How To Overcome Disappointment
To Overcome Disappointment
feel let down. Your expectations of a happy outcome failed to
emerge. Surely, you deserved the positive outcome. What
happened was surprising and could not be controlled through your
personal actions. You even suspect that you will not get, or ever
achieve, what you genuinely wanted. What you feel is not a sense of
regret about your own actions, but distress, tinged with sadness, or
anger, over the outcome. You wish to escape this overwhelming sense
of helpless gloom. Take heart. There are actions you can take to
calmly accept the mishap, still the distress and move on.
stressful emotions you feel are instinctive and impulsive reactions
to a let down. You can overcome the agitation, when your mind shifts
away from its emotional viewpoint. A changed outlook will banish the
cycling “what might have been” images in your mind and still the
nagging sense of sadness. Disappointment is a frequent and negative
emotion. It provides a graded response. The greater the anticipation,
the greater the disappointment. The emotion can lead on to
depression. You mus act to replace disappointment with creative
excitement and joy by understanding and overcoming the emotional
of turmoil in your mind. Follow these steps to reach a sense of
creative calm. Then you will make a practical plan to move on.
mind makes its decisions by calibrating the strength of your
emotions regarding the outcomes.
LHb responds to errors in your decision making process.
is one of the most powerful among the calibrating emotions.
aware of your thought processes.
the setback and avoid "what might have been" thoughts.
aware that you may be over reacting to a setback.
your life with small and rewarding tasks as a part of your daily
a new plan for your life.
To Overcome Disappointment -The Calibrating Emotion
uses disappointment to teach you how to make crucial decisions, when
faced with uncertainty. It is a powerful emotion, which calibrates
actual outcomes against your expectations. Damasio's Somatic Marker
Hypothesis suggests that emotional calibration is cardinal to complex
decision making. Life throws you many conflicting options. According
to the scientist Frijda, emotions, their bodily effects and the
desire to enjoy, or avoid similar experiences in the future decide
your choices. Your mind is constantly recording your significant
experiences with a calibrated range of emotions.
finely differentiated grades of experienced emotions enable you to
make wise choices. Stronger emotions prevail over weaker ones. Your
mind makes those subtle choices, which empower rational thinking,
including reward anticipation and decision-making. Your distress
marks the event, which proved that your judgment has been seriously
wrong. You feel really bad. But, the event has made you wiser. But,
the effect of the emotion is to
shifts the goals of your mind away from a search for opportunities to
the fearful avoidance of problems. This troubling effect is caused
by the lateral habenula (LHb), a pea sized bundle of nerves in your
brain. You should not be affected by a faulty program in your nervous
life is full of uncertainty,
LHb adjusts your goals by keeping track of your
information-prediction and reward-prediction errors. If your
expectation of increased sales did not materialize, you made an
information prediction error. If your expectation of a raise did not
materialize, you made a reward prediction error. Since you failed to
predict such mishaps, LHb assumes that you have false expectations
from life. LHb weighs your setbacks (without counting your blessings)
to conclude that your activities will lead relentlessly into
disaster. It sets off a series of neural actions to motivate you to
retire from all activity. To overcome your disappointment, you must
understand that it is your LHb, which colors your world black. The
organ creates a bias in your mind by triggering neuro transmitters,
which cause a loss of energy in the system.
To Overcome Disappointment -It Leads To Depression
studies of Schimmack, on the frequency and intensity of emotions in
real life events, found that disappointment is one of the most
frequent and one of the most negative of such emotions. It provides a
graded response. The greater the anticipation, the greater the
disappointment. According to Steven Shabel, disappointment is
signaled by the release of the neurotransmitter, glutamate, by LHb.
When more glutamate is released, the more intense are the
disappointment signals, which spread in the system.
Disappointment stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. The
chemical responses lead to melancholy, inertia, and a feeling of
hopelessness. The heightened sense of dismay leads to increased
expectation of future letdowns.
The setback envelops you
in feelings of helplessness. You lose interest in your daily
routines. There is a loss of energy and self criticism. Your appetite
and sleep get affected. Your problems look bigger and you worry about
problems that could happen. You feel scared with no specific or
direct threat. You become more prone to anger and irritability. Your
actions become less well considered and more impulsive. This
continuing emotional roller coaster can lead to heart disease,
digestive disorders, and a depressed immune system. All this is
triggered by a changed balance of chemicals in the habenula.
To Overcome Disappointment -Self Awareness
have no awareness of the intuitive process, which activated LHb,
which enabled your animal instincts to take over. Reduced dopamine
availability in the forebrain has lessened your energy. Intuition has
inhibited the memories of lilting songs and bright mornings to
morbidly convince you that your situation is hopeless. It is not. A
simple mental exercise can stop this whole knee jerk process in its
Your common sense will take control and set free
memories of sunshine and laughter. All you need is a little practice
Learn to become aware when emotional turmoil begins within you. Self
awareness is the key theme in the meditation practiced for centuries
by the Buddhists. They recommended “staring back” at your
Matthieu Ricard, a respected Buddhist monk
said: "One may wonder what people do in retreats, sitting for
eight hours a day. They familiarize themselves with a new way of
dealing with the arising of thoughts." "When you start
getting used to recognizing thoughts as they arise, it is like
rapidly spotting someone you know in a crowd. When a powerful thought
or anger arises, you recognize it. That helps you to avoid being
overwhelmed by this thought." Self awareness enables you to
recognize your depression as just a transitory mood.
