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The Psychology of Disappointment

Psychology of Disappointment The study of disappointment is just in its infancy, but there is a definite physiological aspect to what happens in the brain when people experience the emotion we call disappointment. To the layman, it seems so obvious that... When someone considers a risky action, he or she will form a prior expectation of the payoff, and if the outcome is worse than expected, that person will experience an emotion called disappointment. If the outcome exceeds expectation, the emotion is called elation. In other words, when things go right you feel happy. But when things go wrong, you often feel frustration, regret and yes...disappointment. LOVE REGRET DISAPPOINTMENT The crushing, emotional blows of disappointment: are exacerbated when you are disappointed by someone whom you trust and expect to give you what you want. Constant disappointment with a loved one can lead to blame, resentment, and eventually even rage. So... what is this emotion we call "disappointment"? Clinical theories Disappointment is: the psychological reaction to an outcome that does not match up to expectations. The greater the disparity, the greater the disappointment. a way in which sadness is experienced. the experience you feel when you consider what might have been, in contrast to what exists in the present. what comes with finality -- the recognition that you don't have, didn't get, or will never achieve whatever it is that you wanted. ... the acceptance of reality. It forces you to admit that you did not get what you wished to have, and it is actually easier for you to protest with anger than it is to encounter your sadness about the course of events. Anger allows you to continue idealizing what could have been while consciously denigrating it, and people will hang onto it only because it's what they needed at the time. The Psychological Set-Up for Disappointment 1. You are in a situation in which the outcome is uncertain 2. You hope for a positive outcome 3. You feel you deserve the positive outcome 4. You're surprised that you didn't achieve the outcome 5. You couldn't control the outcome through personal actions An Empirical sports analogy: In a study of long-suffering baseball fans, older fans were less subject to the disappointment effect. In other words, the longer you've experienced a winning drought, the better able you are to manage your expectations and take your team's losses in stride. Psychological effects: Disappointment vs. stress excitement: Emotions sometimes related to disappointment: Sadness Anger: it is far eusier to transfer this emotion rather than face disappointment Apathy You don't care about anything and you don't want to do anything. Emotions sometimes related to Stress Aggression An emotional state of anger towards yourself, another person or sometimes towards the whole world. You don't care about anything and you don't want to do anything that might happen; you feel scared with no specific or direct threat. Apathy Guilt A feeling that comes when you have already done or want to do something which is classified as wrong. A state in which you are sad and feel that you cannot enjoy anything because your situation is so difficult and unpleasant. Depression Present and future look dark and obscure, which results in suspicions and fears suppressing the pleasure from things which you once considered to be pleasurable. Bad mood Bad mood and lack of mood at all are the slighter forms of apathy and depression. A feeling that you want to do something even if it is not so clear what it is exactly. Tension Low Self-Esteem Feeling you are good for nothing and can't do anything of true value. Irritability You are easily annoyed and feel irritated by everything and by everybody. Loneliness This is the unhappiness you experience because you do not have any friends or do not have anyone at all to talk to. It is the state of feeling sad because something has not happened or something is not as good as you hoped. Disappointment Being worried You keep thinking about the problems you have or about problems you might encounter in the future; you feel scared despite no specific or direct threat. Physiological reactions sometimes related to excitement Numbness Sometimes as a result of stress you cannot feel anything in a particular part of your body, legs or arms. Headaches might be caused by different reasons, one of them being chronic overwork and stress. Headaches Hot and cold waves Feeling hot or cold, irrespectivce of what the temperature of the air is. An intestinal disorder characterized by abnormal frequency and fluidity of fecal evacuations. Diarrhea Sweating Sweating for no apparent reason, even if the climate is cold. It starts from palms and armpits and can show up on face and the whole body. A slight stinging feeling in the arms, fingers, legs or toes. Sometimes the feeling is like you have thousands of needles stuck in your legs. Tingle A sense of vomiting You constantly want to vomit and often do not want to eat Speeded heartbeat Your heart beats so fast and hard without any discernible reason, that you feel something might happen to it. Tiredness Tiredness is natural consequence of long working hours or conflicts and is one of the most common physical effects of stress. Comparing the physiological & chemical reactions to Stress, Excitement and Disappointment 1. When we are excited by our expectations our brain releases a chemical called serotonin, which is a 'feel-good' neurotransmitter. It interacts with adrenaline (the hormone released from the adrenal medulla), and the sympathetic nervous system, which makes the heart race, pulse quicken, and eyes sparkle. Dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin combine to produce feelings of excitement. 