Glimmers: Let The Small, Seemingly Mundane Moments Lift You Up

It's rare that we go through an entire day feeling just one emotion. In a span of 24 hours, you'll probably feel happy, sad, grumpy, tired, hungry, and content. While you may notice these big feelings (they're pretty hard to ignore), you might overlook tiny sparks of pleasure that seem fleeting, such as absentmindedly patting a dog passing by or observing your favorite flower in bloom.

These moments are called glimmers, and they're actually proven to be good for our health. Coined by Deb Dana, a social worker who authored "The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy," glimmers are "small moments when our biology is in a place of connection or regulation, which cues our nervous system to feel safe or calm." We all have our triggers, which cause us to react a certain way, but it is possible to brush off anger and lead a more peaceful life. Glimmers have the opposite effect of triggers: They settle our emotions and have a soothing effect on our bodies. If you're having a particularly bad day or suffer from anxiety, you can use glimmers in your everyday life to bring you back to a calm state.

Identify glimmers that make you feel warm and fuzzy

Most of us know what stresses us out — whether it's being in a crowded place, flying, or walking into a party alone. However, how often do you think about things that bring you happiness? We're not talking about Christmas presents or finally going on a holiday to Majorca. We're referring to things that give us a feeling of safety and ease. It could be holding a baby's hand or smelling your grandmother's perfume. Or, you may hear your favorite song at the supermarket, which makes you feel nostalgic about a fun time.

Glimmers can help rewire your brain to look for the positive things in life – just as affirmations can bring positivity to your day – instead of focusing on the negative. As you get better at identifying glimmers, it'll become easier for you to see them all around you. It may be difficult at first, especially if you've experienced trauma or tend to have a pessimistic outlook, but mindful intention is the key to getting started.

Set a goal to find one glimmer a day

Actively starting out the day with the purpose of finding a glimmer may seem like a foreign concept. Our schedule is already jam-packed with important things such as meetings, a lunch date, or grocery shopping. However, when we focus on the big moments, we miss the smaller things that bring us joy. Start the morning with a new intention — find just one moment of happiness that makes you smile. You might let fate take its course and go through your day looking for a glimmer or you can set out with a specific goal, such as stopping by your favorite bakery and grabbing a muffin. This is just one example of a lifestyle habit that may help you live longer.

Like everything, nothing lasts forever, even the feeling of glimmers. However, don't let that deter you. "Sometimes, people don't want to feel them because they know those emotions won't last, or they might feel guilty for feeling good during a hard time in their lives. But trust that it's [okay] to allow yourself to experience them. Enjoy them while they last. And know that you'll have more moments of joy in the future as well," Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker, shared with USA Today. Remember, finding small moments of pleasure is like working a muscle — the more you use it, the better you'll get at identifying your glimmers.