Coping with Disappointment

Disappointment is a normal human emotion. Feeling it in situations where something you hoped for turns out not to be the case, is a sign of mental health.

What is important however, is that the amount, intensity and duration of the disappointment is reasonable given the circumstances. We might consider it unreasonable, when the disappointment also creates unnecessary problems in our performance, motivation, relationships or other life areas).



  • Allow yourself to feel disappointed. clinton thumbsup  
  • Maintain perspective. clinton thumbsup
  • Consider whether the amount of disappointment you are feeling is reasonable given the circumstances. clinton thumbsup
  • If it is indeed appropriate, what do you think might be a normal time-frame over which to feel this disappointment, before finally putting it behind you and moving on? clinton thumbsup
  • For this time-frame, accept the feelings of disappointment - allow yourself to be fully human.
  • Be honest with yourself - think accurately. clinton thumbsup


LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCE   clinton thumbsup

  • Specify exactly what / who you are disappointed in – bearing in mind that there can be multiple disappointments associated with a single incident. clinton thumbsup
  • List all the factors that contributed significantly to how things turned out.
  • Of the above factors, distinguish between those that were totally under your control, and those which were not.
  • Are there any other controllable factors which (in spite of ultimately being disappointed) you in fact did well, and should be congratulating yourself for?
  • See the 'uncontrollable' factors that went against you for what they are – hard luck. clinton thumbsup
  • Clarify what you would like to do differently or better in future, similar circumstances. clinton thumbsup



  • Practice acceptance. clinton thumbsup
  • While it’s OK to feel disappointed, do not harbor regret. clinton thumbsup   
  • Resist the temptation to overly isolate yourself – rather spend time with people in whose presence you find it easy just to be yourself. clinton thumbsup

NB: If your disappointment levels are inappropriately intense and/or they are significantly affecting other life areas without any sign of improvement, you should seek professional input and support.



  • Have any positives come out of what happened?
  • What should you be grateful for in your life and career?
  • Where to from here?
  • What is your next goal or focus? 


Coping with Negative Thinking

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