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How to deal with disappointment

In everyone’s life, there are moments of disappointment. Maybe something at work didn’t go to plan, or a holiday got cancelled. Although dealing with disappointment can be difficult, there are lots of things that can help you overcome it. Here are our tips for how to deal with disappointment in your day-to-day life.


Let yourself feel it

Imagine you’ve been looking forward to seeing your family or friends then at the last minute, they can’t come.

You’d feel incredibly letdown, right? You’ve been looking forward to catching up. It’s completely acceptable to let yourself feel those emotions. If you want to cry, you cry. You’re allowed to feel those emotions without judgement.


Give yourself a time limit

When you’re experiencing a disappointment, while it’s important to feel it, it’s also important not to wallow. Tell yourself you’ve going to feel sad for a certain time period. It might be 10 minutes, it might be a few hours or days. Then choose an enjoyable activity to distract you at the end of that time.


Analyse then reframe your disappointment

Think about your disappointment and work out how you’re feeling about it. It might help to write it down so you can analyse your thoughts. Are you blaming yourself unnecessarily and engaging in negative self-talk? Was the disappointment out of your control?

Unhelpful ways of talking about disappointment include:

  • “I can’t bear this”
  • “It’s all my fault”
  • “I never get anything right”
  • “It’s the end of the world”
  • “I’m not good enough”

Instead of repeating these thoughts in your mind, think about whether this disappointment will matter in the future. Will you remember this mishap in a week, a month, a year?

Can you think about the misfortune differently? Yes, you may be disappointed right now, but can you change something about your situation to improve it? Is there an opportunity for growth and change? By thinking about your disappointment with a positive lens, it could help you move on quicker.


Show gratitude

If you’re finding dealing with disappointment difficult, use the opportunity to think about the things you have. Perhaps you have close family who were there for you in your darkest moments? Maybe you didn’t get that promotion, but now you can spend more time with your kids? Perhaps you can’t go on that overseas holiday, but your friend who lives near the beach has asked you to visit instead. Think about those wonderful parts of life and be grateful for them.


Be accepting

Unfortunately, disappointment is a part of life for everyone. None of us are immune to having our plans derailed by forces beyond our control. If you can allow yourself to feel the pain and then ultimately accept it, disappointment won’t seem so overwhelming.

It’s difficult to come to a feeling of acceptance because it’s a realisation that what we hoped for didn’t happen. However, once we reach acceptance, we can move on with our lives.


What if you’re still feeling disappointed?

If you want some more tips on how to deal with disappointment, you might find talking to a trusted professional helps.

CAREinMIND’s professional counsellors are available 24/7. The service is free to people living in north, western and central Melbourne. Call us on 1300 096 269.

Or access online counselling.

If it is an emergency, call 000

Access additional community support.


The CAREinMIND blog is delivered by On the Line. The views in each post do not necessarily reflect those of North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network.