What Are Glimmers and How They Can Impact Your Mental Health

Got joy? Would you notice if you did? I have been asking myself these questions for the past few years. So, when a friend sent me a text with the definition of a “glimmer” and a note saying, “This sounds like something you’d like”, it challenged me to add a glimmer quest to my joy revolution.

This article is sponsored by Neely Coaching & Training

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What are glimmers?

Have you ever felt like you are in survival mode? Just squeaking by? Or maybe you are moving at such a fast pace that you feel like a robot going through the motions each day? Glimmers are the micro-moments in your day that make you feel joy, happiness, peace, or gratitude. They can spark tranquility, safety, and connection. They produce the feeling that the world is okay even for a brief moment. Glimmers give you hope, permission to unwind, as well as a feeling of being present and grounded. They feel like home.

What happens when you notice a glimmer?

It can vary. You may feel a sudden burst of inspiration, clarity, or motivation. Glimmers can create a shift in your perspective or way of thinking. They can also inspire creativity, increase productivity, create more meaningful relationships, and greater self-awareness.

Why is this a good thing?

Your brain is wired with a protective mechanism called negativity bias. This basically means that you tend to focus on the negative and potential threats. Therefore, glimmers can pass right by you without you really taking note of them. You must be intentional about looking for the good, those moments of joy – even the small moments. There’s an energy that happens around a glimmer, and your brain marks it which can cause a boost in your mental well-being and a sense of hope.

Glimmers allow you to have a break from negative emotions which increases your ability to think logically. Because you can consider things from different perspectives, you see more possibilities, have less anxiety, and can take that first step forward. This means more motivation and more progress on what matters to you. What might get in your way? Amy Morin, editor-in-chief of VeryWell Mind notes, “Sometimes, people don’t want to feel glimmers 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 OK 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.

what are Glimmers

How can you embrace glimmers?

  • Write them down – whether you capture them in a journal or simply make a list, this will help you be deliberate about noticing them and will give you an extra boost when you re-read what you’ve written later.
  • Set an intention for your own glimmer quest – each morning remind yourself to pay attention when glimmers present themselves and then stay in the moment and savor them before quickly moving on with your day.
  • Build a glimmer community – Find a quest partner (or more than one) who you can both share your glimmers with and spread joy.
  • Increase your awareness – what are the activities, people, food, and music that make you feel energized and give rise to feelings of joy and happiness or maybe solitude and peacefulness? No glimmer is too small.
  • Consider all your senses – candles that have a scent you love, a fluffy comforter on your bed, artwork that you like to look at, a book that takes you on an emotional journey. I recently started wearing perfume again. My perfume of choice? Happy! Not only do I like the fragrance, but the act of spritzing it on reminds me to be happy.
  • Put yourself in environments that let your glimmers shine – that could be nature, a musical venue, the library, or that comfy chair in your living room. The trick is to truly be present and take it all in.
  • Take control of your social media – follow those accounts that make you feel good and calm; unfollow those that do the opposite.

Keep in mind that we cannot control the world around us. There will be challenges, uncertainty, and stress. It can be easy to get swallowed up in feeling like things are being done to us and we are helpless. Noticing glimmers is one way to take our power back! And science has found that as you begin to see glimmers, you will look for more.

What might my glimmers look like?

Everyone is different. Therefore, what brings each of us joy or inspiration will be different as well. You may not know what your glimmers are until you acknowledge them. Sometimes, you may not even know what your glimmers are until you stumble upon them. Part of the fun is the discovery. 

I’m a little bit of an HGTV geek. Recently a host of one of the shows took notice of how attached a homeowner was to a specific coffee mug. So, she made sure that mug was featured prominently in the newly remodeled kitchen. The homeowner went bananas! Why? The mug provided a daily glimmer.

I started noticing when my clients would unknowingly mention a glimmer – one loves to spend time in his garden, another talked about how much joy they get hearing their daughter practicing the piano, and another mentioned the fulfillment they felt mentoring a young person at work who wants to be a leader.

For me, I spent the past month challenging myself to pay special attention to my glimmers and enjoy those moments:

  • To simply watch my dog – how he leaps into the air with joy when he gets his morning cookie, when he gets the zoomies in the upstairs hallway, even taking in the side-eye glances he gives me when he thinks I’m not looking. 
  • To be in the moment at my niece’s wedding – how my sisters and I could not stop giggling at the silly poses we were making in the photo booth, how thankful I felt being able to hug my family that I don’t get to see often and the new family I gained that day, watching my nephew (the bride’s brother) tear up as his sister walked down the aisle, and seeing the happy couple’s visible elation when they were pronounced man and wife.
  • Watching Hallmark movies (don’t judge me) because I know there will always be a happy ending.
  • The peace and comfort I felt putting on my favorite sweatshirt and cuddling up with a soft blanket as the temperatures started cooling down.
seeing and apricating glimmers

I have also been intentional about making time for glimmers:

  • Saying no to work that does not fulfill me or causes me way too much stress gives me peace (and makes me feel empowered).
  • When I can take a lunch break during the workweek, I like to have a cup of yogurt with some nuts added while sitting on my patio. It feels comforting. I definitely miss it when I have a call or errand to run.
  • Ensuring I can find small pockets of time to either read for fun or work on a puzzle – things I enjoy that always seem to make it to the bottom of my priority list.
  • Reflecting on and appreciating the people in my life who make it (and me) better.

Start your own Glimmer Quest

Make your quest personal to you – how can you be more purposeful in identifying your glimmers? What needs to happen for you to pay attention and build on what you are observing? Do that.

Understand your glimmers and know the glimmers of others – be aware when your feelings of joy and peace increase and be curious about what might be other’s glimmers. You may be able to support their glimmer quest while also increasing your connection with them. Maybe that’s even one of your glimmers!

In a world that can wear us down and seems to constantly be running a highlight reel only of bad things, we all can benefit from focusing on hope, peace, and joy. What are you waiting for? Let your glimmer quest begin!

Debby Neely is a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation who specializes in leadership coaching and facilitation. Her business, Neely Coaching & Training, supports both formal and informal leaders in realizing their potential and in getting results. Their mission is to help you be the best you can be.

Debby Neely
Debby Neely

Debby Neely is a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation who specializes in leadership coaching and facilitation. Her business, Neely Coaching & Training, supports both formal and informal leaders in realizing their potential and in getting results. Their mission is to help you be the best you can be.

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