Dr's Casebook: Strategies that can help you deal with disappointment

The Open Golf Championship played last weekend before the unprecedented heatwave is over and the Australian golfer Cameron Smith has claimed the famed Claret Cup.

By Jane Chippindale
Thursday, 21st July 2022, 2:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st July 2022, 2:38 pm

Dr Keith Souter writes: I was particularly interested to see it this year as it was the 150th Open Championship, which was played at my hometown of St Andrews, which is known around the world as the home of golf.

Cameron Smith’s pleasure and joy in winning was all too apparent, but for Rory McIlroy who was chasing a fifth major after a gap of eight years it was obviously disappointing to be pipped at the post. In sporting events like this there can only be one winner, which means that despite all that hard work many go away disappointed.

We saw a similar thing at Wimbledon the week before when Novak Djokovic won the men’s singles title, barely allowing Nik Kyrios to get going. Again Kyrios hid any disappointment extremely well. That is what professional sports people have to do.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts on the 18th hole during the final round of The 150th Open at St Andrews Old Course on July 17

Disappointment is an emotion that everyone will experience at some stage in life. It can be disappointment in sport, in work, in relationships or in oneself.There are strategies that can help, though.

Firstly, try to manage the emotion. This means you have to try to understand your feelings about what the event or situation means to you.Take time and don’t react straight away. Don’t cut your nose off to spite yourself or say something in the heat of the moment. Wait until you feel calmer.Don’t take it personally. Things happen in life, so don’t allow yourself to think that it happened because of a personal failing.

If you allow yourself to believe that your failing is the cause of a situation, you effectively close the book on it and you will not learn from it.

Elite sports people make themselves see the positives in their performance and learn from the disappointments.

Reconsider your expectations. Maybe your expectations were not realistic and you need to readjust them.

Also, look at the bigger picture. Is this event really so important in life?

Look at it again and see what you can learn from it.

Finally, reassess whether you try again or change tack. It may be that another door has opened with another opportunity.