What Are Glimmers? The Concept That Can Help Us Find Hope In The Dark Days

On glimmers and living for the hope of it all.

[OPINION] The concept of glimmers help us find joy and hope in the everyday, but can we rely on them to truly change our lives?

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To put it simply, “glimmers” refer to the experience of small moments of joy and positivity in everyday life. As each experience puts us in a state of peace and happiness, when they accumulate over time, they move us towards hope and a sense of overall well-being.

@shaynateresetaylor I love the idea of focusing on these throughout your day 🤍 what glimmers have you noticed recently? #foryou #glimmer #glimmers #smallmoments #slowliving #slowlivinglifestyle #romanticizeyourlife #intentionalliving #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthawareness ♬ Bird Song – Nature Sounds and Music for Sleep and Relaxation

Glimmers “could be seeing a friendly face, hearing a soothing sound, or noticing something enjoyable in the environment,” clinician and social worker Deb Dana writes in her book Polyvagal Practices: Anchoring The Self in Safety. Glimmers could be laughing with your friends, feeling your pet cuddling up to you, watching a beautiful sunset, or belting out your favorite karaoke song.

Introduced by Dana, “glimmers” is a relatively newly-identified concept rooted in finding hope in the mundane. But why is it suddenly making the rounds on social media? And what do “finding our glimmers” really achieve?


@yourmillennialpsych Alam niyo ba ang opposite ng triggers? #LearnItOnTikTok #triggers #glimmers ♬ original sound – Riyan Portuguez, RPsy, RPm

The concept of glimmers has been spreading across social media, among the many concepts relating to health and well-being that make their way into the collective consciousness of the chronically online and even beyond—for better or for worse.

Dana writes that people pay more attention to negative events than positive ones, but being introduced to the concept of glimmers allows us to be aware of them and their possibilities, and in turn, we start to look for more. As stressors increase in our ever-so-chaotic world, it makes sense that we cling onto things that can make the days just that much brighter.


@realtalk.therapist Replying to @Mary Petrie have you heard of TRAUMA GLIMMERS? #traumatok #traumatiktok #couplestherapy #therapytok #healingtok #therapistsontiktok #traumatized ♬ CUFF IT – Beyoncé

The more we are made aware of the glimmers, the more we look for them, and the more they can, albeit slightly, change our days. They can help, and they can heal. Glimmers can remind us that in this difficult life, there are still good things. It’s a beautiful sentiment, really. Finding joy in the small things helps us keep going. You could say you had a good day simply because something funny happened to your friend, or because you took a walk and the sunshine made everything golden.

Glimmers ground and bring us to what Dana calls a “ventral state,” in which life seems more manageable: “We see options, have hope, and hear new stories. We connect to ourselves, to others, to the world around us, and to Spirit. We are regulated and ready to engage.” This aspect of glimmers implicitly highlights the inherent connection we have to things beyond ourselves.

Finding glimmers, holding them close, allows us to find the good and face our days with a strength rooted in hope.


@jodie.melissa Some wellness trends that it’s time to deinfluence… #deinfluencer #deinfluencing #toxicwellnessculture #toxicwellness ♬ original sound – jodie.melissa

These days, more and more concepts surrounding well-being are being identified and embraced on social media in attempts to find genuine joy and peace during a time when everything just feels like it’s falling apart.

There are, of course, arguments against the ever-increasing concepts of wellness in favor of criticism and action against systemic issues. On one hand, prevalent skepticism in TikTok health and wellness culture is perfectly understandable. Discussion has even sparked on if wellness culture, exacerbated by social media, is going too far. The lack of infrastructure for health and well-being also forces us to find our own ways to go on with our days.

Further, the onus of well-being often falls on the individual—we just have to accept that life is hard. We just have to stay resilient. Isn’t that such a familiar sentiment? But for how long can we accept things as they are and not collectively try and make things better?


