The Power of Glimmers Over Gratitude 

Most people are familiar with the term, triggers. They are events or words or places that can cause a person to relive the stress of a traumatic experience. As I grieve, I find there are many triggers in my day. But have you heard of glimmers? 

Glimmers Are Personal.

A glimmer is something that recalls a pleasant or joyful experience from your past. It’s the opposite of a trigger. A glimmer makes you feel safe and peaceful and secure. It calms your body.* Glimmers are very personal and they can be anything from the smell of soup to the sound of a red-winged blackbird. The glimmer is a little bit of light that sparkles in your day. 

Remember Gratitude Journals?

I can see how the idea of glimmers connects with an older idea of the gratitude journal.** Back in 1996, author Sarah Ban Breathnach and Oprah championed the idea of finding the simple things in our lives for which we could be grateful.

This exercise helps you develop a greater appreciation for the good in your life. In fact, people who routinely express gratitude enjoy better health and greater happiness.”

UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center**

Luke-Warm Gratitude Experience

I tried this in 2018. I wrote a daily gratitude on a small slip of paper and popped it into a large mason jar every evening. I was going to open the jar and read the slips on New Year’s Eve. I’m not sure that it helped me feel better to find something to be grateful for every day, because I didn’t continue it all year. But when I did read some of the slips, I was surprised to see that not much has changed. The experiences that I wrote down then are similar, if not identical, to the ones I would regard as glimmers in 2023. The difference is presence. 

Glimmers Are Now

For a gratitude jar, the experience is finished before it is written about at the end of the day. The appreciation comes after the event is over. For a glimmer, the appreciation is immediate. That moment of being present to appreciate it while it happens, makes it much more powerful. It allows me to recognize how my body feels to be peaceful and secure in the moment that the glimmer is happening. That has a calming effect that writing about gratitude never created for me. 

Do you agree? 




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