that prepares your body to take action in order to stay safe (think, fight or flight), a glimmer cues your body for calm and safety (think, rest & digest). Glimmers activate the parasympathetic nervous system and move the body into a feeling of safety and connection.
Why is this important to me??
So many clients come to me struggling with balance - kids, work, daily routines, etc. They feel like they are putting out fires all day long and not experiencing the joy in parenting. And, because of that, their tolerance level is paper thin.
How do we increase tolerance? By lowering our stress levels. How do we lower our stress levels? Well, one way is to allow more joy into our lives…More micro-moments of self care.
This idea around Glimmers is a reminder that there is so much joy out there that goes unnoticed - we just have to look for it!
Your brain is wired to find the challenges and dangers in life. It’s time to retrain your brain to find the good and the joy in your days!
Here’s how I take notice of glimmers -
When I notice myself feeling fully connected with what I'm doing, who I’m with or where I am, I take a mental screenshot. I check in with my heart and my senses to pay close attention to all the sensations I’m experiencing at that very moment — the way the sun feels, the sounds of laughter, the feeling of connectedness with my family, the colors of the sky…whatever it may be, I just pause and allow myself to recognize, process and take it allllll in!
I use this little hack as one of my self-care practices. It’s quick, easy, doesn’t cost a dime and brings me peace and joy.
In the moment, glimmers allow me to slow down and savor an experience. They remind me to delight in the present, count my blessings and remember that all things are passing.
Glimmers also allow me to revisit all those special spaces. When I need a little pick-me-up, I can pause and ‘open’ one of my glimmers. In an instant, I’m reconnected with all those feelings once again!
I’m guessing you could easily rattle off a list of things that trigger you. That would make sense since the human brain is designed to watch for warning signals to keep us safe. Because of this, it takes a bit of work to spy glimmers in our everyday lives. We have to be more intentional to spot them.
Ready to start finding glimmers in your day?
Here are 5 tips to get you started!
1- Put down your phone! — Stop occupying every free moment with a scroll. Just slow down and take the time to check in on yourself and your surroundings.
2- Practice mindfulness — When you’re noticing a moment full of joy and connection, pause and soak it all in! Get in touch with your senses to bottle up all those sensations.
3- Break out your photos — Looking through photos could bring you back to special moments and spark some glimmer into your day. I can still feel the warm water and the soft sand as my son and I searched for sea glass during our sunrise walk in the photo above!
4- Essential Oils & Candles — Find a candle or essential oil that smells like the beach or a favorite past vacation. Scents can trigger memories and quickly bring you to your happy place.
5- Challenge Yourself — Try and fill your day finding glimmers rather than triggers. Can you find small glimmers as you go through your day? How can you challenge yourself to take notice of a glimmer in the smallest moments? Maybe a cup of coffee, a friendly stranger, a cozy blanket, or snuggles with your child or pet?
What you focus on grows! If you actively look for glimmers throughout your day, you will certainly be more open to spotting them. Include them into your self-care routine and help bring yourself to a calmer state. What a gift for your parasympathetic nervous system and YOU!
I wonder where will you find glimmers in your day?
Happy glimmer hunting!
Rebecca Murphy, Certified PCI® Parent Coach.