Doing This for 3 Minutes Will Stop Food Cravings

03/05/2014

Playing-testris-stops-food-cravings-250x150-140214-1Don't you wish there was a simple way to stop cravings before they start? New research suggests there may be an easy answer. A recent study showed that playing the game Tetris can decrease yearnings for cigarettes, alcohol and food.

The study involved 119 people, and the researchers started by having participants report their cravings before either letting them play Tetris for three minutes or waiting for Tetris to load (which it never did) on a computer.  After their time was up, the researchers had participants reassess their cravings.

It turns out the game provided an important distraction: Those who played Tetris cut their cravings by 24 percent when compared to the control group.

The results confirm what is called the Elaborated Intrusion Theory (EI), which hypothesizes that images, and your brain''s ability to create images, may generate cravings, and that Tetris (or another visual exercise) might be a useful way to distract you and reduce your appetite for unhealthy items.

“Episodes of craving normally only last a few minutes, during which time an individual is visualizing what they want and the reward it will bring. Often those feelings result in the person giving in and consuming the very thing they are trying to resist. But by playing Tetris, just in short bursts, you are preventing your brain creating those enticing images and without them the craving fades,” professor Jackie Andrade, the study author, told Spring.org.

If you hate Tetris, another visually stimulating game may also do the trick. The takeaway is that providing an engaging distraction may help you break bad habits.

By Mara Betsch

More on Mental Health:

A Surprising Way to Stop Cravings

The Best Diet for Brain Health

Is Pain All in Your Mind?

Why Coffee Really Does Perk You Up

 


The Discovery Fit and Health team brings you the latest (and most interesting) health news as well as exclusive interviews, video clips, and other juicy tidbits from your favorite shows.
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