[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?
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?
WHY PEOPLE ARE EMBRACING GLIMMERS
@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.
HOW GLIMMERS CAN HELP OUR WELL-BEING
@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.
A SOLUTION TO EVERYTHING?
@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?
MOVING US FORWARD
@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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