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Dealing with Disappointment


Disappointment is a part of life; it is something that everyone will experience at some point and learning how to manage these disappointments and the feelings associated with it is crucial for your mental health. 

What is disappointment? Disappointments are failed expectations; expecting one thing to happen but having the opposite or alternate event occur.  Examples include a planned trip getting canceled, getting a phone call that a friend you were planning on meeting is sick, or even coming home and finding you have lost power.  All these things, whether big or small, are activities or tasks that we were not planning on happening and have let us down in one way or another 

It has been said that “Expectation is the root of all heartache.”  This means that when we experience disappointment, our hopes and expectations are out of line with reality. 

There are many ways to cope with disappointment in life. 5 tips/strategies are listed below to help you manage disappointments to keep your mental health strong.

  1. Lower your expectations: If there is something you have no control over, such as the weather or the behavior of others, making plans without any particular outcome helps to lower the stakes should disappointment occur.

  2. Be grateful for small solutions: elebrating the small victories can help provide happiness and joy. For example, finding out that your dinner plans with a friend have been cancelled can be disappointing, but then realizing that means more time at home with your family is the small victory that can help make the disappointment less painful or sad.

  3. Be optimistic: It is a fact that optimistic people are happier and can even live longer. They experience fewer disappointments and enjoy life more.  Optimism is the opposite of expectation. Think positive and you will have more positive outcomes.

  4. Practice self care: When you are disappointed, take time to acknowledge the feelings rather than suppressing them. Take a walk, journal about your feelings, or talk with someone about how the disappointment made you feel.  Ignoring the feelings can only help to make them bigger. When thinking about your failed expectation for too long, one creates unneeded stress in their life.

  5. Evaluate your expectation: One must understand the expectation and compare it to reality.  Is the situation within our control? Are there factors that could impact our expectation that could not be foreseen? Understanding if our expectation was realistic can help us formulate an expectation in the future. If our expectation is too high, then we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.  

Should you or a loved one need someone to talk to about your feeling’s or to get a deeper understanding as to why you may be having trouble with disappointment, ECHN’s outpatient behavioral health services is here for you.

Avoiding disappointment is life is not possible but trying to manage it in a constructive and healthy way is possible.



Harvard Business Review, “5 Terms to Help You Manage Your Mental Health” 
Harvard Business Review, “Dealing With Disappointment”