We’ve heard of triggers, but a term for their opposite — “glimmers” — has been trending recently. Glimmers are small, positive moments that spark joy and make us smile. The term was coined by clinical social worker Deb Dana, who explains that glimmers prompt our nervous system to feel calm in the moment. And recognising glimmers over and over can begin to train our brains to notice the positive around us. “We’re not talking great, big, expansive experiences,” she explains. “These are micro moments that begin to shape our system in very gentle ways.”

We asked our Thrive community to share with us the little glimmers that brighten their day. Which of these glimmers sparks joy for you?

Watching a bee in the garden

“Every time I see a bee buzzing around my garden, I am filled with joy. I once read somewhere that in its lifetime of about 40 days, a bee will produce 1/12th spoon of honey. I am so grateful for this beautiful wonderful creature and its role in the ecosystem.”

—Leticia Corbisier, leadership consultant, Brussels, Belgium

Taking beach walks

“For me, when I’m triggered, one glimmer I use includes walking on the beach and deeply breathing in the salty sea air.”

— Arielle Ford, author, La Jolla, California, USA

Buying fresh flowers

“For me, flowers are my glimmers. Whether I buy them for myself or they are given to me by someone special, they spark joy and make me happy. Each time I look at them I think of the beauty that God has created. I take the expression ‘make time to smell the roses’  literally and each time I enter my dining room I stop to inhale their sweet fragrance. Flowers calm me and make everything better.”

—Venessa Perry, CEO, Washington, DC, USA

Seeing “snow diamonds”

“Living in Canada we have a long winter, but one thing that would be a glimmer is the ‘snow diamonds’ that present themselves after a snow storm followed by blazing sunlight. They are bright and beautiful and give you hope about the day. They bring joy accompanied by a smile, knowing each one is different, as snowflakes always are.”

— Cathy Connally, co-author, Flavour with Benefits: France, Canada

Hearing our kids laugh 

“My favourite glimmers include being woken up by birdsong in the early hours, noticing the smell of a flowering shrub on my walk to work, and hearing my kids giggle at something in the other room when I’m working from home. These all remind me that life is good.”

—Bianca Riemer, leadership coach, London, UK

Watching the cat play

“I find joyful glimmers every time my kitties purr or every time I am watching them play.”

—Tina Schmidt, information security architect, Des Moines, Iowa, USA

Seeing afternoon sunlight 

“My ‘glimmers’ happen when sunlight falls in my path unexpectedly. It could be the soft rays of the sun lighting up my kitchen. Bright afternoon sunshine glittering through the leaves of trees over my head. Or when my home is bathed in a fiery orange glow from a rare twilight evening. Pay attention the next time you see sunlight pierce a window, it’ll fill you with wonder.”

—Debashri M. Dutta, writer, Bangalore, India

Listening to a song we love

“Lately, I’ve been starting my morning with that song by Edison Lighthouse called ‘Love Grows (where my Rosemary goes)’.  It’s so happy, upbeat and catchy while reminding me that we all have the power to create a trail of love in our everyday interactions. I sing my heart out every time and always end my solo concert with a smile and a sense of joy that I try to pay forward all day.”

—Victoria Lonker, technology executive, Cary, North Carolina, USA

Watercolour painting

“I watercolour on Zoom calls. The practice helps me listen, and takes the edge off the long screen time. I highly recommended it, or another creative practice that works at a desk. I like the idea Elizabeth Gilbert shares in Big Magic that creative ideas are not ours but just passing through looking for a host.”

—Josh Feldman, founder, Massachusetts, USA

Lighting a candle in the morning

“I have a ritual of opening up my home office like I’m opening up my storefront every morning. I light a scented candle and turn on the twinkle lights scattered in my bookcases. It sets the stage for the day, and my clients can even see the flickering and warmth in the background on our Zoom calls. It calms my work space while adding positive energy, and a literal glimmer!”

—Annie Bauer, coach and business strategist, Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Smelling essential oils

“Essential oils are a glimmer for me. I have 3–4 essential oil bottles close to my workstation. When I am feeling stressed, I breathe in the fragrance and savour the moment. I find my stress melting away with this quick fix. I sometimes dab some on my pulse points to further calm my nervous system down.”

—Anitha Balaraj, executive coach, Chennai, India

Looking at butterflies

“Seeing monarch butterflies always brings me back to the moment and inspires me to see the beauty all around me. They remind me of my mom and how beautiful life beyond can be. Because they gravitate to colourful flowers, the whole experience brings a smile to my face.”

—Laurie Jonas, blogger and author, Red Wing, Minnesota, USA

 

First published on 31 March 2022 at Thrive Global.

Marina Khidekel
Chief Content Officer, Thrive Global

Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive Global content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership campaigns, editorial tentpoles and partnerships, and the voice of the Thrive app. In her role, she helps people tell their personal stories of going from surviving to thriving, brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels, at conferences, and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY.

Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.

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