The bus is late and packed. You have an unfinished, overdue assignment in your bag. Someone a few rows up is yelling into their phone.
Now your phone buzzes — oh great. It’s your roommate: “The cat just barfed on your bed.”
You wonder how much worse this day will get before it even starts. Then, in the midst of these anxiety triggers, you remember something that can help: You start looking for glimmers.
A purple and pink sunrise.
Your rose-scented hand lotion.
A knowing nod from a stranger who’s also trapped in commuter chaos.
Deb Dana, licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), came up with the term glimmers to describe these little encounters with joy, safety, and connection in daily life.
Glimmers are brief experiences that help your next breaths go past your chest and into your belly.
These Moments Are Rare, Right?
No, glimmers are common. And unlike triggers, glimmers help calm frayed nerves.
On the Ten Percent Happier podcast, Dana observed that you can look for glimmers anywhere, even when you’re not in a great place: “It doesn’t negate the suffering, but it reminds us that both can be present at the same time."
Go on a Treasure Hunt for Those Glowy Moments
You’ll need clues to point you in the right direction.
According to Dana and other experts who study the nervous system, your body sends you signals that it's calm. Notice what makes you feel:
Act like a journalist. Reflect on feel-good moments, then do a little digging. Dana suggests thinking about the following:
When do your shoulders relax? What makes your heart beat a little more slowly?
Remember: your glimmers might not be the same as someone else's.
Quiz: Hunting for Glimmers
You're still on the bus. Stewing about the cat, the crowd, and all the catch-up work to do, you look up as the bus screeches to the next stop.
You glance out the window. It's started raining, and there's tons of traffic.
Which view could offer glimmers? Select all that apply:
Engage Your 5 Senses
Take your brainstorming a step further and experiment! What do you touch, hear, taste, see, and smell in everyday life that creates feelings of happiness and security?
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Is This a Glimmer?
Your coworker put a bouquet of fresh flowers between your desks. What makes it a glimmer for you?
Select all that apply:
Capture and revel in life's bright moments!