Theatrical improvisation betters mental health and increases the level of happiness

Only 20 minutes of theatrical improvisation replace a session of psychotherapy and help people feel happier - this is the conclusion reached by scientists from Stony Brook University (USA). According to researchers, the positive effect of theatrical improvisation is associated with getting into a vague situation. Unlike perfomancecxs where the action takes place according to a fixed scenario, improvisation allows people to be spontaneous. Participants understand that further developments depend on themselves and their ability to hear and interact with training partners. 

About 200 volunteers took part in two experiments to study the positive effects of theatrical improvisation. In the first experiment, people were divided into two groups, one of which was scripted and the other was to improvise. It turned out that people who acted in a situation of uncertainty improved their divergent thinking in just 20 minutes - the ability to offer several different solutions to one problem, while the volunteers who acted in the script did not. 

In the second experiment, all participants had to solve problems with the involvement of other members of the group, but in the control group people were not able to choose their own partners for interaction. Not only did participants from the core group appear to have been more effective at completing the task, but they also felt much happier than the people whose actions were predetermined. 

Scientists note that situations requiring improvisation, not only help to improve thinking abilities, but also help to open up the creative potential and contribute to the formation of better skills of social interaction. They also believe that the psychotherapeutic effect of improvisation training is based on increasing people's tolerance for situations of uncertainty: it is fear of the future that often leads to the development of anxiety and depression. During improvisation, participants understand that they can influence the situations, making decisions and interacting with other people. This improves mental health and makes people feel happier and freer.

April 20, 2020, 9:33 a.m.

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