Smiling Lessons in Japan as Masks Come Off
Japan’s government has eased its mask guidelines, but after three years of wearing masks in public, many seniors are enrolling in classes to help them re-learn how to smile. The toll it’s taken on the Japanese people mentally is evident, with requests for smiling lessons rising 4.5-fold over last year.
The Need for Smiling Lessons
One study found that social isolation and loneliness are major risk factors that have been linked with poor physical and mental health status. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated. Meanwhile, a University College London study found that those over the age of 55 were particularly prone to have mobility issues and loneliness if they worked from home as opposed to commuting.
The Importance of Smiling
With mask-wearing having become the norm, people have had fewer opportunities to smile, and more and more people have developed a complex about it. Smiling not only makes a good impression on others and facilitates communication but also has the effect of making yourself feel more positive. Keiko Kawano, a “smile trainer” and instructor, is helping people re-learn how to smile. “Moving and relaxing the facial muscles is the key to making a good smile,” she says.
The Failure to Maintain a Balance
If you needed an example of how horribly we’ve failed at maintaining a balance between physical health and mental health during the pandemic, you could hardly do better than this. These were the people we were told we needed to lock down and mask up to protect. Now, three years on, we see that they need to be taught to re-learn smiling.
- Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia.
- Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature, indie rock, coffee, Formula One, and football.
- He is a graduate of the Catholic University of America and speaks English and Spanish.
" Conservative News Daily does not always share or support the views and opinions expressed here; they are just those of the writer."