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Glimmer Meaning : Polyvagal Theory

Are you wondering about the Glimmer meaning, or maybe you’ve already heard of them? 

I’ve talked a little about Glimmers over in my private Facebook Group but I wanted to go into the Glimmer meaning in more detail, and how they can help us on a daily basis. 

Have you ever felt that little burst of warmth, a teeny-tiny moment where everything feels just right? Maybe it’s that first sip of hot tea, the smell of your coffee, or a soft song that brings back fond memories.  Or, maybe it’s a surprise compliment from a friend or the sound of the birds in the trees. These moments are what we mean by “Glimmers.”

Now, you might be wondering, what do these “Glimmers” have to do with being an Autistic or ADHD woman? Great question! Let’s have a look at where these Glimmers come from!  

Glimmer meaning and Polyvagal Theory

In order to look at Glimmer meaning, we need to look at the Polyvagal Theory. At its heart, the Polyvagal Theory is all about our nervous system’s response to safety and threat. Think of it as our body’s very own security system. 
Sometimes, it’s on high alert (fight or  flight mode), other times, it feels threatened and shuts down (freeze mode).

And then, there are those moments when everything feels calm and connected. Those moments can be easily missed for us, as autistic and/or ADHD women, especially as entrepreneurs & leaders, where our lives are typically busy and we can be more sensitive to overwhelm. 

And Glimmers? What IS the Glimmer meaning?  Glimmers are those delightful signals telling our nervous system, “Hey, it’s all good here!”

Why Glimmers can be so meaningful to us, is because the world can sometimes feel a tad overwhelming and all consuming. Bright lights, unexpected noises, sudden changes, social nuances… they can all send our nervous system into a spin, leaving us feeling like we just want to get off the merry-go-round and run and hide. There is only so much that our nervous system can take, before it becomes overwhelmed or shuts down. 

But what if we had a way to reassure our body and mind? A way to say, “You’re OK, it’s not all chaos. There’s some magic in here too”! Glimmers do just that!

Glimmers are not big moments or events, they are the little moments that can often go unmissed. Our individual Glimmer meaning and experiences will differ vastly, but lets have a look at some examples, so you have an idea of what to look our for, when discovering your own Glimmer meaning and experiences. 

How to find your Glimmers

OK, so this picture might well be an insight into my personal glimmer meaning and experiences! Although that fancy cup of tea would be replaced with a beautiful coffee!

Here are some examples of what Glimmers could look like. Remember, they are unique to YOU and ANY moment that brings you a little bit of joy, happiness or calm, counts.

  • Spending time with a pet (proven to have a positive impact on our nervous systems).
  • The first sip of your tea or coffee in the morning. 
  • Reading a book or magazine that you enjoy.
  • Seeing the sunrise or sunset.
  • The laughter of your child or a loved one. 
  • A smile from a stranger. 
  • A text message from a friend.
  • Seeing a beautiful butterfly or bird.
  • Feeling the cold on your cheeks on a crisp morning walk.
  • The smell of rain.
  • The feeling of your soft pyjamas. 
  • The weight from a blanket.
  • Seeing the stars in the night sky.
  • Witnessing a random act of kindness.

I would love to know what your Glimmer meaning and experiences are. You can share them in the Facebook Group, drop me an email at [email protected] and let me know. 

More on the Polyvagal Theory and Glimmer Meaning

The Polyvagal Theory, introduced by Dr. Stephen Porges, offers an innovative perspective on how our nervous system interacts with our experiences of safety, danger, and life threats. Essentially, it deciphers the way our bodies respond to various stimuli around us, aiming to keep us safe and well-regulated.


Here’s a little breakdown of Polyvagal Theory

Ventral Vagal Complex (Social Engagement System): This is the most evolved system, primarily active when we feel safe and connected. It’s responsible for feelings of calm, allowing for social bonding, facial expressions, and listening.

Sympathetic Nervous System (Fight or Flight): This system gears up when we sense danger. It preps our body to either stand ground and fight or make a quick exit—hence the name.

