Fantasizing about food and sex can reduce pain. (And you always thought those fantasies were a waste of time…) People in emotional or physical distress often turn to “comfort foods” – new research shows that just thinking about these foods can have a significant effect.

“Imagery tactics are the most potent cognitive behavior interventions for pain,” said Dr. Hamid Hekmat, professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point and lead author of the study. “We found that food fantasies such as imagining eating your favorite ice cream, chocolate cake or meal had a strong pain-attenuating effect. It enhanced mood, reduced anxiety, and helped coping with ice water pain.” […]