What Does Dissatisfaction Mean?

What does dissatisfaction mean? It signifies the presence of a disagreeable emotion, which triggers a neural escape drive. The drive can overturn a government, or create a work art. Such drives exert directed pressure on individuals to act. Triggered by the perception of a better option, these emotional drives can have creative, or destructive effects. 

The drive generates energy, when the better option appears achievable. When the drive is frustrated, it plunges people into unhappiness and depression. 
Dissatisfaction can refer to a temporary setback or to the assessments of a lifetime. While it can be a productive force, the destructive potential of dissatisfaction can be mitigated through self awareness. The emotion emerges from the ability of the mind to compare alternative futures.

  • The drive created by dissatisfaction is a component of the anger response.
  • The social comparison drive contributes to dissatisfaction.
  • Elected governments often arouse this emotion in the populace leading to the anti-incumbency vote.
  • The reward of a change in government grants energy for popular movements.
  • The communications revolution has led to dissatisfaction, which overthrew colonial governments.
  • Political parties spread dissatisfaction to overthrow incumbent governments.
  • The comparison drive spreads dissatisfaction among industrial workers.
  • Evaluate your options in life to avoid being debilitated by dissatisfaction.
  • Mindfulness exercises can enable you to focus on excellence in your tasks.
  • Dissatisfaction can also be a tool, which can guide you to a better life.

What Does Dissatisfaction Mean - The Amygdala
Children express their dissatisfaction by pouting, or stomping their feet. The emotion is a milder expression of the effect of signals from the amygdala. This organ in the limbic system interprets negative signals to trigger anger, or fear.
Deciding on the emotional significance of received sensory inputs, the central nucleus of the organ sends impulses to the brainstem, triggering (typically jumpy) avoidance behavior. Impulses sent by it to the hypothalamus activate the sympathetic nervous system, raising blood pressure and heart beats.

Impulses sent to the facial nerves generate varied expressions, including anger, fear and disgust. Norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine released from the amygdalae raise or lower the interactivity of critical networks, heightening the intensity of fight, flight or freeze responses. The drive created by dissatisfaction is a component of the anger response, which sets off milder variations of these physical responses to create restlessness.

What Does Dissatisfaction Mean - The Social Comparison Theory
In 1954, the social psychologist Leon Festinger proposed the Social Comparison Theory which suggested that people have internal drives, which evaluate their own opinions and desires by comparing themselves to others. They look at the world to evaluate their own views and abilities.

These images are sought to be realistic and achievable. The drive to compare reduces as the comparison image diverges from their images of their own views and abilities. People tend to move into groups of similar opinions and abilities, and they move out of groups that fail to satisfy their comparison drive. When the comparison drive yields images of better worlds, it triggers the dissatisfaction emotion.

What Does Dissatisfaction Mean - The Anti Incumbency Vote

Dissatisfaction senses a better option. “This is not how it is supposed to be.” Elected governments often generate this emotion in the populace. If the option to change the system looks feasible, people act to mitigate the pain of their dissatisfaction. That results in the well known anti incumbency vote. Voting against the government symbolizes reward oriented public behavior, triggered by dissatisfaction.

Professor Wolfram Schultz noted that such behavior is promoted by the release of a group of neurotransmitters by neurons in the early reptilian (approach or withdraw) part of the human brain. When these neurons detect signals of the possibility of a reward within a specific time frame, they release dopamine in the forebrain. Increased dopamine intensifies forebrain activity, bringing clarity to objectives, making the mind feel more energetic and elated.

Passivity changes to intelligent action. The reward of a change of government grants energy to political activists. Heightened prefrontal activity also inhibits the amygdala, a major emotions center. The welcome possibility of change motivates millions of voters to go out and vote, since the action reduces amygdala activity and the pain of their dissatisfaction.


What Does Dissatisfaction Mean - The War Option
Dissatisfaction is only triggered with the awareness of a better option. Over centuries, people in countries around the world passively accepted the denial of their basic rights through colonization. Domination by another country, class distinctions, or racial characteristics subjugated millions. But, the spread of communication made these people aware of a better option. That insight changed their passive acceptance into the simmering drive of dissatisfaction.

Visualization of the freedom option by the populace, generated drives, which swept away governments around the world. The colonial wars, which freed America and the French Revolution drew their energies from the passionate dissatisfaction of whole populations. The recognition of a better option by whole populations converted passive acceptance into fierce drives motivated by dissatisfaction.

What Does Dissatisfaction Mean – The Political Tool
The spread of dissatisfaction is the most potent tool employed by political parties to overthrow incumbent governments. The spread of dissatisfaction is built into the culture of politics. Politicians avoid any mention of the successes of their opponents. Any such acknowledgment will be used by their opponents as proof that there is no need for dissatisfaction.

Opposition politicians highlight failures in the existing system, implying that if they came into power, they would remove those faults. They paint grand visions of possible changes. The dissatisfaction emotion has a narrow view of the world.

When people experience the emotion, they completely forget the benefits brought to them by the present administration. People can only see the “better option,” when they suffer the pain of dissatisfaction. Unfortunately, it is in the nature of the democratic culture to spread dissatisfaction in the population at large.

What Does Dissatisfaction Mean – The Unrealistic Option
The comparison drive always compares realistic possibilities. A person compares his wealth with that of his neighbor and not with that of a film star. Even then, many people visualize low probability options. Their better visions are often not possible in real life. They visualize lifestyles, which would have been possible, if only they had been born into a different family or community.

