Improv Games for Positivity and Happiness
Positivity and happiness are closely linked. It has been repeatedly shown that we feel better if we are positive, even if this feels unnatural at the time. Make yourself smile and the brain instantly sets of a chain reaction that makes us feel happy. Sometimes we just need to draw breath, collect ourselves and smile. Improv games can go one stage further and turn that smile into a genuine belly laugh, and that really will make you feel happier.
1. Yes and
It is time or the bedrock of all improv games. The tenet of our entire artform. However well we may know this, and however many times it has already been done, it is always a good starting point for a group. It relies on positivity in it’s very design, but also demands a positive attitude underlying it.
- Get into pairs.
- 1st person suggests an activity starting with the word ‘Let’s’. Eg. ‘Let’s draw a fish’
- 2nd person responds with ‘yes and…’ before adding something to the idea.
- Every subsequent sentence starts with ‘yes and’
- It might go like this…
- ‘Let’s draw a fish’
- ‘Yes and let’s colour it purple’
- ‘Yes and let’s make it psychedelic’
- ‘Yes and then it could come to life’
- ‘Yes and then we could have psychedelic fish and chips’ etc.
- Make sure, however clunky it may feel to start each response with the actual words, Yes and…’
- Try to ensure that the next idea does actually follow on. For example, ‘Let’s draw a fish’, ‘Yes and let’s go to the moon’ are just two separate ideas.
- A deeper understanding of what kind of person you are.
- A tool for idea generation
- The bedrock of improv.
2. Three line scenes
This is a culmination of many of our improv workshops and is a great place to see the learning that has hopefully been embedded. Coaching participants to accept ideas and remain positive can really help the scenes fly.
- Participants stand in a two lines facing each other. One line is designated as the starting line.
- The first person from this line steps forward to the person opposite. These two people are now in a ‘3 line scene’.
- The first person says a line of dialogue
- The second responds
- The first finishes the scene with one more line.
- An experienced facilitator can include many variants, and give personal notes to people to achieve different outcomes.
- It is helpful to encourage people not in that scene to pay attention and to show their appreciation afterwards.
- Try to avoid questions
- Try not to plan too much
- Co-creating a scene
- Exuding confidence
- Endowing other people with confidence.
It may not be immediately obvious why this improv game is in the positivity and happiness section. However, whenever I play it, I laugh, connect, fail and love to fail along with everyone else. It just makes me happy.
- Participants stand in a circle and a pattern is set up around the circle.
- The easiest pattern is to say ‘you’ and point to someone else.
- Leave your arm out to show you have contributed to the pattern.
- The person you pointed to then points to someone else and says ‘you’.
- This continues until a pattern involving all the players is established.
- Then the pattern is repeated and learned by the participants.
- Then another pattern can be established. It can be anything such as a catagory, people’s names or anything else you may choose.
- It is helpful if the pattern is different to the first one.
- Then both patterns can be started simultaneously and the group must try to keep both going.
- Try adding patterns until it becomes impossible!
- Make sure to get eye contact with the next person in the pattern and try to make sure they have ‘received’ your pass.
- Try song lyrics or each other’s names, but not the name of who you are pointing at!
- Being in the moment
Not sure you can land this one? Call The Maydays, and we can deliver these games either as part of a CPD accredited Business Improv Workshop, or as a free-standing energiser sequence at a conference or industry event.
We also create and deliver custom improvisation workshops for your business. Here are some of the most popular improv training formats in London, across the UK and internationally.
The Maydays are one of the longest established and renowned improvisation companies in the UK. We deliver comedy improv shows around the world, run regular improv classes in London and Brighton, and regularly deliver custom business improv solutions for organisations. Read how improv at work works here!
We would love to hear about your experiences trying these improv games. To tell us about it, or to find out how we can bring Improv Training to your life and work, get in touch