Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tips for Coping with Disappointment

Things don’t always go as expected so it’s helpful to have a backup plan.  These six tips will help you to stay positive when the inevitable disappointments in life ¾job, home, relationships ¾come your way.

1.       Practice patience

Patience involves accepting difficult circumstances with strength and dignity, rather than becoming mired in anxiety and fear. Anxiety is generated when you ruminate over the past or feel apprehensive about the future. Neither is helpful since the past has already occurred and the future is yet to come. Staying patient with what is, right now in the present, helps you to identify your resources and gather your energy.

2.       Take responsibility

Avoid blaming yourself or anyone else for what has happened. Attempt to identify the lesson from the experience that you can carry forward into making your future the best it can be. Minimize complaining and fretting because they waste time, create a negative mind-set, and cause you to feel helpless.  Accept full responsibility for what has occurred primarily because this places you in a position of power. You are in charge of what happens next.

3.       Be grateful for what is going right

Trouble rarely affects all areas of your life at the same time so recognize what is going right for you. Gratitude is a powerful emotion which keeps you from moving down a path to depression. If you’ve lost your job or are having difficulty finding one, practice feeling grateful for your family, friends, and  home.  Notice when you are minimizing the positives in your life and over-emphasizing the negatives. Keep perspective and balance.

4.       Recognize that change is inevitable

One thing you can always count on is change. Nothing in your life stays the same for very long so when you are feeling disappointed about an event in your life, know that change is on the way. If you feel that this is a disappointment which may be challenging to overcome, look back and consider all the changes, big and small, which you have weathered in your life. Each change, disappointment, and obstacle has brought you to where you are today.

5.       Stay connected

In times of stress it is tempting to isolate and avoid social contact, with those you live with as well as those in your broader social circle. You may not feel like socializing but in stressful times it’s important to stay connected. Start with small things like smiling at the person you pass and make eye contact with. Notice others, what they are doing or wearing, and make a pleasant comment. Don’t hold your disappointment inside but share it with those closest to you.

6.       Remain focused on your goals

Above all, stay clear about what your ultimate goals are. This setback is temporary and will pass. When you keep your eye on your objectives you are open to opportunities that will inevitably present themselves. You’ll be less inclined to miss any new prospects to improve your situation. Remember that when one door closes another one opens but it’s up to you to keep your eyes open and look for it.

Using these six tips will help you to stay positive when you are coping with disappointments. It’s easy to be positive when life is going well, but staying positive during challenging times shows resilience. It indicates that you can turn disappointments into opportunities!

Ellen Diana is a psychologist, author of the Lucky Dreamer Tip Series, and co-author of the Charge up Your Life series of self-help books. She has 30 years’ experience working with children, adults, couples, and families in schools and in private practice in Scottsdale, Arizona. Helping women to evolve into their best selves through personal growth and self-awareness is a passion of hers. Ellen raised three successful children as a single parent and so has special interests in mentoring other women in transition and helping parents to raise resilient children. Contact Ellen at or through her website


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