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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.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Democracy

Appalachian mom's speech on Kentucky's proposed abortion ban is a must-hear for everyone

Danielle Kirk is speaking up for those often overlooked in our cultural debates.

Canva, courtesy of Danielle Kirk

Appalachian mom gives passionate speech.

Many people felt a gut punch when the Supreme Court issued its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the decades-old Roe v. Wade decision that protected a woman's right to an abortion. However, for some this was a call to action.

Danielle Kirk, 27, a mom of two and an activist on TikTok, used her voice in an attempt to educate the people that make decisions in her small town. Kirk lives in Kentucky where a trigger law came into effect immediately after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Being a former foster child, she knew she had to say something. Kirk spoke exclusively with Upworthy about why she decided to speak up.

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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