@theholisticpsychologist Glimmers ☀️ #selfhealers #glimmers #healingtiktok #healingjourney ♬ Chill Day – LAKEY INSPIRED

On the other hand, many also argue in favor of pursuing mental wellness and well-being. You can’t ignore your mental and psychological well-being and live in despair, burning yourself out trying to change a world seemingly wanting to bring you to your knees.

It’s difficult to think of it as an either-or situation. We can’t expect finding glimmers will cure our mental illnesses or solve the problems of someone who’s trying to make ends meet, but we also can’t live out our days believing there’s no hope left. Dana even tells Newsweek that glimmers don’t take away the trauma or the suffering, but it’s a reminder that our biology can hold all that pain and still, we can experience sparks of joy.

There’s no harm in finding and experiencing glimmers, and there’s no harm in using all that hope to carry us forward.

As social media, in particular, lays bare the complexity of humanity, there is definitely a space in the world for us to find our glimmers and find joy in our days, while still refusing to take things as they are and pushing for something better.

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5 Things I Want To Tell My 18-Year Old Self Before She Starts College

Besides about the global pandemic, of course.

Don’t we all wish we could’ve done some things differently?

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In all honesty, I think my 18-year-old self should give me some advice. She still has some light in her eyes. I truly embody the Taylor Swift lyric “How can a person know everything at 18 but nothing at 22?” and I wonder what my 18-year-old self would think of me now. But with time comes learning, and while past is past, I still wish I could reassure my younger self that everything would be alright.

At 18 I was on my last year of high school, about to enter my dream program at my dream university, so excited at all the new that was about to happen.

Well, all this “new” came at me like a truck. To be fair, a pandemic was new. It was just the opposite of exciting. And after my first low grades and a rejection that truly, unfortunately, shaped my entire college life, I was henceforth sick and afraid of the new. But here I am, looking back, changed by time like water smoothing stone, hoping everything I learned could help someone else.


Resist the urge to underestimate yourself, but keep the humility.

First things first—you’re going to think you peaked in high school. And that’s kinda not true. Kidding aside, college is a shark tank of all the smartest, most ambitious sharks that want the same things you do. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, to think you can get swallowed up by all the doubt and shrink into yourself, believing that there’s no space for you to explore and pursue your dreams. But don’t.

You’re where you are because you, and other people, had faith in your ability and your promise. So keep that faith locked in. There’s enough space in the world for you to learn, to chase your own dreams, and to do what you love.

You can’t give up the moment it gets hard. You can handle more than you think you can.

What to learn Before Starting College

Speaking of underestimating yourself, I’ve always been so guilty of simply passing over opportunities because I think I can’t do it. Or that it’s not “worth it.” I’ve said “okay na yan” more times than I can count. I lower the bar because I’m afraid of pushing myself to the limit only to fail. But I know that you can’t see the view from the top of a mountain without making the climb.

And I don’t tend to regret many things, but looking back, I know I was too complacent and never pushed myself or my work to its best. Unfortunately, I find that I still do that sometimes. But we work through it. You power through the anxiety and the fear of failure, and you’ll strike gold.

Open yourself up to the possibility of enjoying and learning from new experiences.

What to learn Before Starting College

Some of my favorite classes were electives that I took because I was drawn to it, despite the potential of a bad grade, or classes I thought were unnecessary. Some of my lowest grades were in those kinds of classes, too! But as a self-proclaimed nerd, I found that the learning was worth any bad grade. Also, some of my favorite experiences in student organizations were in positions I didn’t even think I qualified for.

I learned so much from those classes and org experiences, and not just about the lessons and the kind of work I did, but about myself and all the possibilities I had in front of me. How would I feel if didn’t let myself be open to the possibility that an experience, while presumably out of my comfort zone, could be great for me? I’ll have spent so much time wondering what if or being ignorant about something that could help me understand myself and the world I wanted to partake in.

Surround yourself with good people, and be the kind of good people you want to be surrounded by.

