Brain Laundry and Glimmers

by Aug 29, 2023

Are you practicing brain laundry techniques?

Sometimes to clear our heads we need to separate our thoughts. When was the last time you did some brain laundry and counted your “glimmmers”?


I came across the term “ brain laundry” this week and love the concept. Separating dark thoughts from lights and to extend the metaphor even further short cycle thinking and deep clean reflection.

brain laundry and glimmers

We are what we think and sometimes to clear our heads we need to separate our thoughts just like we do laundry. Don’t let the dark thoughts bleed into the light wash. Sometimes some thoughts are not worthy of our time and just need a short cycle. Others require deeper reflection.

brain laundry


At the same time I saw a post on LinkedIn by Amy Cuddy talking about the the idea of “glimmers” which also really resonated. It aligns with many concepts around positive thinking found in philosophies such as Ikigai, which focuses on finding meaning in small things and expressing gratitude. For me there is certain symmetry around the two processes of brain laundry and identifying glimmers.

Cuddy shared that a Glimmer is a useful psychological concept and self-nudge. “A glimmer is the exact opposite of a trigger. It is some kind of cue, either internal or external that brings one back to a sense of joy or safety. This can be anything from catching a view of the skyline of your favorite city to seeing a picture of your pet [or picking up your shiny new roller skates!].

In our overstimulated worlds, glimmers can be the answer to regulating our overwhelmed nervous systems.

Background to Glimmers

The concept of glimmers is part of Polyvagal Theory introduced by be. Behavioral neuroscientist Stephen Porges in 1995. His theory describes how our autonomic nervous system (which controls involuntary actions like breathing) is searching for and reading cues to determine if they are dangerous.

This process is called neuroception, and the vagus nerve, which regulates organ functions, is responsible for it, Like micro-moments of love, “glimmers require us NOTICE those small moments when we feel a surge of joy combined with peace. A sense of internal and external connection. And they are ALL around us.” says Cuddy.

The idea has been gaining momentum for a while. Psychologist Dr. Justine Grosso put out a viral TikTok video in February 2022. Wellness expert Theodora Blanchfield gave us tips and tricks in her post Glimmer: How to Trigger Feelings of Joy and Safety.  The concept was also included in the book The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation2 by licensed clinical social worker Deb Dana.


brain laundry


I started keeping a daily gratitude diary during lock down, which is basically a record of my “glimmers” and have maintained it since. Focusing on my “glimmers” is part of my brain laundry process.  My method is to take a photo of something that resonates and then share it on Twitter (now X) or Facebook with the hashtag #dailygratitude and #ikigai.

When was the last time you did some brain laundry and counted your “glimmers”?


Take some time to think about your career goals and strategy today! Use these career reflection worksheets to structure your thoughts.


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Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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