Looking at Fish Tanks Helps Relieve Stress

September 21, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. aquarium /əˈkwɛər i əm/ (n.) – a glass container where fish, other aquatic animals, or plants live
Example: The little girl kept her pet goldfish in an aquarium.

2. relieve /rɪˈliv/ (v.) – to lessen or ease something
Example: He listens to music to relieve stress.

3. monitor /ˈmɒn ɪ tər/ (v.) – to watch closely
Example: Doctors monitored his blood pressure while he was in the hospital.

4. pacify /ˈpæs əˌfaɪ/ (v.) – to make someone calm or quiet
Example: Candies can pacify crying children.

5. calming / ˈkɑːmɪŋ / (adj.) – causing to be free from extreme and negative emotions
Example: Looking at the night sky is so calming.


Read the text below.
A study revealed that watching fish in an aquarium can help relieve stress.

Researchers from the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth [PLIM-uh th] University and the University of Exeter analyzed how volunteers physically and mentally responded after watching fish in a tank. While the volunteers watched a 550,000-liter tank slowly getting filled with different types of fish, the researchers monitored their mood, heart rate, and blood pressure. 

Results of this study showed that the heart rate and blood pressure of the volunteers decreased as more fish were added in the tank. Many of the volunteers also had better moods after watching the tank. While watching an empty aquarium already relaxed people, lead author Deborah Cracknell said that adding fish produced better results.

Other than relieving stress, the University of Pennsylvania found that watching fish can also pacify children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and make the ever-changing behavior of patients with Alzheimer’s disease more manageable. The same effect can also be produced when watching a video of swimming fish. While the reason behind this phenomenon has not yet been discovered, experts said that it may be because one cannot remain stressed when watching something so calming and relaxing.

Based on the study, the diversity of the types of fish and their different colors improve the positive effects of looking at fish tanks. According to some studies, the type of marine life found in aquariums also plays a factor in relaxation.

But aside from looking at aquariums, many studies also revealed that people can experience a similar relaxing feeling when they are in gardens, parks, or other areas that are predominantly green.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What can you say about the results of the study?
·         Would you encourage looking at fish tanks to deal with stress? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         How do you usually relieve stress?
·         How does stress affect you? Describe in detail.

September 21, 2015