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Anxiety Management


One effective tool for managing anxiety is practicing the art of improvisation. More and more research is showing that incorporating improv into someone’s therapeutic treatment plan can help alleviate anxiety and depression.

The Problem with Anxiety  

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that people with anxiety are between three and five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric complications. Though anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., less than 40% of those struggling receive treatment. Imagine how unacceptable this statistic would be if it applied to individuals struggling with cancer or heart disease! Instead of trending towards improvement, TIME has exposed that anxiety rates are rising among U.S. adults. Fortunately, however, awareness about anxiety-related health issues is growing and effective treatments are being explored. 

Improv as a Tool for Anxiety Management 

One effective tool for managing anxiety is practicing the art of improvisation. More and more research is showing that incorporating improv into someone’s therapeutic treatment plan can help alleviate anxiety and depression. 

Mark Pfeffer is a psychotherapist and the director of the Panic Anxiety Recovery Center in Chicago. In 2011, he launched a class called “Improv for Anxiety” that helps participants embrace uncertainty and relieve various social fears. In his article, “Comedic Improv Therapy for the Treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder”, he explores four critical therapeutic elements that improv can offer someone: 

  1. Group Cohesion 
  2. Play
  3. Exposure 
  4. Humor  

Why Improv Helps 

Along with a growing number of trained therapists, Mark believes that improvisation can shed light on certain fears in the safe context of group play and help people step beyond their anxiety. Two major therapeutic benefits of improv for treating anxiety are exposure and unconditional positive regard. Participants can expose themselves in the safety of group play to themes or ideas or situations that normally give them anxiety. By playful risk-taking, individuals can step beyond embarrassment and shame and fear. 

The Yes And mantra of improv promotes unconditional acceptance of someone’s presence and their ideas and involvement in a scene. This unconditional positive regard encourages people to take healthy risks and to accept the unknown within a scene in a safe context. The openness and freedom of play is critical to alleviating the anxiety that people experience. 

Community and Connection 

Belonging to an improv group or attending a group class can help facilitate connection and belonging. A great resource for dealing with anxiety is to form connections with others who may also experience social fear, depression, or anxiety. Arranging meet-ups with a small group and being intentional about connecting with others who may suffer from anxiety can help relieve the isolation that often accompanies anxiety-related disorders. Finding or forming an improv group can be a great way to find community and address anxiety in a safe, fun, and effective manner. 

Christiana Frank
Consultant / Trainer / Program Developer / Speaker- International.

As an accomplished educator, curriculum developer, and mentor since 1999, Christiana Frank possesses a deep-rooted passion for guiding teams and individuals towards heightened mindfulness, capacity, and intentionality. She boasts an impressive portfolio of certifications spanning various fields, including but not limited to mindfulness and trauma-informed approaches, Applied Improvisation, and HeartMath.

In addition to her expertise, Christiana offers a wide range of services tailored to meet her clients’ needs. These include leadership coaching, organizational consulting, bespoke leadership training, mentoring, and development services. She is deeply committed to integrating her profound knowledge within her clients’ existing methodologies and frameworks, fostering more robust, healthier systems that consistently yield desired outcomes.

Interested parties are invited to reach out for a complimentary consultation or to engage Christiana and her dedicated team. To get started, please email .

1 thought on “Anxiety Management”

  1. I never realized how many people were suffering from anxiety. I’ve recently immersed myself into the world of improv, and can say with certainty that it has helped me cope with my anxious tendencies (hasn’t gotten rid of them, but everything takes time and practice). I’ve taken the ‘Yes And’ mantra and applied to my daily life, I am giving myself the Yes! Validating my own feelings has given me a whole new sense of awareness I’d hadn’t possessed before.

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