How To Deal With Disappointment

We all encounter disappointment in our lives in some way or another, whether it’s coping with the end of a relationship, a work project that didn’t go to plan, or feelings of regret in our personal lives.

Learning how to handle disappointment and overcome the feelings it can bring is so important in helping us live positive, fulfilled lives.

We’ll be running through our top tips when it comes to coping with disappointment and moving on.

Some of these tips are vital for dealing with big disappointments, while others are ideal for getting over little disappointments, and some are effective in both circumstances.

Mourn

While we might like the idea of jumping into a new lifestyle straight after something disappoints us, it’s important to remember that grieving is a vital part of processing events.

There doesn’t need to be a death for us to grieve, it can simply be the loss of something.

Losing your job, going through a break-up, or falling out with a friend can all be devastating.

You’re still experiencing a loss of some sort, as well as a big change in your life, and you need time to get over it before you can make a start with moving on.

Rather than rushing to feel better as soon as something negative happens, take time to process it and communicate it fully to yourself.

Disappointment can be strung out, such as in the decline of a relationship over a few weeks, or it can be sudden and shocking.

Either way, you need to give yourself some time to understand what’s happening or has happened.

Allow yourself to feel something negative and find a way to label it – “Today I feel upset that…,” “Now I’m feeling angry about…,” “I feel jealous of…”

This is totally natural, healthy behavior.

By labelling our feelings, we can slowly start to process them and distance ourselves from them. This helps us move on to the next stage of overcoming disappointment.

That being said, it doesn’t do any good to wallow for too long and dwell on bad feelings and thoughts.

Give yourself some time to get over the initial waves of feelings (anger, frustration, sadness, etc.) before you move on.

This’ll put you in a much better headspace for putting those longer-term coping mechanisms in place!

Rationalize

Think about what’s really going on.

When you’re in the moment, smaller things can feel like a huge deal.

Try to take a step back and be realistic with yourself. This is why embracing those intense feelings in the beginning is such a great idea.

By the time you’ve gotten those big crying sessions and fits of anger out of the way, you can begin to look at things more rationally.

Make a note of what actually happened – facts, quotes, whatever it is that will help you remember the true events.

Look back at this with a clearer head and start processing it again.

Without the feelings attached, is what happened really so bad?

It may be that you’re still upset, and we’ve got plenty of ways to overcome these feelings.

It may be that you realize that you don’t need to continue reacting with such strong emotions anymore.

Remind yourself that while your behavior may be natural, it isn’t particularly healthy to indulge yourself in it for too long.

Talk It Out

Talking about what you’re feeling is one of the best ways to deal with most things in life, and coping with disappointment is no different.

Make sure you trust whoever you’re talking to – we’d suggest avoiding confiding in colleagues about your deeper feelings unless you know them really well, especially if it concerns any aspect of work.

If you’re struggling to get over being let down by something you’ve been working hard on, it can be really easy to lash out and blame other people.

Rather than doing this, talk to others about how you’re feeling as this will really help you process it.

Going through a break-up or experiencing the decline of a friendship can be so upsetting. The disappointment that comes from it can be very raw, which is why talking it out can help you move on.

Practice Gratitude And Mindfulness

Look into meditation – this can help calm your mind when you’re feeling stressed.

Disappointment can trigger lots of different emotions, including stress, so it’s important to deal with these secondary feelings, too.

Take some time out to practice mindfulness. It can make a huge difference to how you process situations that leave you feeling put out or let down.

This time helps you to ground yourself and be present, pausing to reflect on what you do still have in your life, even if you’re feeling upset by the absence of something or someone else.

Gratitude is something that many of us are quick to dismiss – we know that we’re lucky to have a roof over our heads and food to eat.

But what about everything else?

Train your mind to go deeper and explore the other great things in your life, like loved ones and any talents you have, as well as things like your health, intelligence, and compassion.

By gearing yourself up to be grateful and self-aware, you’ll feel more comfortable, stable, and confident in your life and choices.

That means that if something doesn’t go to plan again in the future, you already know that you’re in a fantastic situation and won’t feel so distraught.

Just because one aspect of your life isn’t quite how you wanted it to be, doesn’t mean you can’t still focus on how good everything else is.

By setting yourself up in this way, you’re more likely to deal with any future disappointments quickly and healthily, helping you move on in a positive way.

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Get Active

Some aspects of this list are really focused on mental well-being and mindfulness. We’d suggest these coping mechanisms for everyone, of course, but we know that people react to things differently.

