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Block It!

Tetris can help you control your cravings

Author Jacqueline Detwiler

factOver the years, research has shown that people are pretty bad at resisting temptation—and the better they think they are at it, the more likely they are to cave. A study that recently appeared in the journal Appetite gives us a new technique for suppressing our various hankerings, however. It turns out the answer is cursing at geometrical shapes while listening to a catchy song. According to researchers from the Cognition Institute at Plymouth University, in the U.K., playing Tetris for just three minutes can reduce naturally occurring cravings to eat, drink and smoke by about 24 percent. How does it work? The researchers believe appetitive urges require visual imagery (for instance, the glistening chunks of cookie dough in a commercial for a Dairy Queen Blizzard) and that interrupting that imagery by using your mental energy to rotate blocks short-circuits the craving’s power over you. That is, of course, unless you tend to crave straight lines of blocks, in which case you’re screwed.

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