Dorsal Vagal Complex (Shutdown): The oldest system, it’s our body’s last resort. When faced with life-threatening situations, where fighting or fleeing isn’t an option, our body might ‘freeze’ or shut down.

So, where do the glimmers fit into all of this? Glimmers are those brief, often subtle, moments that light up our Ventral Vagal Complex. They are reminders that the world isn’t just a series of threats or challenges. These moments tap into our Social Engagement System, offering a counter-narrative to stress and anxiety. Our own personal Glimmer meaning and experiences may differ considerably, but the important thing is that you learn to understand and recognise the moments that make you feel calm, safe, and grounded, and can include feelings of love, happiness, and joy. 


When we recognise our own personal Glimmers, we’re reinforcing the state of safety and social connection in our nervous system. It’s like offering our body little reassurances throughout the day. The more we can start to recognise and appreciate our own personal Glimmers, we are building our emotional and psychological resilience. It’s like when we go to the gym and use our muscles and we get stronger over time – Glimmers have that effect on our emotional and psychological resilience, with each one we recognise and cherish, we become stronger. 

Glimmers aren’t just about self-soothing. By sharing our glimmers with others, we are able to form stronger, more authentic connections, as we are sharing with others what brings us joy and calm. And, in sharing your Glimmers with others, you can also create a domino effect, where others start to look for and appreciate their Glimmers too. 

One of the biggest impacts that defining my Glimmer meaning has had on me, is that they help me to focus on being in the moment. I experience the calm and joy as they occur, and I savour the moment. It’s really helped me to be able to reduce my overall anxiety and feeling of overwhelm. My Glimmers keep me present and remind me that there are lots of positive experiences and moments in each day. 

While the Polyvagal Theory helps us understand our body’s intricate dance between safety and threat, glimmers are the delightful notes that make this dance truly beautiful. 

Glimmers v Gratitude

When I looked into Glimmer meaning I immediately fell in love with the idea.  I was already practicing my own version of gratitude daily, but there is a distinct difference between the two.

My personal gratitude practice is based on The 6 Minute Diary method which involves starting the morning by writing down three things you’re grateful for, how you’ll make the day a good one, and then a positive affirmation (affirmations aren’t my ‘thing’ by the way, so I usually skip that!).  The evening part involves writing three positive things that happened that day, a good deed I did for someone else, and how I’ll improve going forward.  I’ve been doing this since the start of the pandemic as part of my Miracle Morning routine, and I love it. In fact, it was a game-changer during those dark days. 

But, Glimmers, in my opinion, are FAR MORE POWERFUL than my gratitude practice. Why? Because they bring my attention to the present and help me feel connected and grounded in the moment. The beauty and purpose of Glimmers are that you recognise them in the moment, not as part of a reflective exercise. They have a positive impact on your nervous system in the moment, letting you know that you are safe and all is well. It helps to soothe and calm the nervous system and also keeps us present.

I love how finding the Glimmers meaning in my life has had such a great impact, in the short time I’ve been using it.  I now go through my day ‘collecting the Glimmers’. I notice the little moments, the little feelings of calm, of joy, or of peace. It’s beautiful, and the overall effect is that I am experiencing far less anxiety and overwhelm on a daily basis. 

I hope that you’ve enjoyed my blog on Glimmers meaning and The Polyvagal Theory. Will you start looking for the Glimmers in your days? I’d love to hear about them! You can share them in my private Facebook Group (click the button below), or drop me an email. 

Until next time, stay brilliant, stay bold, and go out and shine your incredible light in the world.

If you haven’t joined my private Facebook Group for autistic and ADHD entrepreneurs and leaders then I’d love you to join us, you can click on the button below. And if you haven’t taken my Success & Happiness Quiz yet, then click on the link. You’ll get your results immediately, with bespoke advice and tips, which are easily actionable. It takes less than 4 minutes and it’s fun!

Until next time, Nikki x