To Overcome Disappointment -Acceptance
vicious cycles of thoughts, which cause you anguish can be stilled
through self awareness. Recognize the turmoil in your mind. The
shattered images of your expectations of a bright future cause
endless reruns of “what might have been” images in your mind.
Each image of missed opportunities increase the discharge of
glutamate by LHb. Just awareness that your mind is in turmoil leads
you to the next thought. What can you do about it? You can takes a
series of mental steps to still the anguish.
thing to do is to face
the worst impact of your disappointing outcome. Can you live with it?
Think of the repercussions... You will have to admit that the earth
will keep spinning and the sun will rise again. Life will still go
on. Facing up to your let down is a purifying exercise. The flailing
in a cage feeling stops. Directly facing the consequences of the
mishap will stop the “might have been” reruns. The turmoil
remains, but you recognize your disappointment not as an overwhelming
world view, but as a sad event in your life. What action can you take
To Overcome Disappointment -Revise Your Expectations
earlier expectations had filled you with hope and excitement. After
the let down, you face a bleak future. Look around and evaluate your
expectations. Hindsight grants you a better view of the real world.
Your mind will store this outcome and bring it up the next time you
face an uncertain choice. What was the possibility that you had
ignored? Was that a freak event, or a reasonable likelihood? Plan
your future course of action in the light of this new knowledge.
you expected to win a million in a lottery, one hundred thousand will
be a disappointment. If you have experienced intense
disappointment before, it may be an indication that your expectations
are too high. Lowering your targets will not kill your dreams. You
only become more practical. Consciously lower your expectations in
future to achieve a more balanced emotional life. Evaluate the
reasons of the let down and see if you can improve the outcome with
more resources, or better planning. Detach yourself from a losing
To Overcome Disappointment -Don't Overreact
is nature's way of jolting you into reality. But, don't let
disappointment breed pessimism. It is a feeling, which envelops you
in gloom. The intuitive
globally. It manipulates all your memories. It darkens your horizons
by preventing you from recalling all your past successes. It prevents
you from fighting back.
Decision analysts operate on the
assumption that individuals will try to avoid the potential for
disappointment and make decisions that are less likely to lead to the
experience of the feeling. When feeling disappointed, a person is
more likely to sell at a loss. Give yourself time to come out of the
low feeling. Make your important decisions, only after the sense of
hopelessness leaves you.
To Overcome Disappointment -Recover Your Spirit
depressed outlook is the result of reduced forebrain activity. Shift
the focus of your mind to simple tasks which you enjoy. Play computer
games, polish silver, or walk in the park. Any activity, which
interests you. The human mind operates at its highest level, when it
anticipates a reward. Professor Wolfram Schultz discovered that
reward oriented behavior is promoted by the release of a group of
neurotransmitters by neurons in the early reptilian part of the human
These neurons detect signals in the environment,
which indicate the possibility of a reward within a specific time
frame. By releasing dopamine, these neurons increase neural activity
in the forebrain. Dopamine increases alertness and provides clarity
to immediate objectives and makes a person feel more energetic and
elated. Schultz noted that the release continues only for
the predicted time period, when a reward can be expected. The release
reduces at the end of this period. The releases stop if the rewards
have become a matter of routine.
Your work needs some
novelty for sustained interest. The solution of each new problem,
however simple, provides a reward. Studies indicate that energy does
not require engagement in creative, or artistic tasks. It is
experienced even in tasks such as analyzing data, or filling out
income tax returns. Swift answers in the challenges of a job grant
energy. As you continue your task, you will come out of the mood of
To Overcome Disappointment -Make A New Plan
future that you looked forward to has vanished. The human mind needs
a purpose to become strong and vibrant. The famed psychiatrist,
Frankl, suggested that, even when life looked hopeless, a purpose was
absolutely needed for survival. Having encountered the horrors of the
Nazi concentration camps, he learned that people could survive
torture and beatings, if they had a purpose in life.
these were not large purposes. A hope of meeting a son after the war
was a purpose. Even a decision to harden oneself against suffering
was a sufficient purpose. After the war, Frankl established a major
field in psychiatry, assisting thousands of suicidal patients around
the world to recover by discovering an acceptable purpose in
your disappointment, you too need to find an acceptable purpose.
Enjoy the feeling that you are better prepared to meet the
uncertainties of life. After all, trying to avoid disappointment will
make you over cautious.
Treat this experience as a foot
board to avoid distress, if similar things happen again. Change your
goals to overcome your errors. Can you set an easier goal? Can you
reach your goal by attempting less ambitious steps? Can you get
helpful advice? Can you follow the steps of those who succeeded? In
the end, disappointment improves your ability to predict the future.
Benefit from the powerful lesson granted to you by nature.
This page was last updated on 18-Jan-2016.