Stress Management with an Aquarium

by Shaun Damon

Stress management has become a necessity for those of us who live in an urban setting as stress has become a way of life. Stress related disorders are among the leading causes of death, and all of us suffer from the effects of stress, whether mild stress headaches and fatigue, or sleeplessness, and more serious conditions like coronary disease, hypertension, heart attacks, anxiety disorders and other mental imbalances.

Taking time off from our busy routines to simply interact with pets or come in contact with nature can be the most relaxing break from our daily chores and stress. While pets like cats, dogs, or other mammals may require greater maintenance, time and attention, aquariums require comparatively little maintenance and can help relax greatly. This makes them a more feasible option for those of us who wish to relax, but can not afford to put in the time or expense needed for other pets. Moreover, aquariums are also a great option, open even to those who suffer from chronic respiratory disorders like asthma that would restrict their choice of pets.

Aquariums offer the ideal medium for the creation of a tranquil, soothing, and meditative environment, enabling you to relax and connect with nature, whether in your office or at home. It is not surprising that most doctor's clinics and many businesses choose to have aquariums in their premises or waiting rooms. Apart from the fact that watching fish in an aquarium can be entertaining, it also helps you relax and clear your mind, and almost seems to slow down time.

Here are some interesting findings that support what aquarium enthusiasts and pet lovers have been saying for years - Studies clearly indicate that people with pets enjoy greater longevity following heart attacks, lower cholesterol and having pets can benefit those who suffer seizure as many pets have been found to be capable of warning or predicting such occurrences. Research findings state that watching fish in an aquarium offers therapeutic effects, most noticeably, a beneficial decrease in blood press, muscle tension and pulse rate. If you are aware of hypnotherapy you must know that it is today recognized as one of the most effective forms of psychological therapy. Research findings indicate that aquarium watching is just as effective in combating and reducing anxiety.

A study conducted at Purdue University in 1999 showed that having tanks of brightly colored fish on display restricted and controlled the disruptive behaviors of patients suffering from Alzheimer's. Children suffering from disorders like hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder have also been found to benefit from the presence of aquariums.


  1. Effects of Watching Aquariums on Elder's stress, Mary M. DeSchriver, Carole C. Riddick, Anthrozoos, Summer 1990

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