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This Game Could Help Reduce Cravings

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TETRIS
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Resist cravings by … playing Tetris?

That's the idea behind a new study in the journal Appetite, which showed that playing the game could help to decrease cravings by preventing the brain from conjuring up cravings-promoting imagery.

"Episodes of craving normally only last a few minutes, during which time an individual is visualising what they want and the reward it will bring," study researcher Jackie Andrade, a professor at Plymouth University, explained in a statement. "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 [from] creating those enticing images and without them the craving fades."

For the study, researchers had participants detail their cravings and rate them based on how strong they were. Then they sat in front of computer screens to play Tetris. Some of the participants played Tetris, while the others were told that the game was attempting to load (but it never did load, thereby preventing them from playing the game).

Then, after three minutes, the researchers had the participants again rate the strength of their cravings. They found that those who played Tetris reported 24 percent weaker cravings, compared with those whose games never loaded.

Playing Tetris could do more than beat back cravings. One study showed that playing it is associated with fewer PTSD-related flashbacks, while another study shows it could help adults with lazy eye.