Deal with your disappointments constructively

The way you manage your disappointments can have big impact on your life. Here’s how you can learn to do it right.

We all struggle with our frequent mood changes and disappointments which are an inevitable and inescapable part of life. They can be from various reasons and arise as a result of specific events or situations. They have high influence on the way we react and in the actions we take. We all have expectations like winning at something or to succeed in something that we care deeply about and so on and so forth. Each time something falls short of our expectation, we tend to feel disappointed and this leads to our mood changes. Some of the disappointments may not make much of a difference, but there are some that can make huge difference. The feelings of disappointment may last for a short while, or might hang over for long period of time depending on how we deal with them. If not dealt with properly, they affect our behavioural, cognitive, emotional and physical well-being.

With frequent mood changes and disappointments, we lose the ability to concentrate and may experience lapses in memory. Some experience irritability and prolonged period of disappointments may result in depression and sadness. Most of the times, our expectations lead to this complex and confused feeling. When faced with disappointment, some tend to attribute it to their personal failings and resort to self-blaming. They direct their anger inwards. This makes them feel they were not good enough. Others turn their anger outwardly which makes them feel bitter and vindictive.

Your mood changes can destroy your efforts

In order to avoid the feeling of disappointment, some distract themselves by turning to random, mindless activities instead of facing the problems head on. This may make them happy in short run, but does not resolve the actual problem and makes them underachievers. They tend to deny their goals by conditioning themselves not to set any expectations. This leads to self-depreciation and to a discontented life. Others seek to avoid by setting high expectations. They come under their presumptions that their expectations are realistic and when it turns out to be not true, it often leads to disappointment.

Getting caught up in your mood changes can cause feelings of isolation and low self-esteem. You avoid taking risks to prevent yourself or others from being disappointed. Focusing on your disappointments for long can destruct your efforts and have a negative impact on your confidence. When you are preoccupied by disappointment, you fail to put in the right effort. Instead if you treat them as learning experiences, they can become stepping stones for growth.

Know the reasons for your disappointments

You cannot snap out of your bad mood and feeling of disappointment quickly if you are not aware of what is causing them. Here are some reasons.

• The main reason for disappointment is the gap between the reality and your expectations. Having higher expectations can make you feel not being good enough.

• Feelings of guilt can lead to negative emotions and have a big impact on your mood.

• Rejections cause an emotional injury and thereby lead to your disappointments.

• Out standing tasks and mental to-do lists can nag at you and make feel discontented and disappointed.

• Brooding over past occurrences can get you stuck in replaying them over and over again.

• Feeling of failure and getting caught up on small annoyances can ruin your mood.

• Hanging on to false perceptions and negative beliefs like, “nothing works”, “not good enough”.

• Attachment to certain outcomes and too much fixation on your unrealistic goals.

We can deal with our disappointments constructively and more appropriately if we can differentiate between situations that fall within our control and factors that are beyond it.

Use your disappointments positively

You need not always get discouraged by your disappointments. If taken in positive way and dealt with constructively, they can strengthen you. Remember that your disappointments actually show your passion and can motivate you to succeed.

They help you manage your expectations

When we feel disappointed, our expectations fall out of line with the truth. By understanding the gap between your expectations and the reality, you can use them to correct your assumptions and adjust your expectations accordingly to achieve your goals.

They provide opportunity for growth. You can learn to deal with them in a positive manner and use them as opportunities to improve yourself. What you originally thought was sufficient to achieve your goal may not be enough and may need to increase your effort or change your approach to get the results you want.

They align you with your inner-self

Sometimes disappointments provide us with a better emotional state to get in touch with your inner self. By focusing on your underlying desire for your goal, rather than the external projection, you can create other possibilities to realise your desire.

Here are some strategies to get over disappointment and to deal with them constructively.

Put it in perspective

Often, small annoyances can become exaggerated and ruin your mood. You might feel disappointed about things you are unlikely to remember in a month’s time. If your disappointment is significant, try to focus on the larger picture and remind yourself of all the things you are grateful for. If not, it is not worth getting disappointed about.

