Fatal Emotions: The Danger of Discouragement

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We have all received some type of disappointing news. But try to avoive the danger of discouragement.  Maybe your promotion did not come through, the raise wasn’t what you expected, you lost the bid for the job, you did not get accepted into your pro-gram—the list can go on.

Disappointment is part of living life. When you do not manage those disappointments and you become discouraged, that can be fatal. Discouragement that goes unchecked destroys self-image, confidence, and expectations for the future.


The dictionary definition of discouragement is “the act of making something less likely to happen.” When discouragement is allowed to grow into a mood, motivation and momentum are eroded.

The erosion can be subtle. The discouragement shifts to a feeling that “things will never work out.” You may try harder only to experience more disappointment, or you may give up altogether. Either way, discouragement kills drive.

This is why self-awareness is so important. You have to be able to identify your feelings and then take the right action to shift them.

Go from Discouraged to Determined

  1. Name it: Whenever you feel disappointment, identify it and take action.
  2. Reframe it: Identify three things that are going well for you.
  3. Claim it: Engage the optimist in you and recognize that it is not permanent, and things will change. Denial is what makes this emotion fatal, capable of destroying your mojo.
  4. Talk about it: (Or write in your journal.) Find a safe person who will simply listen. At this point, talking it out helps release the heavy emotion. You can find solutions later.
  5. Help someone else: The tendency with discouragement is to narrow your focus and think only of your problems. Get out of yourself and reach out to someone in need.
  6. Move on: Let it go and focus on your big vision.

In addition to these steps, do something every day to manage the stressful feelings that come up. The more you manage the stress reaction, the better able you will be in dealing with discouragement and other fatal emotions.   

You can see in the iceberg image that many emotions live under the surface of our awareness and this makes them potential triggers that can set off the stress reaction, I call it emotional hijacking. This is when you over-react because of something that really should not cause such a big reaction. You may wonder after, “what got into me?”

This is what happens with these fatal emotions that are not dealt with and left to “hang out” in one’s inner life. Use the suggestions above and deal with these emotions, before they deal with you!


Would you like to have resources available 24/7 to manage stress, strengthen your emotional intelligence, learn problem solving skills and so much more?  Click on the image below and learn more about the Work Smart Club, our online center for work and well-being.

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Fatal Emotions the danger of discouragement

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Dr. Cynthia Howard

Executive Coach  Performance Consultant  LSSBB

It takes resilience and agility to stay focused in these disruptive times. We want to help you get ahead of the challenges in this digital age with short practical tips. Go forward. Be your best

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