Scientific Reasons Why Keeping Fish Helps Prevent Loneliness

The Doctor Weighs In
6 min readAug 24, 2019

By: Robert Woods

Fish can help reduce stress, positively impact mental health & enforce a daily routine — all of which, science suggests, may help prevent loneliness.

Photo source:

Did you know that fish can prevent loneliness? Let me explain.

What typically comes to mind when you think of a lonely person? The most likely answer is an older person who is socially isolated, leads a very quiet life and doesn’t get out much. However, this isn’t always the case. Loneliness can affect people of all ages from all walks of life.

It was Mother Teresa who said,

“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for.”

Loneliness is something that even the busiest and most socially active amongst us can get hit by. Further, it is increasingly being recognized as a serious health risk factor. In fact, loneliness and social isolation have now been established as contributing to the risk of early death.

There are many things you can do to combat loneliness. However, I want to tell you about one that you may not have considered: keeping fish.

In this article, I’ll explore the scientific evidence that links fish, mental health, and the impact on loneliness. Stick with me as I take you through my thinking.

The Betta is a popular freshwater fish that is vibrantly colored and easy to care for. Photo source:

Keeping fish improves physical and mental well-being

A 2016 study published in the journal Health Promotion International found that “nature plays a vital role in human health and well-being.” In fact, the authors suggest that “contact with nature may provide an effective population-wide strategy in [the] prevention of mental ill-health.”

Fast forward to today and you will find that nature deficit disorder is increasingly being pointed to as a contributing cause of both physical and emotional symptoms.

Researchers from the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth University and the University of Exeter carried out a study looking at the physical and mental



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