Don’t dwell about what might have been

The more you dwell on the disappointment, the more it will hurt and disrupts your ability to focus, concentrate, solve or be creative. Give yourself a limited time to feel bad and move on. Do not internalise feelings of sadness and anger. Hanging on to these for long can make them part of your identity and deepen your emotional hurt.

Recharge yourself

Don’t be too self-critical and don’t get pulled down by your thoughts. Do not indulge in self-pity as it takes away feelings of empowerment. Look for positive activities and those that you most enjoy to recharge your consciousness to a positive level. This will help you gain some clarity and you can learn other perspectives which you may not be aware of.

Identify the next opportunity

There is always a next opportunity regardless of what disappointed you. Live in alignment with your abilities and inner desire. When you lose, use it to learn, and then go on to win next time.

Increase your possibilities

Do not limit yourself on a single goal and believe that it is the only way to make your dreams come true. There is always more than one reason why you are committed to a path. Increase your possibilities by creating other paths to realise your dreams.

Reevaluate your perceptions

Attaching yourself to a certain outcome causes anguish and prevents you from putting effort in moving on. Becoming aware of false perceptions or unrealistic expectations you are clinging on to and by releasing them, you can overcome disappointment and can move towards your goals.

Finally, Realign your focus

Don’t be discouraged by momentary disappointments.Everyone experiences disappointments. By being hard on yourself and thinking you are not good enough will not take you forward. Remember that you are much more capable at focusing on the positive than you think.

Next time, if you struggle to deal with your disappointments, try to reevaluate your expectations by asking yourself: what expectations do I have from my self?, what false perceptions am I getting hung up over?, could I have done something different to arrive at a desired outcome?. Reframe your disappointments as learning experiences. Cultivate a capacity to deal with them more constructively and start again to pursue your dreams.

“Life is not always a celebration; so be ready to courageously face disappointments when they come, and be sure to grow stronger and wiser from them.”  – Edmond Mbiaka

Manage your anger before it destroys you

Anger needs to be managed and expressed appropriately. Efficient anger management lets us handle situations positively.

Whenever there is injustice around us, we are subjected to anger. The feelings of anger and resentment well up more tension, stress and sadness. We do witness lot of demonstration of anger in the world. But all this anger in the past has enabled people to fight and overcome injustice. Unnecessary hatred and feelings of animosity create hostility. Whereas necessary anger serves a purpose. Sometimes it shows us a new perspective to move on or makes us realise something within us that we still need to work on.

We fail to recognise how accelerated our lives have become. The speed at which we are living results in racing thoughts where the mind goes rushing from one attitude to an other. This overstimulation creates emotional illness. It produces fatigue and frustration and we begin to fret about everything from our personal troubles to the state of the nation and the world.

At individual level, these chronic patterns of anger, hate, resentment and criticism raise the body’s stress levels and weaken our immune system. Anger clouds our thinking and concentration and leads to delusion and loss of memory. Anger is a natural energy and must be used constructively. If it overpowers, it can ruin us, but if we are in control, it can add to our welfare and strength.

“ Anyone can become angry- that’s easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time for the right purpose and in the right way – that is not easy.”- Aristotle

It is important to express your anger

Many of us experience bouts of anger from time to time. “When this anger is not expressed outwardly, it will be manifesting inwardly in the body and develops into a dis-ease or dysfunction.” The denial of anger and its suppression are unhealthy emotionally and physically. So it is good to release or express it in positive ways when it comes up.

Here are some ways, how anger manifests into various side effects based on its expression.

Repressed anger

Some people are afraid to show their anger. They hate making a scene and don’t like to offend others because they are scared of rejection. Many women are taught that anger is a bad emotion and for those who are parents, that losing your temper makes you a bad parent. So, many try to swallow their anger and suppress it. Despite being angry, they feel they don’t have a right to express it. This built up anger which is not expressed over a long time turns into bitterness and resentment. This might result in to depression and sadness.

