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Tapping your forehead at the table is not typically considered normal behavior, but it may be an effective way to beat back some serious food cravings. Researchers from the Weight Loss Program at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital in New York tested the effects of repeated distractions on food cravings. They had subjects induce cravings for their favorite foods by imagining eating and smelling them. (Research using MRI technology has already proven that just thinking about food is very powerful.) After subjects were nice and hungry, they were asked to perform a number of mindless activities for 30 seconds—including tapping their foreheads, their ears and staring at a blank wall. The subjects then gauged the intensity of their cravings. Each task curbed cravings, but forehead tapping was, by leaps and bounds, the most effective technique. According to the study’s lead researcher, Richard Weil, tapping exercises work because they are “dynamic, that is, they included movement, which engages more regions of the brain…so it requires more work in the brain, and thus, more distraction.”

So the next time you spot that gallon of ice cream in your freezer, start tapping away before you grab a spoon. It might mean the difference between feeling dumb over a bowl of ice cream, versus feeling sad over a finished tub.