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glimmering

Some important regulation going on here.

What is a glimmer? No I’m not talking about "Twilight" vampires or the princess from my favorite Netflix cartoon.

Glimmering is the opposite of a trigger. A word we’ve all become very familiar with.

Where triggers tighten our stomachs, make it hard to breath and generally signal danger (even when no danger is present), a glimmer gives us a sigh of relief, helping us to feel safe and secure. And though both terms were identified by psychologist Deb Dana in her book “The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy,” most of us have only been taught to find what triggers us in life. Because, well, we have to survive before we can thrive.

But thanks to TikTok savvy therapists such as Dr. Justine, glimmers have taken on new life and people are excited to learn about the concept. You could say that finding new ways to reclaim hope is indeed going viral.


In a video that has now been viewed over 78,000 times, Dr. Justine breaks down the glimmer basics.

@heydrjustine Glimmers✨ are the opposite of triggers. #AVrboForTogether#SoFiBreakUpChallenge#AlaskaAirCAREoke#anxietyrelief#nervoussystem#traumahealing♬ New Home - Austin Farwell

“Glimmers are anything that sparks a sense of joy, awe, or belongingness. It can be noticing the warmth of the sun, something beautiful around you, or seeing a kind face,” her caption reads.

If this sounds enticing to you, you’re not alone. One person—clearly eager to find their own sparks of joy—wrote, “ugh yes love glimmer hunting.”

Which begs the question: How can we form a glimmer hunting group?

“Purposely noticing glimmers allows you to tap into micro moments on Ventral Vagal energy (a state of groundedness and connectedness),” Dr. Justine continues.

The vagus nerve carries messages from our brain to other parts of our body. It’s what sends you into flight-or-fight mode when there’s a perceived threat. Mine happens to go on the fritz anytime I’m riding in the passenger seat. And I mean every time. My shoulders go up to my ears, everything appears to move chaotically and I can’t resist the urge to hold onto the grab handle for dear life. It doesn't matter who’s driving. It always feels like I'm careening down the fast lane toward my doom. That’s the vagus nerve, doing vagus nervy things.

However, that same nerve can stimulate a completely different sensation: calm. Yes, our bodies are quite literally a walking bundle of contradictions. But we can use that to our advantage by finding the glimmers.

The glimmers we find can be simple. A walk in nature, pet cuddles, our favorite song. Even the smallest, most fleeting moments can help activate our vagus nerve to send a signal to our body that says, “Hey, we can relax, everything is perfectly OK right now.”

And the best part is: By holding onto these feelings for at least 30 seconds, we can teach our brains to consistently retain positive thoughts. Or, as Dr. Justine puts it, “turn that glimmer into a glow.”

“This is my first time hearing this word and ima hold on tight to it,” one person commented, ready for their glow up.

Dr. Justine adds “doing this purposefully is important because humans have a negativity bias towards scanning for threats/danger (especially after trauma).”

We are already hardwired to scan for the negative. Again, survival trumps all. But after a traumatic event, our drive to protect ourselves is even more hypervigilant. And yet, safety cues are just as important as danger cues. Regulation is just as vital to our health and stimulation. Balance is often the foundation to our well-being.

“This is fascinating, scientifically supporting the old saying about stopping to smell the roses,” one person noticed.

After watching Dr. Justine’s video, people started sharing their own glimmers. Three rainbows. The smell of lavender. The cracking of creme brulee. A hit of fresh air. Small things that still managed to light folks up in a big way. This is what glimmering is all about. It was a very happy comment section.

If geeking out on science is a form of glimmering for you, you could always read Deb Dana’s book. Or you could check out Dr. Justine’s TikTok for more bite-sized information. Or hey, just go back to basics and smell the roses. There doesn’t seem to be a wrong way to glimmer. What matters is knowing it can dramatically change your mental health.

As the saying goes, "You have to kiss a few frogs..."

Dating has certainly evolved over the years—we’ve gone from courtship being purely a financial arrangement (not that this trend has ever truly died) to knights jousting for a lady’s favor, to casual hookups … and now, romance is primarily found through an app more than anything else.

Technology used for meeting that special someone has become so advanced that you can base your search entirely upon specific interests. Like … oddly specific interests. Think a fellow cat person would be the purrfect match? There’s an app for that. Wish to “love long and prosper” with a fellow Trekkie? There’s an app for that too.

No matter the changes, one thing remains the same—dating is awkward. It’s got all the unspoken formalities of a job interview, disguised as innocent fun. The balance between playing it too cool and too eager is hard to find even for the smoothest among us, and usually results in total embarrassment. Even if we aren’t the ones committing those embarrassing acts ourselves, we are often the reluctant witness to them.

Terrible dates might not always be fun in the moment, but they can be just as important as the good ones. They can teach us a lot about ourselves and what qualities we want in a partner. And at the very least, they can teach us to embrace social clumsiness with a sense of humor.

