The Impact of Breathing Techniques on the Experience of Stress in Adolescents


  • Severin Hutinski University of Ljubljana



The aim of the master thesis is to address the problem of young people's experience of stress in the educational process. School is the most common source of stress in young people, as it represents a large part of their everyday life. Because the education process has changed significantly over the last two years, stress levels have also increased. As researchers have noted, younger generations are much more vulnerable to social change, especially when it interferes with limiting social contact, so learning techniques to recognise and control stress is crucial.

In a study by Jahan et al., 2021 [1], breathing techniques were used to try to change adolescents' response to experiencing stress and found improvements by comparing well-being before and after the use of breathing techniques using a standardised questionnaire. As these tests are usually conducted in an unnatural environment and use scales to record well-being at a specific moment in time, rather than long term, they often have poor ecological validity. Therefore, in this study we will focus on how individuals experience stress and whether they have noticed any change in themselves during the process.


For the qualitative research, we will use a descriptive method called descriptive experience sampling (hereafter DES), where individuals record their experiences in different moments of the day (when alerted by a random beep or alarm), followed by in-depth interviews about their records [3]. Individuals aged 18 - 21 years, with an equal distribution of M and F (N=20) will be invited to participate. Inclusion criteria for participants are exclusion of any diagnosed mental disorder, and only basic or no knowledge in breathing techniques. Participants will be divided into two groups: (1) in the first group, they will record DES and perform the breathing exercises; (2) in the control group, participants will only record DES without performing the breathing exercises. Participants will record their experience for the first 10 days, followed by a breathing intervention in the first group. For the next 10 days, group 1 participants record DES and daily perform breathing exercises, while the control group remains unchanged. During Phase 1 and 2 we will also conduct in-depth interviews. 

 Expected Results

We will do a qualitative analysis of the data from the interviews, code them and try to form categories. We expect a change in well-being in both groups, perhaps more significant in group 1.


[1] I., Jahan, et al., “Effects of alternate nostril breathing exercise on cardiorespiratory functions in healthy young adults,”. Annals of African medicine, 20(2), 2021.

[2] R. T., Hurlburt and S.A. Akhter, “The Descriptive Experience Sampling method,” Phenom Cogn Sci 5, 271–301, 2006.