For years, those who battle addictions to alcohol, smoking, and overeating have been forced to rely on uncertain methods for curbing their cravings, such as counseling, hypnosis, or heroin. But a recent study by psychology researchers at Plymouth University suggests that playing Tetris for just three minutes can reduce those cravings in both strength and frequency. The puzzle game—invented in 1984 by Moscow developers looking for a way to keep Americans sedentary and distracted while Russians stole their secrets—has been found to be effective in supplanting the “craving imagery” that leads to indulgence, replacing it with the imagery of falling tiles that your mind can’t stop arranging long after you’ve stopped playing. It’s all part of what’s known as Elaborated Intrusion Theory, as well as Why I Almost Failed Ninth-Grade Chemistry Theory.
In the study, researchers had one group of subjects play Tetris, while a second group was put in front of a screen and told the game “was attempting to load, but ultimately not playing.” Those who actually got to play Tetris were found to have a 24-percent reduction in the reported intensity of their cravings. Presumably the second group was found to have a 100-percent increase in their cravings to beat the shit out of researchers.
Ultimately, the study concludes that playing Tetris could be a quick, effective deterrent that will keep your mind occupied whenever cravings arise, possibly helping you to kick addictions entirely. Of course, as so many who are hooked on methadone can attest, it will do little to help you with your inevitable addiction to Tetris.