Passive aggression

Some build anger against others or situations over time. They express it by sulking or criticising and tend to hold a grudge. They may not be screaming and shouting, but there is a good chance they’ll finally snap. This is aggression veiled in passive terms. Sometimes they end up venting their frustration on wrong people. Holding on to grudges will continue to keep them in a state of constant anger which effects their psychological well-being.

Habitual anger

Some are angry for major part of their lives. This is habitual anger and becomes their second nature. They always want to get their own way and are impatient. They are verbally expressive and frequently get into arguments. They have short fuse and slightest thing can set them off. Habitual anger is not good for the body as it gets lodged in there and might manifest into major health issues.

Learn to Manage your anger

Anger is a useful emotion and needs to be controlled and managed. With all the stress and pressure in our lives, it is easy to lose our cool at the slightest irritation. Like any other emotion, being aware of your agitated feelings lets you you recognise, accept and deal with them in a positive way.

Efficient anger management also lies in learning how to express your anger appropriately. We all know the damaging effects of anger and how it ends up creating negative thought patterns. So it is healthy to release anger to create new space inside for loving, optimistic and cheerful thought patterns.

Here are some techniques to help you manage your anger.

Control your emotions

We all become defensive and tend to over react during unfavourable situations. You don’t have to give everything a reaction. The best thing to do sometimes is to stay silent and walk away. It is better to realise that what matters so much in that moment may become insignificant later. Realise that being angry is to give away power to others. Instead control your own emotions.

Change the way you think

When you are angry, your thought process gets dramatised and exaggerated. Swearing and cursing leads to erratic behaviour. Recognise the situation and rationally replace them with calming thoughts. Make a conscious effort to rationalise your thoughts so that you can figure it out eventually. Restructure your thoughts for a favourable outcome.

Learn to communicate

Repressing anger is not healthy. Go beyond your emotional hurts and get out of ‘done me wrong’ syndrome. Learn to communicate your issues openly to the person with whom you are angry. It is always better to ‘Say’ rather that to ‘Show’ your anger.

It is ‘okay’ to be angry with your children or parent or spouse or employee or friend. Perhaps the anger is because you are not communicating with others. Clear up your mind by having healthy conversations and expressing it constructively. You will be able to see your situation in new light and find solutions.

Be aware of anger triggers

We cannot fight anger, but can be aware of what causes and when it arises. Rejecting and fighting the feelings of anger will only make you more agitated. Recognising and accepting with total awareness protects you from its damaging effects. Identify what is that you are really angry about and what are the situations that make you angry and resentful. Knowing what triggers lets you handle your feelings and gives you better control over those things and situations.

Practice forgiveness

Forgiveness is an act of freedom unto yourself. Holding on to the feelings of bitterness and anger will only make the issues bigger than they originally were. When you hold onto something from the past, it will continue to make your present moment disharmonious. Forgiving the person with whom you are angry and letting go of the anger will dissolve the disharmony and removes hostile thoughts and feelings. This gives you freedom to move on with present.

Think before you speak

Take a second to think about what you say in the heat of the moment. Saying something hurtful will have its dire consequences. If you are in a bad mood, it is ‘okay’ to avoid the confrontational situations until you are ready. Give yourself time to process it. Making others wait for your response is better than reacting immediately by saying something that you will only regret later.

Practice relaxation

When you feel fully relaxed and at ease, it would be difficult to feel angry or frustrated. When you relax, you can do much to release the tension associated with anger. Practice taking a handful of deep breaths before responding when you are angry. There are several breathing exercises that can help you deal with anger issues.

Mindful breathing has calming effect and makes you better equipped to manage your frustrations and impatience.

And finally, make a conscious effort to slow your pace or your tempo to quieten your thoughts. Repeat a series of words which express quietness and peace and perform your daily activities mindfully.