The Evidence Portal

Just Breathe

About the program

Just Breathe is a mindfulness training program which was an adaptation for the college population of the Learning 2 Breathe program. The goal of Just Breathe is to enhance emotion regulation in students with group sessions that focus on the following themes:

  • Body awareness
  • Thought awareness
  • Emotion awareness
  • Integration of body, thought and emotion awareness
  • Reduction of self-judgments
  • Integration of mindfulness practice in daily life.

Who does it work for?

Just Breathe is designed for youth aged 18-19 years old. Just Breathe has only been evaluated in the USA. A randomized control trial (Bai et al., 2020) was conducted with 52 people (26 in the intervention group and 26 in the control group). Most students in the study were 18 years old and Caucasian. Most participants were female (65%) and most participants’ parents had graduated from 4 years of college.

Just Breathe has not been evaluated in Australia or with Aboriginal Australians.

What outcomes does it contribute to?

Positive outcomes:

  • Just Breathe participants had reduced levels of negative emotion
  • Just Breathe participants’ levels of rumination (continuously thinking about the same thoughts, which tend to be sad or dark) decreased
  • Just Breathe participants had less interference by unwanted thoughts and emotions.

How effective is it?

Overall, Just Breathe had a positive effect on client outcomes.

How strong is the evidence?

Promising research evidence:

  • At least one high-quality randomised controlled trial (RCT)/quasi-experimental design (QED) study reports statistically significant positive effects for at least one outcome, AND
  • Fewer RCT/QED studies of similar size and quality show no observed effects than show statistically significant positive effects, AND
  • No RCT/QED studies show statistically significant adverse effects.

How is it implemented?

Just Breathe is delivered to groups of 20-25 persons over the course of 6 weeks. Eight 80-minute-long sessions are delivered twice per week in weeks 1 and 2 and delivered once per week in weeks 3-6.

Just Breathe is structured to gradually cultivate inner strength and empowerment throughout the eight sessions, with core themes associated with each session that are developed around the BREATHE acronym. Goals of the program include enhancing students’ emotion regulation skills, introducing simple mindfulness techniques so that students may better manage stressful situations, and facilitating the learning process in a supportive, group environment.

To facilitate outside of classroom practice and promote program retention, students were provided with home practice cards, stickers that reminded them to use mindfulness techniques in response to stress (e.g., taking three mindful breaths), as well as home worksheets with additional mindfulness suggestions. Students were advised to place the handout materials in a visible place that would remind them of their participation in the Just Breathe program and their intention to practice mindfulness skills in daily life.

Facilitators provided audio recordings of guided meditations, instructed participants to practice skills at home, and encouraged them to remind themselves of their intention to practice mindfulness daily outside of the sessions. Participants tracked and submitted logs of their mindfulness practice each week.

How much does it cost?

No program costs are reported for Just Breathe.

What else should I consider?

Just Breathe requires the provision of audio-recordings of guided meditation. Just Breathe is run by two facilitators.

Where does the evidence come from?

1 RCT conducted in the USA with a sample of 52 participants (Bai et al., 2020).

Further resources

Bai, S, Elavsky, S, Kishida, M, Dvořáková, K, & Greenberg, MT 2020, ‘Effects of mindfulness training on daily stress response in college students: Ecological momentary assessment of a randomized controlled trial’, Mindfulness, vol. 11, pp. 1433-1445, viewed 6 July, 2021,

The following studies are particularly relevant to the Just Breathe program:

Dvořáková, K, Kishida, M, Li, J, Elavsky, S, Broderick, PC, Agrusti, MR, & Greenberg, MT 2017, ‘Promoting healthy transition to college through mindfulness training with first-year college students: Pilot randomized controlled trial’, Journal of American College Health, vol. 65, pp. 259–267,

Broderick, PC 2013 Learning to breathe: A mindfulness curriculum for adolescents to cultivate emotion regulation, attention, and performance, New Harbinger Publications, Oakland, CA.

Last updated:

08 Dec 2022

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