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March/April 2023 Reflections

Updated: May 13, 2023


Spring has sprung here in the Northern hemisphere and I have the open windows to prove it. As the fresh air breezes through my home, I'm inspired to shed any lingering winter heaviness and embrace the lightheartedness of the shifting season. The signs are all around...longer days, clearer skies, wilder flowers, chirpier birds, and squirrelier squirrels. Are you also noticing the glimmers of rebirth and newness?


Speaking of glimmers...are you familiar with the definition of a glimmer as the opposite of a trigger? I wholeheartedly love this concept, so I'm sharing it with you here in case you missed it. While triggers are commonly understood as things that bring us stress and anxiety, glimmers are tiny moments throughout the day that bring us small bursts of joy and happiness. Whether internal or external cues, glimmers spark a sense of relaxation, safety, connection, and a feeling that the world is OK even for a fleeting moment. In our overstimulated lives, recognizing and appreciating glimmers may help us regulate our overwhelmed nervous systems.

According to this USA today article, Deb Dana, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in complex trauma, coined "glimmers" in her 2018 book "The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy," referring to small moments when our biology is in a place of connection or regulation, which cues our nervous system to feel safe or calm. "We're not talking great, big, expansive experiences of joy or safety or connection," she says. "These are micro moments that begin to shape our system in very gentle ways."

Just as triggers are personal, so are glimmers. For reference, here are some possible examples of glimmers:

  • Feeling cozy and comfortable within a certain space

  • Petting your furry friend

  • Feeling heard and validated by a friend, family member, or co-worker

  • Seeing a rainbow after a storm passes

  • Coming around the bend and seeing you favorite skyline or landmark

  • Gazing up at the stars on a clear night

  • Looking out at the ocean and seeing the sunlight bounce off the waves

  • Noticing the smile of a stranger or seeing a happy elderly couple walk by

  • Capturing the perfect photo

  • Hearing your favorite song on the radio

  • Listening to the chirp of birds as you walk outside

  • Smelling fresh cut grass, laundry, or spring rain

  • That first sip of coffee in the morning

Want to discover your glimmers? Think of a moment you had—no matter how fleeting it may have been—when you felt safe and connected, whether with yourself or with others. Glimmers will feel a little different in everyone’s bodies, but they’re generally those warm-fuzzy feelings where you feel cozy and safe inside. You may want to keep a journal of glimmers as you get to know what brings you moments of joy. Because even with all it's stress, anxiety, and triggers the world is still a beautiful place. So go out there and find your glimmers!

With a grateful heart,

Kristen

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