DEPRESSION? FEAR? ANXIETY?
Millions of people all over the world suffer from mental health issues, among those, two of the most common are anxiety and depression. Even without clinical diagnoses, many of us have found ourselves panicking in social situations or falling depressed in the face of stress. So what if there was a way to improv-e your mental health without a doctor’s note? Turns out one of the solutions may be in improvisational acting.
According to U.S. News, improv has multiple health benefits (aside from being just flat out entertaining). In fact, the article reads that a third to half of improv participants start out in their classes to get over shyness or social anxiety. Many of them, the article says, feel that they are consumed by the past and future, but improv helps them be in the present moment. Read the rest of the article here.
Aside from other proven uses for improv, like the treatment of Alzheimers and in cognitive behavioral therapy, this unscripted acting allows people to learn to make and accept mistakes and face their fears in a safe place surrounded by the support of their teammates. Starting to sound better than therapy?
A NEW FORM OF THERAPY
Well, maybe not better than therapy, but maybe equal to! In fact, some institutions have discovered these positive effects of improv and have started incorporating improv into their mental health programs. Chicago’s Panic & Anxiety Recovery Center (PARC) calls improv “a life-long journey of exploration and discovery” that is a journey to feeling comfortable in your own skin. Sounds pretty therapeutic to me.
PARC’s list of improv’s benefits to your health goes on and on, including things like improved social intelligence, observations skills, verbal and non-verbal communication, even heightened creativity and spacial awareness (Read the full article here). Seriously, is improv, like, magic?
Improv isn’t magic. But it is a challenging artform that truly pushes participants to the limits, allowing them to experience and discover their limits (and even move past those limits). Interested in improv? Feel free to explore our very own improv programs, or check out one of our many improv shows, including a special two-person improv show (for mature audiences) presented by two of our instructors. Start your improv therapy today!
Written by Katherine Rhoden / October 13, 2016