Most animals, including humans, act in response to triggers. If you see a big animal close to you, you might freeze or run away. If someone extends their hand, you're likely to extend yours.
Thanks to this trigger-response mechanism your conscious mind doesn't get overloaded with an endless stream of decisions. Many of our automatic reactions are correct and helpful. Others not so much.
Getting mad, eating snacks, drinking alcohol, checking social media, they are not ideal responses. These triggers come with a very particular sensation. You know what it feels like to get angry, to be hungry, to feel bored, to have trouble focusing.
Before you notice these triggers you can come up with alternate responses.
For example, when you feel yourself getting angry, you can take a deep breath and acknowledge that you feel angry. Simply noticing can take the edge of.
When you are longing for a snack or a drink, drink a glass of water and do some breathing exercises, focusing on things you're thankful for.
When you want to check social media, call, text, or email a friend to give them a genuine compliment.
Can you make a list of triggers and alternate responses?
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. —Viktor Frankl