We all experience a wide variety of cravings every single day, that can range from the craving for coffee experienced every single morning by coffee lovers, to food cravings, to nicotine cravings and many more. All of these cravings can take a smaller or a larger toll on us and they may affect us in many different ways throughout the day.
Generally, the more you think about the specific thing you’re craving, the more you visualize obtaining it and enjoying it, the more powerful the craving becomes and it can get to the point where it monopolizes your attention span. However, a team of researchers from the Queensland University of Technology and the University of Plymouth have made a very intriguing discovery on the matter of cravings.
Considering that cravings greatly rely on the visualization of the target of the craving, the scientists wanted to test out if distracting the brain with a visually entertaining activity could reduce the intensity of the craving altogether.
And so, they gathered 31 participants for their small study, from among their undergraduate students. They were a rather diverse group, as both males and females were included, and their ages varied from 18 to 27. The researchers followed the subjects for the duration of one week, during which they asked them to report their cravings seven times a day.
Half of the participants were provided iPads with the popular game Tetris on them and they were asked to play the game for a period of 3 minutes every time they felt a craving of any type and then describe the results to the researchers.
The small study found that the study participants reported having cravings 30% of the times when they were asked about them. A total of 21% included particular focuses that are generally interpreted as being drugs, such as cigarettes, coffee and alcoholic beverages. As for the rest, they included a wide variety of focus points, ranging from sex and sleep, to socializing with friends and playing computer games.
As for how the Tetris affected the cravings, the researchers revealed that the intensity of the cravings was actually reduced by a whopping 56% and even by 70%, thus proving that their theory was correct.
The findings of this small study herald an accessible tool that every one of us can use to reduce the intensity of the cravings that might come up. Further research might be performed on this matter, so as to utilize this amazingly useful discovery in battling the powerful cravings associated with a series of serious medical conditions, such as eating disorders or withdrawal syndrome.
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