Got Triggers? Get Glimmers!

Many of us suffer from deep childhood wounds, others of us are scarred from life in general. Given the state of the world, we’ve all been traumatized on various levels.

And, we all have individual things that “trigger” us into feelings that impact our mental stability where we are reminded of past trauma or previous negative experiences and we suddenly feel unsafe, endangered, frightened, overwhelmed, etc.

Whether it’s conflict or unkind words from another, worry about money or a bad health diagnosis, being confronted with a growling barking dog (or nasty person), the smell of ozone in the air before a storm, or the flash of lightening or crack of thunder, or being stuck in traffic, missing your train, there are myriad daily occurrences that can set up your triggers leading to more stress, more anxiety and panic attacks. Often being triggered will put us into a state of fight or flight, known as survival state.

So, what is the opposite of a trigger?


Glimmers are small moments that spark joy or peace, which can help cue our nervous system to feel safe or calm.

According to psychotherapist and author Deb Dana, who coined the use of the term’s triggers and glimmers, “trauma reshapes our system so that we are more prone to pathways of protection than to pathways of connection.” This keeps us in a survival state instead of a thriving state.

When trauma is triggered, we are trapped in an unhealthy, hyper-vigilant state but when we are guided by our “glimmers,” we redirect our nervous system to feeing safe, connected to ourselves and other people. Glimmers are cues’ that signal safety and once you figure out what your “glimmers” are they can act an antidote to the triggers.

For me, when I’m triggered, the glimmers I use include:

  • Getting a long hug from my husband Brian.
  • Imagining that I am wrapped in the arms of the hugging saint, Amma, while she whispers loving words in my ear.
  • Walking on the beach, deeply breathing in the salty sea air.
  • Listening to my favorite soothing music.
  • Calling a good friend and laughing.
  • Taking an aromatherapy bath with lavender.
  • Having a cuddle session with my cat Max.
  • Unfriending disagreeable or nasty people on social media.

What are the people, places, feelings, smells, sensations that glimmer you back into feeling safe and connected?


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