Happiness & “The No Sh*t Experiment.”

Via Shawna Turner
on Sep 11, 2012
get elephant's newsletter

Are you happy?

That’s the question posed by Gretchen Rubin in her book The Happiness ProjectOr more specifically—could you be happier?

I devoured this book in a couple of days, not because the writing was so good (it was okay), but because I’ve become obsessed with the idea of being happier.

A couple of months ago during yoga, as the class wound down into savasana, the instructor said to bring someone to mind that could use a little extra love. And you know who came to mind: me. Like a five-year-old version of me. I started crying. Luckily the class was online through myyogaonline.com and I was in the comfort of my own home enjoying a very nice pants off morning. Nothing like a good cry in your undies.

This got me thinking: a) I need more friends, b) I need to start taking better care of myself, c) I love what yoga can do.

This book came to me—recommended by a student of mine—at exactly the right time. I was breaking down.

“When the student is ready the teacher will come.” This is a Buddhist proverb that Rubin talks about in her book. This book, this idea of a happiness project has become my teacher.

This is how my happiness project is going to work. Or as I like to call it “the no shit experiment.”

As in eating healthy will make you happier. Uh, no shit. Or, taking better care of your finances will make you happier. Uh, no shit. Or, cherishing and having more sex with your partner will make you happier. Uh, no shit.

Each month will have a theme, and then within that theme there will be resolutions to help me to stay on track. This month is all about energy.

My resolutions (and these are daily) are to:

  • >> Eat three servings of veggies
  • >> Have a green smoothie
  • >> Listen to music while getting ready
  • >> Do yoga
  • >> Get outside for a walk
  • >> In bed by 10 p.m. (Monday through Friday)
  • >> Out of bed by 7:30 a.m. (Monday through Friday)
  • >> Floss

Rubin suggests making a resolution chart to help to keep you on track and to have a constant reminder of what your resolutions are for the month.

Mine looks like this:

But for those of you who are artsy or have any sort of computer skills it may look a little different.

So, who’s up for this “no shit experiment?” In the words of Jerry Maguire: “Who’s comin’ with me?”

Happiness project or not, here’s a great way to have some fun.

Put on your favorite album (album of choice for me: Ceremonials by Florence and the Machine!), leave your yoga mat in the corner and just start to move. See what comes up. The freedom that comes from moving outside the confines of your mat brings up some exciting new sequences/dance moves.

In my mind I look something like this:

I probably look something like this:

Hopefully it’s somewhere in between.


Cheers to happiness!

P.S. Pass it on to anyone you think could use a little extra happiness.

Themes to come: finances, relationship, friendships, work, no fear. So far that’s all I have. Any ideas??? Leave a comment!

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

Like elephant health & wellness on facebook.


About Shawna Turner

Shawna Turner. Aimless wanderer. Happiest with a book in one hand, glass of wine in the other, dreaming of down dogs, knitting, and really good cheese. Blog: a side of yoga..


16 Responses to “Happiness & “The No Sh*t Experiment.””

  1. Emily says:

    I am just finishing Ms. Rubin's book! I have loved it. Glad to hear you got a lot out of it as well.

  2. Shawna says:

    I loved all the studies and quotes and tips and hints throughout the book. It's like a little guide book to happiness. Have you started a happiness project of your own??

  3. Amanda says:

    Shawna, I loved that book and thanks to you I will actually make my resolutions chart TODAY 🙂

    I would recommend this woman's blog too: http://twelvemonthsoflent.blogspot.com/. She gives herself challenges every month – a life long continuation of lent!

  4. Shawna says:

    Awesome! I'm a super visual person and love to keep notes so the resolution chart is great for me. And I followed her advice on making specific goals…rather than saying " eat more veggies" I made a resolution to eat 3 servings of veggies per day. Thanks for the blog recommendation. Will for sure check it out!!!

  5. Guest says:

    Why not try giving up that which makes you unhappy?

  6. Shawna says:

    Well that's the thing, it's not that I'm unhappy…I'm actually quite a happy person. I just think that I could be happier…that my life could be fuller. Does that make any sense??

  7. Guest says:

    I do see where you are coming from. It does make sense.

    I'm going to ask the following question only because my background is in mathematics and I'm naturally curious.

    What methodology will you use to answer the question: Am I happier than I was before I started this project?

    I'm curious about this question because happiness, to me, seems so subjective. So measuring happiness seems to me to be nearly impossible.

    I've been reading "When the Chocolate runs out", lately, which explores the topic of happiness and unhappiness. The central theme of it seems to be I make myself unhappy through my own mind, stop making myself unhappy and happiness will follow naturally.

    Best wishes in your endeavors.

  8. Shawna says:

    I haven't thought that far…I guess my methodology will be strictly based on how I feel. Happiness is totally subjective and I'm not going to try to measure it. And if I'm being honest there are things in my life or things that I do that bring on feelings of unhappiness….I think I'll start to add that in as a component to the experiment. Like you suggested, 'giving up things that make me unhappy' . I'm going to check out "when the chocolate runs out". Thanks for the well wishes!!!

  9. jane says:

    I really like that alcohol is on your chart.

  10. Shawna says:

    Ha! As in drink less of it… I'm a sucker for wine, which leads to many 'social' cigarettes, which leads to many headaches. I'm hoping that by 'drinking responsibly' I'll have more energy.

  11. Lynne says:

    I love your happiness resolutions – I can do all of them except walk (I broke a bone in my foot walking the dog three days ago) so here I am cleaning out my really full in box and having the time to read the stuff that comes in. Glad I did – here's to being deliciously happy – breathe the wild air….drink loved up water and just be…. one of my favourite musics is any gregorian chant played really loud just love the vibrations…..cheers a friend

  12. maria says:

    Thank you for the inspiration- I'm already doing some of these things, but not finding time for others (for me I need to find a way to incorporate meditation- slow myself down!). Your practice is soo beautiful!! I love free forming it- but I can't always remember the sequence I made up when it is time to do the other side- any suggestions?

  13. shawna says:

    Ahh meditation. i think that will be a whole months theme for me. the video is not of me…i wish my practice looked like that… its Meghan Currie who is in the video…and yes, her practice is so inspiring and beautiful.

  14. Gloria says:

    Great post, Shawna!! 🙂 Genuine, sweet & fun!! Thanks so much and congratulations for your project! 😉

  15. Shawna says:

    Thanks Gloria!!!

  16. […] I’m banning myself from reading anymore yoga, health or happiness blogs. […]