Have a Food Craving? There is good news for those who do and especially for anyone who likes Tetris, or other video games that require strategic thinking. Researchers have discovered that playing those kinds of games may help stop cravings in their tracks.
Research study sheds light on cravings.
A study from Plymouth University and Queensland University of Technology monitored 31 random participants for a week. When they reported that they were starting to feel a craving, participants were instructed to play Tetris for three minutes. After playing, they reported on their cravings again. The results, according to study author Jackie Andrade, were eye-opening:
Playing Tetris decreased craving strength for drugs, food, and activities from 70% to 56%. This is the first demonstration that cognitive interference can be used outside the lab to reduce cravings… We think the Tetris effect happens because craving involves imagining the experience of consuming a particular substance or indulging in a particular activity.
Playing a visually interesting game like Tetris occupies the mental processes that support that imagery; it is hard to imagine something vividly and play Tetris at the same time. As a support tool, Tetris could help people manage their cravings in their daily lives and over extended time periods.
A typical food craving lessens in intensity after only three minutes.
If one of your health goals is to fight back against cravings, download Tetris, or another visual game onto your phone or computer. (Or play it for free here.) The next time you start to feel drawn towards cake or cookies or chips, try playing the game for a few minutes and see if those cravings don’t completely disappear!
In addition to managing the craving and eat healthier, it’s helpful to recognize the connection between stress and overeating. Taking care of your emotional well-being is one way to lessen a craving and prevent overeating.