You may think it takes a densely packed skull full of brains to live well on the other side of disappointment. Not so. It takes choices that literally change the chemicals in our brains! When we recognize emotional cues such as disappointment, and when emotionally healthy and rested, we can often diffuse common frustrations and filter out irrelevant reactions!
That’s not what happened to me recently however, when disappointment triggers torpedoed me down, and exhaustion locked me into sorrow’s grip. Hunger held me there against my will! Toxic chemicals pummeled me like a nuclear plant explosion desolates a sunny day! Has it happened to you recently?
I’d had a busy day, and took extra steps to prepare a situation which would have benefited all, and brought happiness to many. As the day progressed I discovered that plans were out of my hands, and I seemed thwarted at every step by events that were going down. Uncertainty cornered me at every turn, as my fun plans evaporated before me and toxins began to make me feel sad, out of control and sheer disappointment took over.
Not feeling I could say something to a person I care about deeply, fearing that I had to carry all this weight alone, and determined to keep peace in better ways that I’d done in past, I spiraled down alone to a place where disappointment appeared to have won. Except that …
Waves of self reminders from past mistakes and research evidence, helped me to remember how there will be light at the end of this tunnel. Yet I also recognized that I’d failed the sure-footed growth mindset opportunities to make lemonade out of the lemons I was handed. After I’d eaten, I weighed my situation and decided it was best to let it go and move on. But not only do we have to let the situation go, we also let go of the triggers such as disappointment, long before they sink us into desperate places such as depression or despair. Been there?
Past mistakes taught me that we often blame others in these darker down times, yet research and experiences show us there are better ways to move ahead. Plasticity is our brain’s way of changing itself from despair to delight, for instance. Serotonin is the aha fuel that enables us to thrive beyond disappointments, simply by acting on growth mindset possibilities. Cortisol is the toxic fuel we can avoid by pausing (or perhaps even saying nothing) when we lose our way, as I did in a recent disappointment. It’s rarely easy, and the sting is likely profound at first. Remember, anger’s a toxin we allow onboard in response to another person’s unwise actions. Resilience though, is the potent tonic we generate and practice for healthier personal choices in tough or disappointing times!
We learn to act with a growth mindset by simply doing so, until our brains catch on to the process. Beyond disappointment we can learn to benefit all concerned rather than despairs two choices to either damage a valued relationship, or beat up on self.
Like I battled disappointment recently, you’re bound to be saddened by situations, often beyond our control. Letdowns tend to come faster when we’re tired, or when we try to leap too high, or act too soon. Lack of awareness usually leads the way!
If we measure the size of our success by the strength of our talents, we likely regret washouts as irreversible blows to our brain. Luckily, nothing could be farther from the truth.
That sudden collapse of hope may leave scars of defeat, but it needn’t leave us in despair. Few deny that it’s rarely easy to step past mischance at first. Those who find a way beyond their initial impasse, though, tend to boost brainpower for new growth mindset wins. How so?
1. Chase one new adventure today, and disappointments will dim as our working memory engages novel challenges.
2. Risk doing a new hobby for profit or fun, and our brain rewires new neuron pathways into growth opportunities that many crave.
3. Inspire a new venture with an upbeat peer, and we prevent our brain from defaulting back to ruts that cause bummer limitations to a fresh focus.
4. Play with hidden or unused intelligences to remove the taste of disappointment’s bitter pill.
5. Laugh at the little things, and misfortunes become a flash in the pan. Humor’s chemical hormones release conditions for new innovations, that few grumps optimize.
Disappointments are to the brain what bitter storms are to a summer day.
In both cases relief comes more from living euphoria on the other side of rain clouds – than in settling in for washouts. It’s about rewiring brainpower for another shot at progress.
Holidays can be the worst time for depression and loneliness to spawn! But it doesn’t have to be this way, if you create space for mindfulness, stress shrinks by default!
Have you noticed that to deal with mischance as an insight forward, is to change the chemical and electrical networks in your brain? I plan to continue ransforming disaster and defeat into rejuvenated directions that emulate care and curiosity for the next opportunity that presents. The opposite is also true.
Can you see disappointment from your brain’s perspective?
Live one opposite of letdown today, and your brain rewires its plasticity to rejuvenate your situation tomorrow.
Our unique mix of intelligences go a long way to transform hard knocks of defeat into opportunities that reboot your brainpower. Disappointment offers new neuron pathways to success, in exchange for slipping into sadness that drags us down to where I briefly spiraled recently. Could a growth mindset opportunity replace your last bust?
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Created by Ellen Weber, Brain Based Tasks for Growth Mindset