How finding 'glimmers' everyday could be key to savouring joy

By Victoria Stokes,
updated on Jan 13, 2024

How finding 'glimmers' everyday could be key to savouring joy

Here's how to seek out, and treasure, the awe-inspiring, comforting, and heart-warming ‘glimmers’ of good in every day

Imagine this: it’s been a tough day. A really tough day, actually. So, you decide to take a walk. On your way, you choose a different path than usual, and stumble upon the most beautiful babbling brook.

The last of the day’s sunlight filters through the trees, and glints on the surface of the water. Almost immediately your shoulders loosen, your breath slows, and you’re filled with an all-consuming sense of awe.

In just a few seconds you’ve gone from worried, stressed, and tense, to optimistic, hopeful, and calm. All it took was a tiny moment of beauty to give you that comforting feeling that it will all be OK. This is known as a ‘glimmer’.

Never heard of it? Think of a glimmer as the opposite of a trigger. It’s a tiny moment of awe that sparks joy and evokes inner calm – and they come in all shapes and sizes.

You might experience them when lost in the pages of a good book, sharing an intimate moment with a loved one, or taking in a beautiful sunset.

Online, the hashtag #Glimmers is taking off, with thousands of people sharing the small daily moments that bring them joy. Consider that a real testament to the mental health benefits glimmers have to offer.

In fact, when it comes to managing stress and navigating adversity, you shouldn’t underestimate their power.

Dipti Tait, a solutions-focused hypnotherapist, describes glimmers as small, fleeting moments of positivity, joy, or contentment, that can be found in everyday life. She says these beautiful moments are often subtle and easily overlooked, but though they may be small, they are mighty, holding the potential to lift our spirits, and improve our mental wellbeing.

“When we focus on these positive moments, our brains release neurotransmitters that counteract stress hormones like cortisol, promoting relaxation and a sense of wellbeing,” Dipti explains. “Regular exposure to glimmers can lead to reduced anxiety, improved resilience, and enhanced emotional regulation.”

Over time, this can redirect our thoughts towards positive experiences. It counteracts our in-built negativity bias, which is our tendency to pay more attention to negative events and experiences.

“Glimmers counteract this bias by redirecting our focus toward positive aspects of life. By actively seeking and acknowledging glimmers, we can gradually retrain our brains to mitigate the effects of negativity bias, and promote a more positive outlook,” Dipti says.

unnamed (1).png

What about when you’re really struggling? During challenging times, Dipti says glimmers can serve as “beacons of hope and respite” by providing a “reprieve from the intensity of difficult emotions”.

They won’t make your problems go away, but they could provide a much-needed feeling of ‘everything’s going to be alright’, and put you in a better mindset for problem-solving.

Psychologist and counsellor Linzi Kavanagh sums it up. She says, “Although glimmers are often fleeting, when compounded, they can really shape our mindset in a gentle, supportive way – and they help build our capacity for managing triggers, too.

“They don’t — and shouldn’t — cancel out all the bad, or create a false reality,” Linzi adds. “Rather, they provide evidence that, even in the bad times, there is always good.”

Linzi says this can make the bad more manageable, as these moments of pure joy remind you that better times and days are possible.

Noticing glimmers

Glimmers remind you that, as a human being, you experience a full spectrum of emotions – and even in moments of profound stress, anger, grief or sorrow, you still have access to feelings of contentment, happiness, peace, and calm.

So, now that you know glimmers can powerfully affect the way you think and feel, even in times of real struggle, you might be wondering how to seek them out.

First things first, glimmers are often unexpected. They aren’t something you can necessarily ‘plan’ for, but you can get better at acknowledging them, and soaking them in.

“My advice would be to start small. Aim to notice one glimmer per day, but do this consistently,” Linzi advises. “Very quickly you will begin to notice more and more, because it’s a bit like building a muscle. The more often you do it, the easier it gets!”

The trick is to be proactive in finding these moments of joy. “If being around certain people gives you glimmers, make a point of meeting up with them on a regular basis. If sunsets give you glimmers, maybe you could take an evening walk a few times a week to catch them,” Linzi suggests.

There can be a tendency to go into ‘rescuer’ mode, and want to fix the other person, as it’s so painful to observe their hurt (1).jpg

The great news is, you won’t have to make massive tweaks to your routine, because when you look around a little, you’ll find that glimmers are already there. Linzi says you’ll become adept at finding joy in the mundane, and maximising the present moment.

“Romanticise your life a little,” she suggests. “For example, instead of chucking your afternoon coffee into this morning’s dirty cup, use your favourite mug, light a candle, put on some music, and really be in the moment of enjoying that coffee.”

Maybe, when it comes to glimmers, you need a little more inspiration, and are uncertain about what you’re supposed to be looking for. Beauty is subjective, and what sparks joy for one person might not for another.

However, Linzi says some of her personal favourite glimmers include hearing one of her favourite songs come on the radio, laughing with someone and feeling like they just ‘get you’, and the smell of freshly cut grass taking her right back to her childhood.

What brings you joy could be completely different. A child’s laugh, a beautiful view… the ‘what’ doesn’t really matter. The thing that really counts is knowing that even when life feels ugly, messy, and dark, there’s still beauty and joy to be found.

Join 100,000+ subscribers

Stay in the loop with everything Happiful

We care about your data, read our privacy policy
Our Vision

We’re on a mission to create a healthier, happier, more sustainable society.