2. When we are extremely stressed, fearful or angry the sympathetic nervous system is also triggered and this, of course, has the similar physical effects of the heart racing and pulse quickening, but this effect is commonly known as the 'fight-or-flight' syndrome. 3. Disappointment is an emotion that stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. A chemical response is triggered which results in melancholy, inertia, and a feeling of hopelessness. If there is a prolonged 'roller coaster' of emotions (excitement/stress, followed by melancholy/inertia), serious stress-induced diseases may occur. These may include heart disease, digestive disorders, and depressed immune system. 4. Within the brain's limbic system, when the neural transmitter dopamine, a chemical, reaches the frontal cortex, we experience pleasure. The strength of the dopamine secretion increases in anticipation of a reward; BUT withhold the reward (after the anticipation) and the strength of the secretion decreases. This may be the physiology behind the emotion we call disappointment. Other findings EEG recordings of participants subjected to disappointment suggests that people differ in their neural responses when things don't go their way. The Dopamine effect? Psychologically, disappointment breeds more pessimism among those already low in disappointment tolerance. The more letdown someone feels, the more the expectation that the future will yield more letdowns. After a disappointing setback, decisions are made more impulsively.. 0.0 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 Psychological Wordplay Associated With Depression letdown sad sadness appointment failure bummer expectations excitement upset 6 Psychological Strategies to combat disappointment Achieving your goals is the best way to avoid disappointment. But, when those goals are out of reach, psychologists say these six steps will help to effectively manage your feelings. Revise expectations: Try a bit of retroactive pessimism. 1. Social psychologists have identified what they call a hindsight bias in which you can limit your disappointment by revising the high expectations you once had for winning. Tell yourself you didnt really expect to win, and as time goes by, the new memory will replace the painful, original memory. Increase your disappointment tolerance. There's no reason that people low in 2. disappointment tolerance have to remain that way forever. Don't let disappointment breed pessimism because if you do, you re likely to set yourself up for even more disappointment in the future. 3. Don t let disappointment skew economic decisions. When feeling disappointed, a person is more likely to sell at a loss. If your favorite sports team lost the championship, don't rush to dump your treasure chest full of memorabilia onto cBay. 4. Assess a person s role in personal disappointments. People can control many of the outcomes in their personal lives. If someone's expectations in love and work chronically fail to materialize, make an honest appraisal of what needs to be changed. Control identification with a losing cause. The sports fans who feel the most let down are the ones who identify most strongly with their teams. There s nothing wrong with being loyal, but if it impairs personal happiness, then individuals need to find other ways to boost their spirits. Use humor their loyalty despite years of disappointing outcomes almost seem to relish their identification with the underdog. Perhaps by joining the ranks of fellow sufferers, a person can find solace in self-deprecating humor. Laughter is truly one of the o boost the disappointment emotion. Loyal sports fans who retain best coping strategies for dealing with disappointments and offsetting the consequences of faulty pessimism-based decisions. Hold on, it's not all bad. Disappointment: Provides information about the way we view ourselves, the world, and others. Helps you better understand what is important to you, if you examine the cause of the disappointment. Henry David Thoreau: "If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment." In other words, we can find insight and wisdom from our encounters with disappointment when we look beneath the surface. Sources expectation-sadness-and-disappointmentRainey, D. W., Larsen, J., & Yost, J. H. (2009). Disappointment theory and disappointment among baseball fans, Journal of Sport Behavior, 32(3), 339-356.Raincy, D. W., Yost, J. H., & Larsen, J. (2011). Disappointment theory and disappointment among football fans. Journal of Sport Behavior, 34(2), 175-187., Christopher D., Philippe N. Tobler, and Wolfram Schultz (2003) Discrete Coding of Reward Probability and Uncertainty by Dopamine Neurons. Science, 21 March, 299, 1898-1902,, H., de Peralta, R., Bossaerts, P., & Gonzalez Andino, S. L. (2011). The impact of disappointment in decision making: Iter-individual differences and electrical neuroimaging. Frontiers In Human Neuroscience, 4doi:10.3389/fnhum.2010.00235 fulfillment-any-age/201204/disappointed-six-ways-recover-emotional-setbacks 6.

The Psychology of Disappointment

shared by bogdan on Aug 20
The study of disappointment is just in its infancy, but there is a definite physiological aspect to what happens in the brain, when people experience the emotion we call “disappointment.” This le...


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