Jimmy Fallon recently asked his “Tonight Show” audience on Twitter to share a “funny or embarrassing first date story” for his ever popular #Hashtags segment. The best part—some of these awful first dates ended in marriage. There’s hope for us all.

Below, find 15 stories that are truly the the best of the worst. How do some of your first dates compare?

1. "After a nice dinner, she invited me to her house. On the way up, inside the elevator, I decided to push the button to stop between floors and give her a kiss... She had a phobia of closed spaces and she smacked my face as a reflex, two punches after we were kissing and laughing.” – @PanqueAlgarvio

2. “His jeans were so tight he couldn’t sit down. Stood at a bar stool the whole time.” – @onlyintheozarks

3. “Waiting 4 my date when an older couple asked me for a ride. my date came up and said sure! We drove them home & they asked us to come in. Date said “sure”. I pulled him back & asked why he wanted to hang w/strangers. He said ‘sh@t! YOU DON'T KNOW THEM!?’ We bolted!” – @natashaham75

facebook dating

Talk about a fashion faux pas.

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4. “Before the date, we had been chatting about books we liked and I talked about a great book I just read. We went on the date. I loaned her the book. She ghosted me.” – @thenextbarstool

5. “The worst first date I ever had was when my date locked his keys in the car and I had a curfew so he had to break his car window out to get me home on time. Didn’t think I’d ever see him again but we wound up married.” – @csleblan

6. “First date movie ‘Basic Instinct’ not realizing how suggestive it was. We just thought it was a mystery thriller! We left the movie discussing how each character could have actually murdered someone. We're married now.” – @Southrnbell_Amy

black people meet

There are worse first date movies tbh.

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7. “First date with my ex husband was a double date with his parents. The preview for ‘Speed Racer’ came on, and she leaned over me to say to her son, ‘You know what your dad's nickname in the bedroom is?’" – @theostoria

8. “A friend asked me on a double date as a blind date with his date's friend. I went to the bathroom and came back just in time to hear my date say to her friend, ‘why do I get the ugly one?’ I said good night to all three and headed home, leaving her w/the bill.” – @StevenTrustum

9. “He loved cheese. I was subjected to a 2 hour conversation/lecture about cheese, and why cottage cheese is not cheese!” – @Optimist_Eeyore

bumble

I'd like to see this two-hour cheese lecture.

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10. “He took me to an Asian fish market. We walked around looking at live & dead fish for a while. I don’t like seeing dead animals & I don’t eat seafood. Then we sat on a curb & he pulled out a ziplock bag of pineapple for us to share. I don’t like pineapple.” – @markayhali

11. “My cousin set up a first date for me with a family friend. During a break from dinner, Mr. Man follows me into the ladies’ room, comes up close and says in a low voice, ‘I shave my butt.’ Can’t remember what I said in response but the evening ended abruptly.” – @carli_zarzana

12. “I once took out my high school crush to a sports bar and ordered the spiciest wings there in an attempt to impress her. Not only was she not impressed. The next morning I woke up with heartburn.” –@Dmonster38

tindr conversation starters

Talk about a hot date.

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13. “My date showed up with his bestie and girlfriend, and they talked through dinner about people I don’t know. Walking to the car, he gave me a wedgie because he thought he hadn’t been paying enough attention to me.” – @surrealDazey


14. “I was taking my date home and was pulled over by the police for speeding. When the cop came to my car, she jumped out and told him she had to get home. She walked home and I never heard from her again. I'm not sure who's #WorstFirstDate it was mine or hers!” – @eastriverbear

15. “After an evening of dancing with a first date, leaving the dance hall, I had to take a quick pee break. Rushing out to the parking lot, I see a lady, I grab her and swoop her around, and plant a big wet kiss on the lips. She was another guy's wife. Oops!” – @seadogskamore

date you

Only Gomez could have gotten away with it.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

Joy

Touching video shows a deputy sheriff teaching a stalled teen how to drive a stick shift

“I asked her if I could help assist her. So I kinda went through the steps of helping her out.”

via Cleveland County Sheriff's Office

Deputy Kendrae Traylor helps a stalled motorist.

Just like rotary phones, shopping malls and popcorn you heat on the stove, stick shifts (or manual transmissions as the pros call ’em) may soon be a thing of the past. A report in The Atlantic shows that in the year 2000, manual transmissions accounted for 15% of the new and used cars sold by Carmax.

In 2020, that figure dropped to just 2.4%.

The sad thing is that countless people will never experience the pleasure of driving a manual transmission. There’s something to be said about the feeling of actually driving and controlling a vehicle with a stick shift. It's a sensation you can’t get behind the wheel of an automatic.

Manual cars are also cheaper, less likely to be stolen and have lower maintenance costs.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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