The polyvagal theory includes the concept of glimmer. The hypothesis, coined by behavioral neuroscientist Stephen Porges and first presented in 1951, outlines how our autonomic nervous system searches for and reads stimuli to evaluate whether they are harmful. This is known as neuroception, and it is controlled by the vagus nerve, which regulates organ functions. The term gleam, on the other hand, was coined in 2018 by licensed clinical social worker Deb Dana in her book The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation. It was popularized in February 2022 by psychologist Dr. Justine Grosso’s viral TikTok video, which has approximately 100,000 likes.

How to Recognize Your Glimmers.

Keeping track of your glimmers might be as beneficial as keeping track of triggers or other bad thoughts. You can do this in a journal or on your phone’s notes app. If you need help getting started, try the following exercises:

Close your eyes and imagine a peaceful scene.

This might be anywhere from somewhere you’ve gone to somewhere you’ve only seen images of to somewhere you’ve only seen in your thoughts. You might want to go spend some time there, have a photo of it handy, or make one yourself.

Consider what made you feel safe and loved as a child.

If you can get access to that as an adult. If you didn’t feel safe and cared for as a youngster, consider what you can do now that you wish you could have done then. Is there someone you can hug, or can you give yourself a hug by hugging yourself or snuggling under a weighted blanket?

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