What to learn Before Starting College

My thesis partner, whom I knew since freshman year, once said to me that they regretted that we only became close during our final year, and while the pandemic (and unfortunate circumstances at the time) did fracture newly-formed friendships, I was lucky to have found friends that will stick with me long-term. I don’t have to tell you to be a good person or a good friend, but you do have to choose friends wisely and with an open mind.

“Time goes fast. Eat it up, but chew slowly.” – Emily Wickersham

This is a shot of the driveway I got lost in the very first time I stepped on campus—the same driveway I spent about 20 minutes in every day both my freshman and senior year before going home. I don’t think it changed much, but I definitely have.

Four years of college went by just like that, and I’ll always feel a sense of resentment at having a full experience ripped away from me. But what the last few years have taught me is that you just have to take life day by day, moment by moment. Life changes and we grow old fast. Before you know it, you’ve graduated and you’re thinking about all the regrets you have and all the things you should have done and writing about them like you’re a 60-year-old with all the wisdom in the world. Regardless, while “make the most of what little time you have” is generic and clichéd, it’s always sound advice.

In all honesty, all that this sentimentality leaves way for is me wishing I knew better before. But the important thing is, I know better now. And hopefully, you do, too.

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With Color and Confidence: This Gen Z College Student Found Self-Confidence Through Fashion

“I haven’t always been this confident.”

For this college senior, fashion has become an avenue for self-discovery, self-confidence, and self-expression.

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In a world where girls are constantly told to look and feel a certain way, it’s no surprise that we often have trouble figuring out ourselves, our bodies, and our style. Fashion has long since accompanied people as a way to not just clothe us, but to showcase our personalities and creativity. But the industry hasn’t made it easy for us to be comfortable in the bodies we have and to find our own style.

Twenty-year-old student and creator Gia Feliciano enjoys doing frequent “fit checks” on social media. Her brightly-colored tops, easy, permanent smile, outgoing personality, and fun budol hauls also make for entertaining and relatable videos on TikTok and Instagram. However, her style journey didn’t come easy—it was fraught with confusion, self-acceptance, and leaps of faith.

Photo courtesy of Gia Feliciano/Instagram


One of Gia’s most popular TikToks is captioned with “pov: you embrace being midsize” and “achievement unlocked: not afraid of crop tops anymore 😌💜.” The video, which currently has 1.1 million views, contrasts her past style with the present, from covering up with loose oversized shirts to experimenting with bright colors, skirts, and flattering cropped tops.

@_giafeliciano achievement unlocked: not afraid of crop tops anymore 😌💜 #croptop #midsize #midsizefashion #midsizegal #outfitideas ♬ sonido original – yo

To be mid-size means you fit somewhere in between the smaller, straight sizes and the bigger, plus sizes. Mid-sized body types often have trouble finding what flatters their body while keeping them comfortable, because most brands offer something too small or too big on certain parts of their body.

“It was so freeing to discover what midsize was,” Gia reveals. “…[E]verything finally made sense and I felt like I found my place.” She realized that she didn’t really fit into the usual offered sizes of clothing (small ”straight sizes”) nor into the plus-sized ones either. These kinds of labels and ideals pushed by the fashion industry imbue certain perspectives into the mainstream consciousness—that a woman is “normal” and “ideal” if she fits into the teeny tiny sizes brands offer.

The mid-size terminology is an emergent way for many young women to be able to identify their body and the clothes that would suit them. And when Gia found clarity regarding her size, she was able to move forward with her style journey to where she is now.

@_giafeliciano addicted to color and croptops #croptop #midsize #midsizefashion ♬ original sound – Sara ✨


“I haven’t always been this confident,” Gia shares. Growing up with warped notions of what is considered “big,” as well as with strict parents and strict high school dress codes, Gia only felt safe and comfortable in baggy T-shirts and jeans for a long time. During the pandemic, she started to work out, gaining a bit of confidence along the way. However, she acknowledged that adopting a lifestyle solely to lose weight had its pros and cons.

