mpup hero 2000x700

Mindset: Performance Under Pressure

Change the way you think to change the way you feel

Enhance well being

Improve wellbeing and performance under pressure

Decrease anxiety

Providing strategies that can be employed by individuals beyond the programme for themselves and others

See the upsides of stress

Possess more adaptive beliefs about stress and see the stressful events as a challenge rather than as a threat

Across all walks of life, individuals are required to perform well in challenging circumstances. This experience can be stressful and may sometimes have a negative influence on wellbeing. Mindset: Performing Under Pressure (MPUP) is a multimodal cognitive behavioural intervention that seeks to enhance individuals' wellbeing and performance in a variety of contexts ranging from students to athletes to the emergency services. Adopting a combination of education and applied strategies, MPUP is designed upon a sound theoretical background and supports individuals to experience more helpful thinking strategies that are effective in both their specific performance domain and more broadly as a life skill. 
MPUP 600x325

Bespoke workshops tailored to your requirements

The main premise of the intervention is to change the way in which individuals think, which in turn, adaptively influences their emotions and behaviours in respect of performing under pressure. This begins with changing the way individuals think about stress. Most people view stress in a solely negative way, but studies suggest that adopting a more balanced view of stress in general can be at the root of a range of helpful stress-related outcomes. The intervention also uses strategies such as imagery, self-compassion and enhancing perceptions of control that individuals can utilise before, during and after stressful situations. Importantly, the intervention has not only achieved beneficial results but has generated encouraging feedback by being rated as an enjoyable and engaging programme that individuals continue to benefit from beyond the intervention. 

Workshops are designed specifically for your needs, so whether you're a sports coach to young athletes or a teacher at a school, we can teach techniques that can be used by all to better manage  the stresses of daily life and ultimately to improve our wellbeing.

Example activity

An example activity is the 'Helpful Thinking' task which looks at how individuals feel immediately before and after a bad result. Following this, individuals select three of the thoughts they wrote and give advice to a friend to think in a more helpful way, if they were to have those thoughts. This provides individuals the tools to make their own helpful thinking cues.

Helpful Thinking Task (opens as a PDF)

Who we've worked with

Here are some of the schools, sports clubs and organisations we have worked with. 

The discussions were interesting, relatable examples used and the information and presentation method was engaging

Elite Irish women's footballer

I thought it was an interesting intervention that will help me for big games which I could get nervous for

Crewe Alexandra U18 academy footballer

Register your interest

If you would like us to get in touch with you about delivering sessions to your school or organisation, then please submit the form with your details.

Meet the team

Dr Paul Mansell


I am a Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology here at Staffordshire University. My research areas include stress mindset, Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), stress appraisals, psychological wellbeing, and athletic performance.

Dr Katie Sparks

Lecturer In Sport & Exercise Psychology

I am Sport and Exercise Psychology lecturer, active researcher, and Performance Lifestyle consultant. I am interested in the influence of third-wave strategies on wellbeing and performance in demanding contexts.

Katie's profile
MPUP podcast 600x325

Performing Under Pressure Podcast

A podcast that explores how individuals connected to sport are able to perform under pressure.

Listen on Sport Social Podcast Network
MPUP news 600x325

Embracing stress helps young athletes develop a winning mindset

Sports psychology academics from Staffordshire University have found that teaching athletes simple cognitive behavioural techniques can change their ‘stress mindset’ and, in turn, enhance their wellbeing and performance.

Read this story

Recognise stressful situations and turn any negative feelings into positive feelings

My impression of the sessions were very positive. Watching the content of the sessions being delivered I thought that the students were able to engage and relate to the feelings that were discussed when revising for exams and would be able to recognise stressful situations and turn any negative feelings into positive feelings which would hopefully provide a successful outcome. I also noticed how the students were also able to apply these techniques not only to exam preparation but also in day to day stressful situations. It has also allowed the students to look at situations in a different way and change their mind-set, instead of worrying about the uncontrollable factors they are able to focus on the factors that are within their control and ensure they do everything they can to prepare to the best of their ability.

I personally feel as though I also benefitted from these sessions as it also persuaded me to take a look at the way I look at stressful situations and focus on the controllable factors. I also liked the way in which we were told to visualise things going right instead of going wrong and perhaps using some vocal cues to help trigger a positive mind-set and a positive way of thinking.

Going forward I think that this is beneficial to not only students but also people of all ages. It wasn’t until I got into working life that I realised that your frame of mind and psychology in sport plays a huge part in the probable outcome. Preparing our students for their exams can be a stressful time for and I think that successful revision sessions coupled with the intervention that yourself and Jason conduct will help them to give them the best possible chance of a successful result.

Newcastle Sixth Form College Teacher

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2024

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021