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How the “Yes, And” Improv Technique Can Improve Your Positivity

Previously we have talked about how positively impactful an improv class can be on your emotional health.  Today I’d like to talk about a specific improve technique and how it can improve your positivity.  It’s called “Yes, And.”

Here’s how it works:  When on the improv stage, the most important thing is to keep the momentum going — so whenever the opportunity presents it self, your first respond should be “yes, and…”

improv for positivity

That’s a little obtuse, so let me give you a specific example.  Let’s say we’re playing a storytelling game, and I start off with the line, “Today we’re going to talk about what happened to those three bears.”   A constrictive response to that first line would be, “They had to clean up Goldilocks’ mess.”  That kind of kills the story arc right there.  Instead, what if I said, “Yes, and we’ll find out if they ever saw Goldilocks again.”  Now, the plot has expanded, and also draws in more intrigue as well.

Here’s another one.  Let’s say I’m up on stage introducing a mindfulness workshop (a truly probable scenario).  I open with the, line “Today we’re going to talk about mindfulness,” and you build on my statement with, “Yes, and how you can use it to feel happier before you even leave this room.” See how the energy just builds?

That’s what I love about “Yes, And” — it just keeps sending the energy higher and higher.  Expansion.

How to Use “Yes, And” for Powerful Positivity

I have several practical scenarios for looking at “Yes, And” as a junction for injecting your own positive, mindful mindset into any situation.  Here are some examples:

Expanding the Conversation:  Conversations can easily go awry, or not even get off the ground.  “Yes, And” can help.  Here’s an example:

  • “Politics are so controversial these days.  I can’t even stand the news.”
  • Response:  “Yes, and the controversy has really engaged voters across the board.  Have you seen all the new documentaries on Netflix?  One of my recent favorites is…”

See how that gives you an opportunity to pull a negative/down conversation thread into the positive?  If the response was “yes, but,” it can feel dismissive of the original comment.  “Yes, And” acknowledges their comment and then allows you to take the wheel!

Get Unstuck in Your Journal:  Have you been working through some of our thoughtful journaling prompts, but are stuck?  “Yes, And” can help.  All you need to do is to go to the point where you are stuck, write “YES, AND” on a clear line, and then see where your pen takes you.  I’ve found this is an excellent way to grease the wheels; in fact, sometimes when I journal I have this on a post-it and I just go over and over answering the question “Yes, And.”  For example:

  • I want to create more space in my life.  Yes, And….
  • I don’t want to feel like I’ve sacrificed anything to do it.  Yes, And…
  • I want more space for just me but also more space for relationships.  Yes, And…

See how this phrasing can help you unpack your thoughts in an expansive way?

Planning Thoughtful Touches for Mindful Moments:  Last example of how I love to use “Yes, And” is when I am doing my own planning of mindful moments.  It’s the perfect driver for helping you think through the thoughtful touches.  Here’s a recent example of planning for one of our Plum Deluxe events:

  • Tea + Yoga.  Yes, And
  • Let’s lead people in a short guided meditation.  Yes, And
  • We can get mugs with positive affirmations inexpensively and include those in the ticket.  Yes, And
  • Let’s encourage people during tea afterwards to meet someone new with conversation cards.  Yes, And…

Expand, expand, expand.  It’s so fun.  Now, you might find on this one that it can get out of control.  I encourage you to go with the original improv intent of “Yes, And” and let things get wild!  Then use your intuition to decide where to draw the line between fun and frivolous/unnecessary.

How will you use this technique?  Drop us a note on Instagram or Facebook – we’d love to hear!

How the "Yes, And" Improv Technique Can Improve Your Positivity

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