Why Improv for Mental & Emotional Health?

In an era plagued by increasing screen time and less face time, meeting and connecting with people is more important than ever. Human beings crave a community and genuine human connections, but fear and anxiety can keep us from stepping out of our comfort zone and instead keep us tied to the comfort of home or the screen. This is where improvisational comedy comes in.

The power of laughter to transform our brain chemistry has been proven again and again in years of scientific studies. Researchers and clinical psychologists are now discovering the therapeutic benefits in the learning process of improvisational comedy. Improv affects a range of human emotions and life skills and promotes emotional and mental health. Mindfulness, communication skills, social skills, emotional regulation, self-awareness, and interpersonal connections are just a few of the many gains embedded in the process of learning improv.

As the benefits of improv on the brain continue to emerge, mental health professionals and improv theaters all over the world have created therapeutic programs. And the results are clear- improv is good for your emotional health, mental health, personal relationships, and your life!

Here is just some of the research and press dedicated to improvisational comedy:

Tedx: How Improv Comedy Improves Mental Health

US News and World Report: The Health Benefits of Practicing Improv

Washington Post: The Not-So-Funny Reason Therapists are Taking Comedy Classes

CBC News: Laughter Truly the Best Medicine for Mental Health Improv Group

Rutgers: Using Improv to Boost Confidence, Improve Mental Health

Medscape: Improv for Anxiety: A Stand-up Therapeutic Tool?

Psychology Today: Can Improv Comedy Treat Social Anxiety? 7 Pillars of Improv to Achieve Flow and Decrease Anxiety

The Atlantic: Using Comedy Improv as Therapy for Anxiety

Illinois Institute of Technology: Thera-prov: a Pilot Study of Improv Used to Treat Anxiety and Depression

NPR: Using Improv To Help Kids with Autism Show and Read Emotion

Chicago Tribune: For Teens on the Autism Spectrum, Improv Classes Can Aid Communication

Vanderbilt University: Improvement in Social Competence Using a Randomized Trial of a Theatre Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Autism Support Network: Autism, Life, and Learning Improv

Huffington Post: Teens with Autism Stretch, Grow, and Laugh in Improv Classes at Second City

Indiana Public Media: Whose Line is it Really? How Improv Benefits Children with Autism

Southern California Public Radio: How Improv Helps Kids with Autism: A Look at ‘Zip Zap Zop’ Enrichment Improv Can Help Autistic Children Express Themselves

Trent University: Life is Improv: Mental Health, Seniors, and the Joy of Living in the Moment

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