The Three “Must Ask” Drama Questions | Perturbation Questions

The Technique

I would like to share a technique with you that you can use on a daily basis. This strategy was taught to me by my coach and has been helpful for me and my clients. It’s a formalized approach that I consistently share with others.

I was emotionally tested by events in my life when a friend held me accountable to myself by asking me a series of questions. This strategy helped me move away from seeking sympathy and living in the drama of my emotions. I filed these questions into my memory and have used them ever since.

When we feel down, we often look for sympathy because we’re living in the drama of the emotion we’re feeling at the time. However, being in that space doesn’t help us or those around us. This technique helps us take accountability for our emotions and move beyond the drama.

These questions are often called perturbation questions. Because when you’re feeling angry, emotional or frustrated, you’re likely in perturbation. Check out what Wikipedia says about perturbation.

The Three “Must Ask” Drama Questions

What you need to do is ask the following questions.The Three "Must Ask" Drama Questions | Perturbation

The first question to ask is:

“Knowing how I am feeling, what’s great about that?”

The reframing question is designed to help you recognize that, no matter how bad things may seem, there is always something good that can come out of it. In discussions about this technique, I have received spirited responses, particularly when discussing events like the violence in the Middle East or the Japan earthquake. While it may be a stretch to find something positive in some world tragedies, I still believe that there is something good that can come out of them.

The point I want to emphasize is that, when you think about global events, it can put your own emotional struggles into perspective. It may make you realize that your problems are relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things. This reframing question can help shift your focus towards finding the positive in any situation and help you move beyond your own emotional struggles.

There’s also a short sub-set question you may want to follow up the above question with, and it goes like this:

“How can I make this situation better?”

This is the question to ask if you’re having a few challenges finding that positive answer that doesn’t seem to surface.

Let’s move on to the next question

“When is NOW a great time for me to move out of the way I am feeling?”

We all have a choice when it comes to our emotions. We can choose to stay in our drama, feeling down, getting sick, and dragging others down with us. Alternatively, we can choose to change our perception and attitude towards life. Just because we’re feeling down doesn’t mean that the world around us has lost its beauty. The scent of a rose, a stunning sunset, or the sound of a child’s laughter is still just as wonderful. It’s all about our perception and the choices we make.

If we have a choice in how we feel, we also have a choice in how long we’re going to feel down and crappy. For example, if someone says something that upsets us, we can choose to feel angry and crappy for five minutes, two days, three months, or even forever. By asking ourselves, “When is NOW a great time…,” we can set a time limit on ourselves.

I have a rule for myself that has worked well. If something goes wrong, I allow myself to be in a crappy mood for just 10 seconds. After counting to ten and asking myself the reframing question, I let it go. This approach has helped me deal with traffic, bothersome telephone calls, and long supermarket queues without getting too upset. Remember, we have a choice in how we react to situations, and it’s up to us to choose a positive attitude towards life.

And now we’re onto the final question

“What is the first thing I can do to help myself with that?”

When someone says something that upsets me or triggers a negative response, I use a three-step process to help myself. Firstly, I ask myself the question, “Knowing the way I’m feeling, what’s the best thing I can do for myself right now?” Then, I ask the “NOW” question to set a time limit on how long I allow myself to feel down. Ten seconds later, I ask myself, “What’s the first step I can take to help myself with that?”

Next, I look for the first step that will move me out of the negative emotions I’m feeling. This could be going for a coffee, taking a walk around the block, watching a movie, calling a friend

There’s a Bonus

If you do print them off and post them around the house and/or at work, don’t be surprised if you detect attitude changes from others who inadvertently read them. Words and sentences have power.

It’s all so easy, isn’t it?

Have the best outstanding day.

Relevant Links

Get Vulnerable : How to be Vulnerable : Fear of Being Vulnerable : It’s counter intuitive

Who Pays the Piper : Internal Dialogue : Power Questions