David Rock in his book “Your Brain At Work” talks at length about the relationship of human expectations & their interrelationships with the limbic brain.
“Dopamine” is a neurotransmitter which is conjunction with nucleus accumbens plays a major role in reward and motivational behavior in humans.
Amygdala is the region of the brain responsible for the release of this hormone “dopamine” which plays a very key role in motivational behavior out of risk/reward situations.
Limbic brain follows a “toward” approach for good emotions when the expectations are met and “away” approach when whatever is expected is not achieved.
When our expectations are met , the “dopamine” flow results in motivational behavior helping us achieve good results.
Unexpected rewards can cause much higher level of “dopamine” flow and hence can help us achieve much beyond our potential at times.
Worst effect happens when we imagine and expect rewards out of a situation but the actual results are far away from our set expectations and targets.This is what results in huge level of stress and downgraded performance.
Hence the best way out to avoid such kind of stressful situations is to lower our expectations to ensure that come what may the results would match our expectations.