Disappointment is the feeling experienced when an expected event does not come true. The appointment people go to, fully expecting to be seen, only to be told on arrival that it’s been cancelled. They lose time and investment and become disorientated at the point they realise things will not go according to their plan. Disappointment and despair are emotional descriptions of this phenomenon. Disappointment is the less serious of the two and not bound to the loss of hope like despair.

Continued disappointment can have serious consequences on people’s standard of living. This is true on a physical level and a psychological level. Depression can occur if many disappointments are encountered in succession, especially when no successes or positive emotions cushion the negative feelings. Psychological insecurities occur as anxieties when people think they cannot predict the world accurately. Each disappointment people experience can perceptually be considered a failure. It could be a failure of the world to live up to people’s expectations or a failure to make an accurate prediction. Whatever way people view the disappointment, a failure of something to happen is the experience from a subjective point of view.

Disappointment is usually viewed from a psychological perspective, yet its effects manifest physical ailments. The perception of failure produces depressive neurotransmitter and hormone responses. With every little psychological disappointment people also experience a small biological depression. These depressive fluctuations may be minute. Nonetheless, if many minor depressions happen in a row then mood and even immunity to disease can be compromised. The hormone reactions to defeat include prolonged adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) secretion, and this leads to suppression of the immune system as well as other metabolic disturbances.1 This is more likely if people do not have many positive emotions from successes, over the same period, to buffer the negative experiences.2 Researching, planning and working hard are important aspects to succeeding and avoiding disappointment. Active progress towards a goal is essential for success. Nevertheless, overcoming disappointment is not as simple as abiding by such rules alone.
The accurate prediction of future events and the ability to have realistic, achievable expectations is key. In fact, it’s a very reliable gauge of psychological and emotional stability. Hence, the issues concerned with managing disappointments are also expectations, anticipations and low-level future predictions. It’s healthy to focus on short-term and everyday expectations to see if they’re realistic. These expectations may not be as exciting to reflect on as grand dreams coming true, but everyday expectations far outweigh such grand dreams in terms of number and frequency. A success can be considered a failure if expectations are too high. Disappointment can be felt where there should be gladness.

Humans are creatures of habit and changing habits can be difficult. Nonetheless, theoretically, if people are repeatedly disappointed about everyday issues they can try reflecting on their expectations and adjust their perceptions to better reflect reality. Mental assumptions that clutter an outlook can be removed or updated. One misplaced assumption, regarding everyday future thoughts, can repeatedly lead to disappointment. If people reflect on such assumptions over an extended period, it could seriously alter their standard of living. They could release less depressive hormones into their bloodstreams and neurotransmitters onto their nerves. Thus, encountering fewer of those draining penalties that make life less enjoyable.


Middle English. Desappointer = undo the appointment, remove from office.

1. The fact of disappointing; the frustration or non-fulfilment of expectation, intention, or desire.

2. The state or condition of being disappointed, with its resulting feeling of dejection.