“When I stopped dieting—unhealthily, if I may add—and starting gaining a bit of weight back, I still wanted to keep that confidence,” she admits. “And for the most part I did, thankfully.” She often still struggles with her body image, but she continually strives to remind herself that she is beautiful, no matter her size, and that her body was not a determining factor of her worth.

Photo courtesy of Gia Feliciano/Instagram

She shares a tip: “A little trick I like to do is look in the mirror and talk to myself to hype myself up. It’s a bit silly, I know but I mean if it works, it works right?”

Her friends also helped a lot in growing her confidence. They reassured, encouraged, and hyped her up all the time. “I remember sending my best friend a picture of myself in a bikini for the first time and she was so excited to see me wear it, which helped so much with my confidence.”

Surrounding yourself with good people is a tried-and-true confidence-booster. As her closet shifted and changed, as she started to feel more confident and not just safe in her clothing decisions, her relationship with her body improved tenfold. “It was really nice to finally feel really good about the clothes that i was wearing and, in a way, I finally felt like myself.”


For Gia, feeling like herself means being able to express the two things central to her style: color and confidence. It’s rare to see her in neutral colors or the baggy t-shirts of her youth, as she’s embraced vibrant hues and cropped, form-fitting tops. Just as clothes helped her grow her confidence, she wants her style to reflect that confidence and her artistic, bubbly personality.

@_giafeliciano finished it after ball bc i forgot but yay hehe #transition ♬ Anna er best – Anna Nikoline⭐️

“I’d like to think I’m a fun person to be around, and I want my style to show it.” Colorful fabrics and patterns adorn her social media feed in a display of bold confidence and creative decisions in putting pieces together to form a cohesive outfit.

Her social media has since become a way to document her outfits so she could look back at them and chronicle her evolution not just as a fashion-lover but also as a person.

“I like rewatching them because I genuinely love what I wear and I am proud of how far I’ve come since a few short years ago.” Social media allowed her to express herself to other people and share the work she’s done in choosing pieces and curating outfits. And that act of sharing and posting has allowed her to connect with a wider audience. Since she never really grew up exposed to people on social media with a similar body type, she wanted to be someone her younger self needed.

“I’d also like to believe that I have a more positive relationship with the world, or at least the world that I connect with through my social media, because I’ve seen a lot of people resonating with my TikTok, which genuinely makes me so happy to see.”


A great thing about Gia’s fashion is that it’s not inaccessible. It’s everyday-chic, casual and expressive, simple but with a lot of personality. Her style has resonated with a lot of people, especially those sharing the same body type. It took some work, though, and she shares some advice to people who are in a similar boat as she was some time ago.

@_giafeliciano a lil fit check moment &lt33 #midsize #midsizefashion #midsizegal #outfitideas #fitcheck #outfitoftheday #thisisthefit ♬ Boy's a Liar Pt. 2 – PinkPantheress & Ice Spice

1. “Being able to wear something you’re not quite sure [about] yet in the comfort of your own home is a good way to feel out what you would want to wear and what your style is.” Given that her style journey started gaining traction in the pandemic, the safety of her own home allowed her to experiment and figure out some things before she expressed herself to the world.

2. “Ask your friends.” If a friend is truly honest with you, that’s a great friend. “Best case: they love it, and worst case: they’ll help you build an outfit that’s probably a bit more you.”

3. Experiment. Play around with pieces you have. “You don’t need new pieces to change up your style,” she says. “Because it’s entirely possible to work with what you have, and possibly add pieces as you explore and find your style.”

@_giafeliciano fun fits but more fun memories #fitcheck #midsize #midsizefashion #midsizegal #thisisthefit ♬ Foolish One (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) – Taylor Swift

However, at the end of the day, all Gia wants is for people to be brave enough to try out things they want to wear because she believes that “fashion is an outward expression of who we are as people.”

“You do you and what feels right for you in terms of fashion, and there will be at least one person out there cheering you on.”

Hint: It’s her.

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