Most people think improv is about performance – which makes sense because you do improvise in a group, sometimes in front of other people. But it’s clear that improv has many benefits not related to performing. Improv provides a necessary creative outlet, teaches give and take, and fosters a sense of community and friendship. Improv is very beneficial to every day life for people in varying states of mental and physical health. At the very least, who doesn’t feel better after laughing for two hours? Here are some other ways improv can improve your life over time:

Improv can teach you to deal with hard life moments better

We know that life can be difficult sometimes. One way improv can help you learn to deal better is through mindfulness training. Just like with meditation, improv is all about being in the moment, which can also be called mindfulness. If you’re awareness is in the current moment, you’re able to process emotions better and usually feel less anxious about your circumstances.

Improv can make you more decisive

A main principle of improvisation is speaking without a script, meaning you have to make lightening-fast-split-second decisions about what you’re going to say next. This practice strengthens your decision making skills because there is no time to second guess yourself. You’re forced to commit to decisions you make and accept responsibility. These are tough, sometimes painful, skills to learn in the real world – but improv provides a safe, nurturing space where you’re forced to be decisive without any punishment or negativity.

Improv can improve your communication skills

One of the hardest skills for people to learn in life is listening. It sounds like it should be easy, but most of us habitually speak in ways that don’t allow much time for listening. During improv, listening is imperative. Listening and observing are the true keys to good improv. If you don’t hear your partner, you’ll probably respond with someone that doesn’t make much sense, effectively ending what could be a great scene.

Improv can make you a nicer person

Another main principle of improv is not being allowed to say no. In the first class, you’ll be told to always respond with “Yes, and…” to whatever your partner says. Often in life we automatically say no to someone’s idea simply because we’re used to saying no first. But as they say in theatre, your main job is to make your scene partner look good. That way everyone ends up looking good and feeling good.

Improv builds trust

Improv can be scary, but once you try you’ll find a wonderful, welcoming community. This safe space has been shown to help build self confidence, through facing your fears, and self acceptance, by silencing the inner critic. It’s incredible how doing improv can grow trust in your community and trust in yourself.

With all these amazing benefits and real life skills, who wouldn’t want to try improv?

Improv Therapy Group offers an applied improv approach to team building, communication, creativity and learning emotional intelligence.

A few example modules include:

  • Magic Words: Communication and “Yes, And”
  • On the Spot: Public Speaking and Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright
  • Heal Thyself: Humor and Self Care
  • Let Go: Stress Reduction Through Improv
  • Us is More: Group Mind and Team-Building
  • Feelin’ It: Emotional Intelligence and Empathy
  • and many more . . .