If cravings are running your life, try playing Tetris. The computer game can lessen the urge for a doughnut, chocolate, a cigarette or maybe even sex, finds a new study published in the journal Appetite.
“We know that cravings are associated with drug use, and early dropout of weight-loss programs,” said Jackie Andrade, a psychology professor at Plymouth University's Cognition Institute in the U.K. “They make life difficult.”
“It’s not pleasant to be craving,” agreed psychologist David Kavanagh of Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia.
“It’s great to really want to eat or make love, if that’s possible right now. But it’s a torture if you can’t. So, if we can help people deal with craving -- blunt it a bit, or give them some time out -- it can not only help them stay in control, but it may make them feel a bit better as well.”
The Plymouth researchers, led by Jessica Skorka-Brown, tested the effects of Tetris on individuals who reported “natural” cravings of varying degrees -- as opposed to cravings deliberately generated by researchers with chocolates, for instance.
One group of cravers played Tetris and the other waited as a computer program loaded and never finished loading. After the screen time the subjects again were asked to rate their cravings.
They found that the Tetris players experienced 24 percent weaker cravings than those who waited unsuccessfully for the game to load.