How Improv Increases Self-Esteem

by JillAnne Aden, FCI Community Manager

That voice inside your head that everyone has- is it being kind to you lately? No matter who you are or what your situation may be,  life can sometimes take its toll on your self-esteem, causing you to doubt yourself and your abilities.

Have you always struggled with your own perception of yourself? Or have events recently made you feel less than worthy at things you once found easy to do? No matter your position in life, having a healthy self perception makes a huge difference.

Self-confidence is a key ingredient for positive mental health and wellness, and our self-talk can have a serious effect on our day to day lives.

Improv may just be the missing piece in connecting those dots.

So, how does improv help turn those negative words in your head into a more optimistic and helpful conversation?

First, improv increases confidence in yourself and your own abilities by allowing yourself to learn and play in an environment free of judgment with other people who are experiencing many of the same feelings you may be having! Having positive feedback is a crucial point in the development of self-confidence and improv is all about positive interactions and responses!

Studies have shown the effect that positive teachers feedback has on us all as children learning in school. For example, praise impacts students’ self-regard and self-competence, or their beliefs about their ability to be successful at tasks, because students believe themselves to be more capable of success when they receive more praise (Parsons, Kaczala, & Meece, 1982; Worrall, Worrall, & Meldrum, 1983). So why don’t we deserve that same sort of feedback as adults? Affirmations and  encouraging words are often not maintained when we move on to our adult lives, and improv classes are a huge source of all of those constructive and helpful interactions and comforts we may now be missing in our daily grownup lives.

Second, improv increases awareness of support. Supporting one another and relying on our teammates not only helps one another in scene work but can translate to supporting and relying on yourself more, as well. When you build confidence in knowing you can help others you can often see changes in the way you feel about your own gifts and skill sets, causing a wonderful domino effect in your everyday interactions and the way your brain perceives your own self-worth!

The last example, and perhaps one of the most crucial benefits of improv, is that it’s not just about listening to your own inner voice. One of the most important elements learned is that of listening to others! When you engage with other improvisers, listening to one another and focusing your energy on really hearing what someone has to say helps increase everyone’s sense of self-worth.

Author of The New Psychology of Achievement Brian Tracy says that a problem with decreased attention for people  is that “…every  time you withhold your close attention from another person when they are talking, you make them feel valueless and they will lose their self-confidence. If you do this in the presence of others, you convey to the others that the person speaking is of no importance.” In improv what EVERYONE SAYS HAS VALUE. You can promote the self-confidence of others and yourself in a very special give and take relationship that is very unique to improv.

You deserve to feel good about yourself. You deserve to see yourself in a positive light that will benefit you in all aspects of your adult life. Improv can help give you tools that will have a lasting impact on your self-esteem for years to come by encouraging confidence in your own abilities, increasing awareness of support systems, and reinforcing the great value of listening and feeling truly heard.

Are you ready for a more upbeat frame of mind? Register for a free Discover Improv class now to see what improv can do for your self-confidence!

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