Glimmers of Gratefulness: Embracing the Small Joys

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Friday, November 17, 2023
By Emy Fernandez, MBA, Life Coach

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog about being more present in your life by not falling into searching for the elusive work-life balance trap.

Many of us are so focused on finding the perfect job, career, partner, friend – well, a life that offers work-life balance – we miss the “little joys” – or glimmers – all around us.


These glimmers that bring joy are so small that if we’re not intentional about looking for them – we can miss them.

Glimmers are the opposite of triggers. Deb Dana, LCSW, in her book, The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy, refers to “glimmers” as small moments when our biology is in a place of connection or regulation, which cues our nervous system to feel safe or calm.

Glimmers are not those expansive times of joy or happiness in our lives that we can’t help but see and recognize. Glimmers are the little daily joyful moments that pop up and go away just as quickly. But, if we’re intentional and present for them, leaves us feeling calm and safe. These glimmers will reduce our stress enough to allow us to move through our day feeling more balanced and in control.

When working with my clients on stress and overwhelm, I recommend they look for these glimmers and make notes in a journal or digitally in a notes app. And those days when they are so overwhelmed, they can’t even find the little glimmers – they can always refer to their journal.

Examples of what some glimmers may look like:

  • Feeling the warmth of the sun
  • Feeling the coolness of fall
  • The smell of cut grass
  • Seeing a rainbow
  • Catching a beautiful sunset
  • Sunlight sparkling on the water
  • Smelling lavender or some other relaxing scent
  • For animal lovers: Petting a dog or cat
  • For coffee drinkers: The perfect cup of coffee.

The purpose of searching for work-life balance is to reduce the stress in our lives, however, this search does the opposite. It creates even more stress because we are looking for balance in the wrong places. We look for balance outside of us by trying to switch jobs, partners, etc. But it is way easier than we make it out to be. We just need to look internally.

This week, look for glimmers in your life and allow yourself to sit with them for a bit. You will find the balance you’re looking for in these small joyful moments.



“Instead of chasing the work-life balance myth, what if expecting our life not to be perfectly balanced allowed us the freedom to be more present?”
Emy Fernandez, MBA, Life Coach