Fish and Their Psychological Benefits



Fish and Their Psychological Benefits


Fish, particularly in the context of aquariums, have long been recognized for their potential therapeutic and mood-enhancing properties. Watching fish glide gracefully in their watery habitats can have several positive impacts on human mental health.

Fish and Their Psychological Benefits:

  1. Stress Reduction: One of the most frequently cited benefits of watching fish in aquariums is the reduction of stress and anxiety. The slow, fluid movements of fish combined with the gentle sound of water can induce a meditative state, helping to lower cortisol levels and increase feelings of calm.
  2. Improved Focus & Attention: Observing the intricacies of an aquarium— from the behavior of fish to the sway of aquatic plants— can improve concentration and attention span. This can be particularly beneficial in educational or therapeutic settings.
  3. Decrease in Blood Pressure & Heart Rate: Several studies have indicated that observing fish in aquariums can lead to reductions in blood pressure and heart rate, which are physiological markers associated with relaxation.
  4. Enhanced Mood: The aesthetics and beauty of a well-maintained aquarium, with its diverse range of colors and species, can be a mood enhancer. Engaging with this form of nature indoors can help alleviate feelings of sadness or depression for some individuals.
  5. Therapeutic for Alzheimer's Patients: Some research has suggested that exposure to aquariums can benefit Alzheimer's patients by reducing aggressive behaviors and improving eating habits.

Research & Observations:

  • A study conducted at Plymouth University found that observing fish in an aquarium led to noticeable reductions in blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Research at Purdue University indicated that displaying tanks with fish in Alzheimer's units resulted in patients being more relaxed, alert, and in a better mood. There was also a reduction in disruptive behaviours and an increase in weight among these patients.

Incorporating Fish for Therapeutic Benefits:

  1. Workplace & Education: Introducing aquariums in high-stress environments, like certain workplaces or special education settings, can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
  2. Medical Settings: Having fish tanks in dental and medical waiting rooms can help patients relax before appointments.
  3. Personal Spaces: Incorporating a fish tank in personal spaces, like homes, can provide daily doses of relaxation and beauty.

Further Reading & Recommendations:

  1. The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums by David E. Boruchowitz – An introductory guide to setting up and maintaining freshwater aquariums.
  2. Handbook of Fish Biology and Fisheries by Paul J.B. Hart and John D. Reynolds – For a more in-depth understanding of fish behaviors and their environments.

In essence, while fish might not offer the interactive companionship of pets like dogs or cats, their serene presence, combined with the aesthetics of their environment, offers a unique set of therapeutic benefits. It's a gentle reminder of the diverse ways nature can influence and improve human well-being.



Research and references


Fish Impact on Mental Health:

  • A study conducted at Plymouth University found that observing fish in an aquarium led to noticeable reductions in blood pressure and heart rate.
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