They visualize situations, where their employers are more successful. If only they had easier jobs. If only their superiors were more thoughtful and kind. The dissatisfaction emotion is a whirr... click mechanism. The visualization of a better option triggers the emotion. In a Mercer study of 30,000 workers worldwide, between 28% and 56% of workers around the globe wanted to leave their jobs. Dissatisfaction would still have followed them into their new jobs. A futile sense of dissatisfaction has become a major malaise in society.

What Does Dissatisfaction Mean – A Need For Self Awareness
People need to still the hidden current of dissatisfaction, which troubles them. Without their conscious awareness, their minds compare the people all around them, who have fared better in their careers, their family relationships or the management of their health. Become aware of your restlessness and spend a little time in evaluation. The Self Improvement Plan (SIP) suggested in this website is a simple and quick way of bringing your dissatisfactions into the open and confronting them.

The simple logic of this self improvement plan helps to clear your mind quickly, when something bothers you. It can help you to settle your mind and let you sleep soundly. It can help you. particularly, when you are upset. Becoming conscious of your turmoil is important. It is the key to productive self awareness. With SIP, you list the issues, which make you feel dissatisfied. Life often offers you troubling options. It demands hard choices between career and family, or work and relaxation.

If you choose to move to a new job, you could well lose a valued relationship. There may be no quick answers. There are only three options in any troubling situation – do something about it, plan to change it in future, or accept it, if it is unavoidable. SIP is effective, because you can see your options and make your choices. The most powerful outcome of SIP is an acceptance by you of the inevitable. When you realize that the “better option” is actually not there, dissatisfaction will stop nagging you. Across centuries, sages have praised the benefits of self awareness.

What Does Dissatisfaction Mean – Mindfulness Exercises
Dissatisfaction thrives in the absence of focused activity. Negative perceptions triggered from the amygdala take over in spiraling chains of thought. They drive you into despair and unhappiness. As against the depredations of the amygdala, you have a rational prefrontal brain (RB), which takes a calm, common sense view of life. RB takes charge, whenever you focus on a task.

Mindfulness exercises, suggested by the Buddhists, put RB in charge in the simple routines of your life. Some practice is required to prevent the emotional brain from capturing control, when you carry out these daily chores. You will need to bring your attention repeatedly back to the task. Your mind will become quieter. Gradually, with practice, you will realize that even sitting quietly can become an absorbing pastime.

What Does Dissatisfaction Mean – Its Power
Dissatisfaction lies at the root of creative work. When it arises, your mind has become aware of better options. Cherish those insights and patiently follow those goals. Patience will grant you the energy to persist. To bring in the better option, you may need to break the present mold. Identify the source of pain. If your income is inadequate, can you change your priorities and reduce your budgets? If there is no future in your job, can you imagine a happy life within its limitations? If the job doesn't interest you, can you discover ways of doing the job better?

Use dissatisfaction as your guide to better your life. Studies have shown that lottery winners weren’t happier than non-winners, and people with spinal cord injuries were not substantially less happy than those who could walk. If dissatisfaction haunts you, remember that it is only a state of mind. You need to become aware of your turmoil. Then, only simple things are needed to bring joy into your life. A beautiful sunset, or a lilting song. Whatever your background, you can always switch to a life of contentment. It is purely your choice.

This page was last updated on 18-Sep-2016.



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NEED MORE?

For my peace of mind, I earmarked 20 minutes for meditation on the terrace. With my eyes closed, I sense my hands on the chair and feel the numbness in my feet.

I feel my breath flowing through my nose, my throat, my chest and my stomach. I can hear the chirping of birds, the phut phut of auto rickshaws, the occasional roar of a truck and the insistent hooting of horns.

The wide sky and the treetops come to my attention, when I open my eyes, I see a pale moon over two hundred thousand miles away. I see the nuclear fires, blazing for millions of years in the pale globe of the setting sun. I see a single star millions of miles away in space.

I can see green shoots coming up on a tree, watch the dives and swoops of birds, the great circles of the hawks and flocks of birds flying home for the night.

Diffused light from the sun reflects off a parrot on the tree and enters my eye through a pinhole opening. I sense the bustling mood of the bird, even though it is smaller than a drop of water in my eyes.

All these things are seen and felt by me in a few brief minutes. In the distance, is the head of a man seeming to be no bigger than a pea. Yet, that head too sees and feels such things. Ten million people in this great city see and feel in ten million ways.

My mind wanders to a misty view of postwar London; an exciting glimpse of Disneyland. An awed view of Tiananmen Square. The looming Himalayan ranges. My mind takes me to distant galaxies.

It carries me into the heart of millions of invisible neurons, where electrical charges flash thousands of times a second powering my contemplation. I see the campaigns of Julius Caesar and Alexander. I feel the longings of Jehangir.

Already my mind has taken me to palaces, battlefields and even the stars. If I lost everything, but can just see and feel, in just a few brief minutes, my mind can travel the world, or imagine the cosmos.

While my thoughts wandered far and near, the thought "20 minutes is a long time" also kept floating in. And yet, life has already blessed me with over twenty million waking minutes! I have an infinity of time on my hands. Have I a right to expect more from life?

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Joe Glen USA.

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