Volume 14(2), 2018-08, 233—257

Designing a Eustress Toolbox: From entrepreneur experiences to an online service

Päivi Heikkilä
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Finland

Elina Mattila
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Finland

Mari Ainasoja
University of Tampere
Finland

Stress is typically seen as a negative phenomenon. However, the positive side of stress (i.e., eustress) has the potential to improve well-being, productivity, and innovativeness, thus increasing individuals’ daily resources at work. Focusing on eustress could enhance work engagement by turning some of the negatively perceived stressors into positive challenges. We explored this possibility by interviewing 21 Finnish entrepreneurs from various fields regarding their experiences of eustress. Nine of the interviewed entrepreneurs also recorded a eustress diary. Based on thematic analysis of the interview data, six main themes supporting eustress were identified: (a) Self-reflection toward changing the mindset, (b) Organizing work, (c) Stimulating positive pressure, (d) Harnessing a feeling of joy, (e) Mental preparation, and (f) Recovery. A Web-based service, the Eustress Toolbox, was designed to support practicing eustress skills related to the six main themes within the daily lives of the entrepreneurs.

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