Self-esteem is viewed as a core personality trait that affects nearly every aspect of life, including social, academic, emotional, and behavioral. Self-esteem is also a trait that is developed at a young age and can persist throughout adulthood, thus influencing every domain of life. Based on these theories, mental health experts believe that fortifying self-esteem in young people can have dramatic effects on school adjustment and school retention rates.
In South Korea, the number of students enrolled in school has declined in recent years, but the drop-out rate has remained the same. Low self-esteem resulting in depression, self-harm, worthlessness, and lack of motivation is thought to contribute to these dropout rates. Yang Gyeong Yoo of the Department of Nursing at the Kunsan National University in Korea believes that implementing a self-esteem-building program to young elementary-aged students could serve to provide positive long-term mental health, academic, and behavioral outcomes.
Maum meditation is a form of meditation that aims to cleanse the mind of past negative emotions in a way that is not entirely different from cognitive therapy. Maum meditation targets the dysfunctional emotions attached to negative memories and by eliminating them, strives to eliminate negative behaviors, beliefs, and self-appraisals that lead to low self-esteem.
To determine whether or not this form of meditation could help improve self-esteem, Yoo enrolled 25 elementary school students in Maum meditation for several weeks and assessed their self-esteem and adjustment to school before and after the intervention. The results revealed that those in the Maum meditation group had higher levels of self-esteem after five weeks than control participants who did not participate in meditation.
Further, the Maum group also had higher levels of school adjustment five weeks after the program. Yoo also found that those who scored highest practiced Maum during school vacations, although only for ten minutes each day, which underscores the benefits derived from consistent and persistent meditation. Overall, these findings indicate that big improvements in self-worth can be made with small periods of meditation. Yoo added, “Therefore, we suggest employing Maum Meditation as a school-based meditation program for mental health promotion of children for formation of their personality and habits.”
Yoo, Yang Gyeong, and In Soo Lee. (2013). The effects of school-based Maum Meditation Program on the self-esteem and school adjustment in primary school students. Global Journal of Health Science 5.4 (2013): 14-27. ProQuest. Web.
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