A new study released this month by Plymouth University's Cognition Institute (UK) says playing Tetris when a craving hits can reduce the chances of giving in. Just 3 minutes of play time, psychologists say, can get you past the critical period when the craving is strongest. "Episodes of craving normally only last a few minutes," says Professor Jackie Andrade, "during which time an individual is visualizing what they want and the reward it will bring."
The concept behind the study is this: When you are craving something, you are led strongly by your visualization of the thing. You begin to imagine how it looks, smells, and tastes. You can see yourself enjoying it. You can almost feel the feeling itself. Now, what if you could stop your brain from visualizing all that? If you couldn't picture a slice of pizza because you were busy picturing a looming pile of blocks, would it make a difference? Turns out, it does.
On the surface, this means you should download a copy of Tetris onto your smart phone immediately. But in the long run, what may help is choosing a go-to 3D moving image to replace your craving visuals.
Picture a thing that has detail, texture, and movement: like a pug on a skate board rolling past you. Next time you picture that pizza with that perfectly toasted crust and the steam coming off the top, try recreating this image in your mind:
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