If you haven’t found anything from this list that really resonates with you yet, maybe your mind just works in a slightly different way.

Getting active is such a great form of mindfulness, especially for those who tend to veer away from what they see as ‘hippie’ remedies and hate the thought of meditating in a candlelit room!

Keeping your body in good shape is key for all types of health, but moving and engaging with your body is so, so great when it comes to dealing with emotional traumas.

Your mental health will improve so much when you start incorporating exercise into your daily life.

Adding exercise to your lifestyle is so beneficial when it comes to dealing with disappointment. You rediscover your own strength, which can be so easily forgotten when you lose a job or end a relationship.

We lose ourselves to so much during our lives – jobs, relationship, friendships – many of which can be horribly toxic.

By exercising, we get in touch with our bodies again and remember that we are capable.

We might not be power lifters (yet!) but we can do things.

We might not be sprinters, but our bodies can move and carry us.

We might not be gymnasts, but we can engage with our bodies through yoga and Pilates.

The more that we discover our physical potential, the better our mental health becomes, and that includes being able to cope much better with disappointment, sadness, and grief.

What’s more, exercise gives us a boost of our natural feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin. This hit helps to alleviate the immediate emotional depressant of disappointment.

Make A Physical Change

Again, we can talk all we like about mindfulness in the ‘spiritual’ sense, but some people need something more physical to feel like things are actually changing.

If you want something more solid, make a physical change. By doing something that you can see happening, you’ll start to feel in control again.

If meditation doesn’t work for you, change something that you can witness; something tactile.

Rearrange your living space, get a haircut, get a new piercing, or buy new shoes.

These might not seem like great coping mechanisms at first, but there’s some science behind it all!

By changing something that you can physically touch and see, you’re reminded that you have some control over some things.

By reminding yourself over this power you have, you’ll start to shift your mindset.

Take Control

Remember that, despite how things may feel, you are in control of how you react. It might take you a while to get there, but you can choose how you deal with each day.

We know that it’s unrealistic of us to suggest that you start every day feeling super positive and ready to move on, so be true to yourself and honor whatever you’re feeling in the moment.

‘Moment’ is the key word there – it’s okay to feel low when you’re reminded of something that upsets you, but don’t turn five minutes of sadness into an entire day of devastation!

Remind yourself that you have the power to shift your mindset. The less time you give yourself to feel down each day, the less time the overall healing process will take.

Find ways to distract yourself, whether it’s spending time with friends, watching old movies, or hitting the gym.

Try out different ways of empowering yourself and you’ll quickly start to overcome the difficulties you’re facing.

Practice Self-care

Be tough but gentle! Like we say, remember that you have some control of your emotions, but be kind to yourself, too.

Getting your mind and body worked up by reliving whatever happened to make you feel so bad is only going to make things worse.

The more stressed you get, the worse this situation is going to become, and the longer it’s going to take you to get over it.

Try to keep your stress levels as low as possible. While it’s good to distract yourself and stay busy, don’t overdo it.

In-between practicing yoga and joining new community classes, take some time out to just relax.

Have more baths, read before bed, treat yourself to herbal teas and morning pastries!

You deserve to feel good about yourself, and this whole process will take a big toll on your self-esteem.

By rewarding yourself in small ways each day, be it a movie night or buying yourself some flowers, you’ll really start to get back to looking after yourself and showing yourself some love.

Not only will this make you feel better right now, it’ll also help you deal with anything in the future as you’ll be boosting your self-confidence and learning how to love yourself again.

Seek Professional Help

Of course, at some point, seeking professional help is a good idea.

We can offer up lots of advice but, for some people, further support is needed.

If things feel overwhelming or you’re struggling to move on long after something has happened, it’s worth a visit to your doctor.

They’ll be able to advise you on the best ways to cope and overcome whatever is going on in your life.

It may be that you need some help readjusting your hormone levels, for example, as imbalances can really throw your emotions out of whack.

They may refer you to counselling or suggest ways to help you unwind and relax, including ways to improve your sleep levels, which should really give you a boost in moving on.

Finding strategies that work for you is key to this whole process, naturally.

It may take a while to find coping mechanisms that work for you, but you’ll only get there through trial and error.

Try doing different things and keep track of what makes you feel better and what doesn’t seem to shift your mood very much. Then continue with those that work and ditch those that don’t.

About Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.

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