It’s a gloriously sunny winter Friday. There’s a dusting of snow on the lawns and just enough on the trees to glitter. Obviously the animals have not begun to hibernate yet – the snow is crisscrossed with tracks. I’ve been able to do a lot of work on my novel, rebuilding the emotional arc I’d stripped out when I initially edited it with an over-sharp scalpel/delete key. It’s all a learning experience. Valuable and timely. For that I’m grateful.

CompassWhat I’m not grateful for is this bout of dizziness that plagues me every few years at the start of winter or when I get a ‘cold in my ears’. That’s what my mother used to call it, although I’m not exactly sure what it means from a medical standpoint. My physician says that it is an inner-ear infection – low-grade – but with enough power to tilt my internal gyroscope off balance enough so that if I stand up too quickly or turn my head fast, it’s like I’m on the deck of a rolling ship lost at sea. I hate the sense of instability, no matter how temporary. I dutifully took my meds this morning but it takes a while for whatever it is to kick in.

In the meantime, I’m not allowed behind the wheel of my car, which is sort of limiting because we live in Booneyville. I remember the first time I got  the tipsies, I drove to the doctor’s office. After he diagnosed me, he looked in the waiting room then asked me where Hub was. When I said that I’d driven myself, he gave me that, you idiot’ glare and said gently that if I’m feeling dizzy, it’s not wise to drive 65 kilometers along a four lane highway and on busy city streets. I didn’t argue. But hell, I wasn’t about to wuss out. I had to get there, didn’t I? But I’ve followed his advice ever since. The thing is, except for the world spinning at an angle when I move too quickly, I feel fine. Fine enough to do my daily walk and work on my book. Which makes me very happy.

Psychologist Shawn Achor suggests that being happy leads to greater productivity. He says we should set aside at least 20 minutes every day for the following five activities: identifying three reasons for gratitude, exercise, meditation, writing in a journal, and performing acts of kindness.

I’ve heard that same advice for years from my mother and aunties. It works, too.

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