We’ve heard of triggers, but a term for their opposite — “glimmers” — has been trending recently. Glimmers are small, positive moments that spark joy and make us smile. The term was coined by clinical social worker Deb Dana, who explains that glimmers prompt our nervous system to feel calm in the moment. And recognizing glimmers over and over can begin to train our brains to notice the positive around us. “We’re not talking great, big, expansive experiences,” she explains. “These are micro moments that begin to shape our system in very gentle ways.”

We asked our Thrive community to share with us the little glimmers that brighten their day. Which of these glimmers sparks joy for you?

Watching a bee in the garden

“Every time I see a bee buzzing around my garden, I am filled with joy. I once read somewhere that in its lifetime of about 40 days, a bee will produce 1/12th spoon of honey. I am so grateful for this beautiful wonderful creature and its role in the ecosystem.”

—Leticia Corbisier, leadership consultant, Brussels, Belgium

Taking beach walks

“For me, when I’m triggered, one glimmer I use includes walking on the beach and deeply breathing in the salty sea air.”

— Arielle Ford, author, La Jolla, CA

Buying fresh flowers

“For me, flowers are my glimmers. Whether I buy them for myself or they are given to me by someone special, they spark joy and make me happy. Each time I look at them I think of the beauty that God has created.  I take the expression ‘make time to smell the roses’  literally and each time I enter my dining room I stop to inhale their sweet fragrance. Flowers calm me and make everything better.”

—Venessa Perry, CEO, Washington, DC

Seeing “snow diamonds”

“Living in Canada, we have a long winter, but one thing that would be a glimmer is the ‘snow diamonds’ that present themselves after a snow storm followed by blazing sunlight. They are bright and beautiful and give you hope about the day. They bring joy accompanied by a smile, knowing each one is different, as snowflakes always are.”

— Cathy Connally, co-author, Flavour with Benefits: France

Hearing our kids laugh 

“My favorite glimmers include being woken up by bird song in the early hours, noticing the smell of a flowering shrub on my walk to work, and hearing my kids giggle at something in the other room when I’m working from home. These all remind me that life is good.”

—Bianca Riemer, leadership coach, London, UK

Watching the cat play

“I find joyful glimmers every time my kitties purr or every time I am watching them play.”

—Tina Schmidt, information security architect, Des Moines, IA

Seeing afternoon sunlight 

“My ‘glimmers’ happen when sunlight falls in my path unexpectedly. It could be the soft rays of the sun lighting up my kitchen. Bright afternoon sunshine glittering through the leaves of trees over my head. Or when my home is bathed in a fiery orange glow from a rare twilight evening. Pay attention the next time you see sunlight pierce a window, it’ll fill you with wonder.”

—Debashri M. Dutta, writer, Bangalore, India

Listening to a song we love

“Lately, I’ve been starting my morning with that song by Edison Lighthouse called ‘Love Grows (where my Rosemary goes.)’  It’s so happy, upbeat and catchy while reminding me that we all have the power to create a trail of love in our everyday interactions.  I sing my heart out every time and always end my solo concert with a smile and a sense of joy that I try to pay forward all day.”

—Victoria Lonker, technology executive, Cary, NC

Watercolor painting

“I watercolor on Zoom calls. The practice helps me listen, and takes the edge off the long screen time. I highly recommended it, or another creative practice that works at a desk. I like the idea Elizabeth Gilbert shares in Big Magic that creative ideas are not ours but just passing through looking for a host.”

—Josh Feldman, founder, MA

Lighting a candle in the morning

“I have a ritual of opening up my home office like I’m opening up my storefront every morning. I light a scented candle and turn on the twinkle lights scattered in my bookcases. It sets the stage for the day, and my clients can even see the flickering and warmth in the background on our Zoom calls. It calms my work space while adding positive energy, and a literal glimmer!”

—Annie Bauer, coach and business strategist, Asheville, NC

Smelling essential oils

“Essential oils are a glimmer for me. I have 3-4 essential oil bottles close to my workstation. When I am feeling stressed, I breathe in the fragrance and savor the moment. I find my stress melting away with this quick fix. I sometimes dab some on my pulse points to further calm my nervous system down.”

—Anitha Balaraj, executive coach, Chennai, India

Looking at butterflies

“Seeing monarch butterflies always brings me back to the moment and inspires me to see the beauty all around me. They remind me of my mom and how beautiful life beyond can be. Because they gravitate to colorful flowers, the whole experience brings a smile to my face.”

—Laurie Jonas, blogger and author, Red Wing, MN

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  • Marina Khidekel

    Chief Content Officer at Thrive

    Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive's content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership and content marketing campaigns, curricula, and the voice of the Thrive platform. She's the author of Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive. In her role, Marina brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY. Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.