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.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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