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Improv isn’t therapy – but it can do wonders for your wellbeing

Lots of people come to my workshops because they struggle with social anxiety, self-doubt, or imposter syndrome. Sometimes all three.  

As we spend more time working from home, these challenges can get worse. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of going over old mistakes, being overly critical of ourselves, thinking we’re not enough, and feeling hyper self-conscious. Working from home means we don’t have the watercooler to vent, and we can’t as easily get direct feedback or comfort from others.

So many people have lost their confidence because of what’s happening in the world and the unpredictable nature of life. That’s why it’s so important that we now take the time to build ourselves and others up.

I’ve spoken to so many people who are desperate for a boost. An outlet that will help them find themselves again. But in a non-threatening and light-hearted way.

Whatever way we look at it, we could all do with getting out of the house and our own heads.

​Improv is not medicine, but it has the power to make you feel absolutely great.

Improv reminds us to look out and look up.   

There are times when we need to sit down and reflect, and there are times when we just need to get out there and give it a go. Improv is like being a child again – you’re not overthinking, you’re not second guessing yourself.  There’s no time to worry and ruminate.  

You’re given an offer and a scenario, and you just run with it. This may sound scary, but it’s actually really freeing.  

This is mindfulness, but not as you know it.

During improv you’re too busy accepting offers from other people and responding to the scenario to get lost in your thoughts.

Improv is a great way of slowing down our monkey mind. We focus on what our teammates are saying and doing in the moment, rather than trying to guess what we think they’re going to say next or worry about what they think of us.

A lot of the time our anxiety, depression, or stress is caused by replaying the past or trying to predict the future. But in improv you can’t jump ahead or go back, there’s only the moment you’re in right now.

Your team have your back. There’s no room for negativity or putting others down.

I set the scene from the very beginning about the non-negotiables of improv – no judging, no dismissing, no cliques, and no talking about the issues outside the session.

I’ve seen people come out of their shell because of this safe culture. They finally feel seen, heard, and validated. The principle of “yes, and”, where you build on each other’s ideas, creates an atmosphere of acceptance and freedom. You’re not going to do it wrong or be laughed at or shut down for suggesting an idea.

There’s no right way. This is a great way to quieten your inner critic or silence your imposter syndrome as you give something new a go, realising you can’t really get it wrong.

Improv is a great stress release.

When we get stressed, life feels serious and heavy. Improv is the perfect antidote to life’s burdens and challenges. It’s light, fun, and it gets you laughing and moving – releasing those endorphins. It helps us let go of inhibitions and control.

Laughter is a glue for teams.

We all want to feel like we belong to something bigger than ourselves. Working in a group during improv helps you feel like you’re part of a culture again – you’re not an island trying to figure out everything alone. Teams that laugh together, stay together.

The playful, joyful parts of you may feel buried right now, but improv can help you bring them out in the open again.

So, give improv a go. I promise you’ll feel so much better for it. 


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