Psychologists have made the claim that playing Tetris may help with weight loss and smokers’ cravings.  According to a new study, playing the classic puzzle game for just three minutes might cut cravings by almost 25%. Researchers claim the visual stimulation offered by the game provided an “essential boost for willpower.”

Psychologists suppose the effects of the popular tile-matching puzzle game, might give a “quick and manageable” fix for people who are struggling to quit smoking or drinking, or even stick to diets.

Playing Tetris Could Help With Cravings

“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…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,” said Professor Jackie Andrade, who conducted the research with Jon May, from Plymouth University‘s Cognition Institute along with PhD student Jessica Skorka-Brown.

Participants in the study, published in the journal ‘Appetite’,were asked to specify if and what they were craving and to then rate the cravings in terms of their intrusiveness, strength and vividness.  One group of participants then played the Tetris game, while a second group sat in front of a screen and were told it was attempting to load.  After just three minutes, the participants were again asked to rate their cravings.  Those who played Tetris experienced 24% weaker cravings than those who did not play.

Professor Andrade said the research tested elaborated intrusion theory.  This dictates that imagery is a central force to craving and a visual task should therefore decrease it.  “Feeling in control is an important part of staying motivated, and playing Tetris can potentially help the individual to stay in control when cravings strike…It is something a person can quickly access for the most part whether they are at work or at home, and replaces the feeling of stress caused by the craving itself,” Professor Andrade added.  She added the game is a neutral activity that can have a positive impact.

What do you think?  Could playing a game such as Tetris for a few minutes, when you have a craving for something, actually help?  If you have any sensible comments regarding this story, please leave your comments in the section below.

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