|Stress and Aquariums
IF YOU THOUGHT MAINTAINING AN AQUARIUM IS STRESSFUL, THINK AGAIN! IT IS KNOWN TO ACTUALLY REDUCE STRESS.
Stress is the name given to the reaction to an event. The event is both important and the result of which is unknown to the person under stress.
Stress has physical and emotional effects on us and can create positive or negative feelings. As a positive influence, Eustress (as it is called) can help compel us into action; it can result in a new awareness and an exciting new perspective.
As a negative influence, it can result in feelings of distrust, rejection, anger, and depression, which in turn can lead to health problems such as headaches, upset stomach, rashes, insomnia, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Relaxation is often a very effective tool in managing stress. While Deep Relaxation techniques, Quick Relaxation techniques and other such techniques are usually used by therapists, the method I advocate is a lot more interesting though. Itâ€™s called Aquaristhanics (keeping an aquarium).
Keeping an aquarium if done in the right way can do a lot both in managing work-life balance and also in managing stress.
Maintaining an aquarium uses both the right and left halves of the brain since it involves both scientific thinking and creativity.
Scientific and logical thinking is needed since every aquarium is actually a mini-ecosystem when maintained well. Even for a basic tank, proper thinking in lines of nitrogen cycle in the tank, lighting levels, oxygen levels in the water are just a few of them.
An aquarium also allows the hobbyist a lot of creativity in setting up the tank. For example, in aquascaping the tank (using plants and gravel and stones to set up the tank), the options open to the aquarist is mind boggling. A tank could purely be a planted tank (as shown in Fig 1) with just a few fish in it or could be one with a few interesting fish such as cichlids which enjoy a rocky set-up with caves which they excavate (Fig 2.) . The setup of a tank is only limited by the hobbyistâ€™s creativity.
Scientific experiments by three researchers of the University of Pennsylvania have proved that subjects, who watched aquariums which were well set up, but, without fish, were not as relaxed as when they viewed the same tanks with fish. In other experiments, it was proved that fishless tanks also reduced blood pressure levels; but, Blood pressure was known to creep up once the tanks were removed. The relaxation levels were found to remain for a long period when the subjects were shown tanks with fish in them. True relaxation!
Maintaining a beautiful aquarium in the living room also helps in a common family activity. â€œIt is quite easy to have an aquarium at home and helps to keep spend quality time togetherâ€, says the Director of a large MNC whose wife and two sons help in maintaining the aquarium in their drawing room.
With Chinese companies manufacturing pumps, filters and other aquarium accessories, maintaining an aquarium has become relatively easier and cheaper compared to what it was a few years ago. A large assortment of fish foods and properly formulated medications which are available nowadays help in reducing both the aquaristsâ€™ stress as well as the stress suffered by fish (yes, a large number of mortalities in aquariums are due to fish getting stressed out).
With the advent of plastic moulded tanks, it is quite feasible to have an aquarium at oneâ€™s workstation. Software engineers who are normally under high levels of stress due to deadlines can keep small tanks (a foot in length and half that in breadth and depth) at their workstations as long as their company policy allows them to do so. It is also quite imperative that only small Labyrinth fish (which do not depend on the dissolved oxygen levels) are kept (two at the most) in such tanks and arrangements be made with the office boy to see to it that the fish are fed in right amounts over the week end. Keeping a few floating plants such as Cabomba in such tanks would help in making the fish perceive that they are in a larger tank.
There used to be a time when getting information on the hobby was difficult, but, in this age of the internet, it is quite easy to get clear and accurate information on the hobby and even network with hobbyists.
www.indianaquariumhobbyist.com is a portal for hobbyists in India and its membership has reached over 700 members. Joining requires a simple and free registration which helps in keeping the spammers out.
On the whole, an aquarium helps in keeping stress levels down byâ€¦
â€¦using both sides of the brain of the hobbyist,
â€¦having a calming influence when he watches the fish after a stress filled day at work
â€¦giving the hobbyist something adventurous, yet, non-dangerous to look forward to,
â€¦generating self confidence in the hobbyist when he or she has been successful in maintaining the tank
â€¦restoring work-life balance (the whole family spending quality time together while pitching in to maintain the tank)
On the whole it is a win-win both for the fish and the hobbyist!
The author is HR Professional. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Published on: 2005-07-19 (2409 reads)[ Go Back ]