The Japanese take lessons to relearn how to smile | world news

Smile classes are now available for Japanese people after three years of government recommendations that people wear masks.

After the COVID-19 pandemic has spread across the world in 2020, people in the country have been advised to wear masks in order to protect themselves from respiratory diseases.

According to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, since the recent lifting of mask rules, many people have struggled to adjust to life without face coverings.

Some have forgotten how to smile and feel the need to repeat the facial expression, the newspaper said.

Sessions hosted by the Akabane Elderly Relief Center have grown in popularity with more people requesting individual lessons since late last year.

The number of candidates was multiplied by 4.5 after the media first reported in February 2023 that the government would drop its recommendation to wear masks.

In May, Japan said face coverings should be an individual choice and lowered the severity classification of the virus.

“As wearing a mask has become the norm, people have fewer opportunities to smile, and more and more people have developed a complex about it,” said Keiko Kawano, coach of the “education at the smile” Egaoiku, to Asahi Shimbun.

“Moving and relaxing facial muscles is key to a good smile,” she added.

So how are the lessons going?

Participants are given a hand mirror to check their progress and smiles, with some adjusting their facial expression until they are happy with the result of their natural smile.

Yasuko Watarai, a participant in one of the lessons, told the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper: “Smiles are essential for communication without a mask.

“I want to apply what I learned today in volunteer activities and other gatherings.”

Ms Kawano said she wants people to spend more time smiling for their physical and mental well-being.

“Smiling not only makes a good impression on others and facilitates communication, but also has the effect of making you feel more positive.

“I want people to spend time consciously smiling for their (physical) and mental well-being,” she added.

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What are some of the benefits of smiling?

According to Delaware Psychological Services, some of the benefits of smiling include longer life and lower blood pressure.

A study conducted in 2010 revealed that a genuine and intense smile is linked to a longer life expectancy.

Smiling more often helps improve your mood, and laughter can lower blood pressure.

“When endorphins are released to counteract the negative effects of stress hormones, your body relaxes – lowering your blood pressure. The combination of these ‘feel good’ hormones with lowered blood pressure improves your mood, relieves anxiety and relieves tension from your heart,” the Henry Ford Health website said.


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