Moms, and women in general, often get caught up in extending themselves to others to the point where there’s little left over for themselves. When to-do lists are longer than the school pick-up line, it can be difficult to prioritize simple moments of joy to do what needs to be done. But, when we stop to think about how good those small, positive moments feel, we may start to wonder if those are actually really big parts of life.
Recently, I was introduced to the idea of ‘glimmers,’ or, put simply, moments that feel calm and happy. Renowned psychologist and author, Dr. Nicole LePera, shared on her Instagram account an explanation of what glimmers are and how to experience more of them. From the moment I saw this, I knew I wanted to dive more into the idea. Specifically, I wanted to know how this concept of glimmers can apply to moms.
Here I’m breaking down all there is to know about this appealing concept. What they are, if they’re as great as they sound, and how to experience more of them. Read on for the inside scoop on glimmers in motherhood.
What is a Glimmer?
Feeling overstimulated as a mom is a common occurrence. And each of us knows what it’s like to be unexpectedly triggered by something. Whether it be a phrase, a sound, a sensation, or even a scent. At times, these triggers can lead to intense, even debilitating emotions. Most of the time, at a minimum, we’re left to deal with a dysregulated nervous system. For many of us, this will feel like an increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, lack of focus, and the like. This dysregulation can lead to us struggling to get things done that we need to and even a general lack of enjoyment in our lives.
Essentially, glimmers are the opposite of triggers. These are the moments we stumble upon that feel calm, peaceful, and joyful. It’s during these moments when our nervous systems are regulated, therefore, even without knowing it, our bodies are benefiting.
Examples of Glimmers in Motherhood
So, how do we know when we’re experiencing a glimmer? It may feel something like:
- Clicking with a new mom on the playground
- A stranger holding the door open for your stroller
- Your kid opening up about something at bedtime
- Feeling good in an outfit
- Taking a walk outside with no distractions
- Watching siblings play nicely together
- Enjoying a cup of coffee in a quiet house
- Early morning snuggles before starting the day
- Singing in the car with your LOs
Benefits of Experiencing Glimmers
While the feeling of joy that a glimmer brings is a benefit in itself, there are also some health benefits Dr. LePera believes are linked to the experience. According to her, the experience will put our nervous system in a ventral vagal state, meaning we feel safe, calm, joyful, and energized. For one, the sense of calmness can be linked to lower blood pressure. Sources state that lowering our blood pressure to a healthy level can help prevent serious conditions like cardiovascular disease, heart failure, and strokes. These moments can also lower our heart rates, leading to more efficient heart function.
Having more joy in our lives can quickly lead to feeling less stressed. Aside from the obvious reasons why we’d want lower stress levels, a major benefit is lower cortisol levels in the body. Having elevated levels is known to lead to serious problems like increased risk of depression, difficulty maintaining a healthy weight, and even lower life expectancy.
Dr. LePera also highlighted some emotional changes we may feel when glimmers become a regular part of our lives. She noted that we may experience more feelings of safety, peace, belonging, and acceptance. Along with these feelings, we may have more motivation to try new things and move our bodies, as well as have an increased ability to laugh and be lighthearted. Each of these can be especially beneficial when it comes to spending time with our little ones.
How to Experience More Glimmers in Motherhood
I think we can all agree these magical moments are something we want more of. But, like many things in life, it usually seems easier said than done. When it comes to having more glimmers, Dr. LePera believes we can teach ourselves how to do so. To get started, try these practices:
Slow down and be present
If we’re not mentally present, an opportunity may pass us by without even realizing it. While it’s easy to let our minds wander back to the things we have to get done and our worries about the future, we can spend time actively being present in moments. This is a practice Dr. LePera talks about in her book How to Do the Work. We can practice being conscious daily by focusing our attention on the present moment with our senses. We can focus on what we see, hear, smell, and feel. The more we practice, the easier it will become.
Soak them in
The next time we do feel a moment of peace and joyfulness, Dr. LePera explains that we should soak it in. We can give ourselves the freedom to not rush out of the moment. She recommends taking some deep breaths in these moments and expressing feelings of gratitude for the opportunity.
Ask for support
It makes sense that we may have more opportunities for glimmers when we have more free time. Of course, this isn’t always an option. But, if we do have the ability to have someone take something off our plate every now and then, we can use the extra few minutes of free time to intentionally look for the good in our daily lives.
Try making new connections
Many glimmers in motherhood come when we feel connected to others. While this can be with our family members, we may also have strong reactions to connecting with new people. In order to do so, we can challenge ourselves to put in the effort to make those connections. The next time the opportunity arises, we can step out of our comfort zones. This may look like saying hi to another person at school pick-up, or on the next yoga mat over.
Tune into the senses
When we’re triggered by something, our bodies feel it. In the same way, we can feel glimmers in our bodies. Dr. LePera recommends we tap into those calm moments when they come by and notice things like our feelings, our heart rates, and our breathing.
Plan for ‘unplugged’ moments when possible
A suggestion from Dr. LePera is planning for peaceful moments throughout our week where we can be alone. Even if this is five minutes squeezed into the agenda, take the time whenever possible to do something that brings peace. In these moments we should limit distractions like phones, TV, and even other people.
Remember that repetition is key
In order to experience more glimmers in motherhood, we’re going to need to practice. If we can take these steps and implement them into our daily lives as much as possible, we’ll be having regular moments of peace and joy before we know it.