Kicker: Relearning to smile | WORLD
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Kicker: Relearning to smile


WORLD Radio - Kicker: Relearning to smile

After three years of mask wearing, some people have forgotten how to smile

A woman wearing a face mask walks across the famed scramble crossing in the Shibuya entertainment district of Tokyo, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. AP Photo/Hiro Komae

MARY REICHARD, HOST: A study from the National Institutes of Health back in 2021 warned parents about wearing masks around babies. Government experts telling us that infants who can’t see their parents’ faces are likely to be delayed in physical and emotional development.

Of course, seeing a parent smile is part of how a baby learns to smile, too.

And not just babies, it turns out.

A story out this week out of Japan reports growth of a new industry: classes and coaching to learn to smile! Or relearn, really. Japan’s mask mandate ended earlier this year but after three years of required use, some Japanese are finding the transition back to life without masks uncomfortable.

Some say they’ve forgotten how to smile. Others are just feeling insecure about their smiles. And the fact that many haven’t seen smiling faces around them since 2020 seems to be one of the largest factors leading to the problem.

So what’s to be taught to otherwise emotionally healthy adults?

Well, back to basics. Stretching techniques, facial relaxation, and instructions on when it’s appropriate to smile and when it’s not.

This story comes from The Guardian. One smile-education coach reports that business is booming. And that’s sure to bring a smile to the face of the instructor, and who knows? Maybe that’s part of the therapy.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

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