Quit Smoking, Try New Activities
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If you are trying to quit smoking, a new study suggests that you try new, exciting activities.
These self-expanding activities will help decrease the nicotine cravings experienced when you quit.1
Stony Brook University researchers, including Arthur Aron, PhD, based their study’s conclusions on a neuroimaging study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanning that measures brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow.1
The researchers examined the scans, looking at the brains of nicotine-deprived smokers who participated in a series of two-player games with their relationship partners during the time of scanning.1
“Our study reveals for the first time, using brain imaging, that engaging in exciting, or what we call ‘self-expanding’ activities, such as puzzle-solving, games, or hobbies with one’s partner, appears to reduce craving for nicotine,” said Dr. Aron. “The self-expansion activities yielded significantly greater activation in a major reward region of the brain, which is associated with addictive behaviors, than did non-expanding conditions. This suggests such activities may be a major new route to help people reduce the desire to smoke.”1