Glimmers: The Fundamental Fairy Dust for Happiness

It’s Monday morning. I’ve spilt a rushed coffee on my white blouse and because I’ve left home a few minutes later, I find myself in congested traffic. I’m stuck behind a bus with no room to overtake it. My smart watch warns me that stress is “draining my body battery” … and sucking the joy out of my day.

Resigning myself to life in the slow lane, I look up at the canopy of clouds still somewhat splashed with lingering pastel hues. My shoulders relax, I breathe a little deeper and notice asense of well-being.  In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, amidst the chaos and challenges, there are moments of pure delight; tiny sparks of happiness that illuminate our path and fill us with a sense of peace or joy. These moments, often fleeting yet immensely powerful, are what we refer to as “glimmers” – those small, seemingly insignificant occurrences that contribute significantly to our overall happiness and well-being.

Glimmers have the opposite effect of what is commonly known as “triggers”; while triggers illicit unpleasant emotional responses, glimmers refer to those micro-moments when our biology is in a place of connection or regulation, which cues our nervous system to feel safe or calm. Since we are wired for survival more than happiness, glimmers can be key to regulating our overwhelmed nervous systems in an overstimulating world and guide the way to increased happiness. By nature, our brains have gotten used to leaning more towards a negative bias; looking out for the bad & possible “dangers”. By proactively and deliberately creating opportunities for happiness to trickle into our daily existence through seeking and acknowledging glimmers, we can gradually retrain our brains to mitigate the effects of negativity bias, and promote a more positive outlook.

While glimmers are subjective and unique to us all, they are often free and easily accessible.  Fans of the Harry Potter series may be familiar with one of my favourite quotes by Albus Dumbledore: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”.

When you look around, you’ll find that glimmers are already there. Personally, I find the magic of glimmers in a belly-laugh; from a moment of meaningful connection with my daughters; feeling the sun on my skin; in the comfort of slipping on my Uggs and oldest pyjamas after a long day; the sense of ‘home’ I get from traditional South African foods; the nostalgia from the smell of freshly baked bread; a well-made flat white enjoyed mindfully; listening to magpies warble; the sweet scents of jasmine, vanilla, coffee and chocolate; candyfloss skies and fresh air; moving my body and feeling strong; warm showers after tough workouts; freshly laundered linen; and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

By cultivating mindfulness, nurturing relationships, and pursuing activities that bring us joy, we can harness the power of glimmers to enhance our happiness and well-being. Approaching each day with a ‘glimmer intention’ can help us find joy in the mundane, and maximise the present moment. By embracing these micro-moments, it deepens the practice of gratitude and becomes a transformative way to see the world around us. They serve as reminders of the beauty that surrounds us, offering solace in times of distress and fuelling our resilience in the face of adversity. In essence, glimmers are not just fleeting moments of happiness; they are the building blocks of a fulfilling and meaningful life.

Japanese artist, Jun Mochizuki wrote: “All those small glimmers – connecting, collecting – have turned into an undeniable possibility; casting a light that cuts through the darkness of despair! So, I made up my mind; I’ll never stop reaching for that light!”

Connect and collect your glimmers with intention so you, too, can create an undeniable possibility of happiness and keep reaching for that light.

This blog was written by talented Psychologist, Chanell Cuyler-Greeff