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Pet Ways to Ease Stress
with Jessica Loftus, Ph.D. & Jack Murray

A Fish in Water is a Fish Out of Stress

Take it from goldfish.  A great way to ease stress is to engage your five senses in water.  Here are 35 suggestions to wash your stress away.

Soothing sights, sounds, sensations, scents and tastes of water relax the body, mind and soul. Of course, we would all love to vacation year round on ocean-front beaches, lazy rivers, inspiring waterfalls, gentle brooks and crystal blue lakes. Why else would so many vacation destinations feature water? Why else would properties offering an exquisite water view command such a large price tag?  Although we can’t always travel to prime vacation spots like Lake Lucerne, Hawaii, the Caribbean islands or Niagra Falls, we can seek a bit of wet paradise in our daily lives.

Soothing sights of water calm the mind. Each day, we could make little mini vacations where we can enjoy the healing powers of water.

  1. Visit a local forest preserve with a lake.
  2. Watch videos of exotic water scenes.
  3. Observe an ice cube melt slowly.
  4. View fish in an aquarium at a local restaurant or spa.
  5. Imagine your favorite water scene from vacation.
  6. View the rainbow created by a sprinkler in the sun.
  7. Blow iridescent bubbles with soapy water.

Soothing sounds of water quiet the thoughts.  There are loads of sound machines, apps and Youtube videos that feature gentle sounds of water.  Keep one near you to help you fall asleep at night. Here are some do-it-yourself ways to benefit from the sounds of water.

  1. Hear the sounds of rain during a storm.
  2. Listen to the trickle of water from a faucet.
  3. Skip a stone in a pond and hear the plop.
  4. Tune into the rumble of boiling water in a pot.
  5. Jump in a muddy puddle of water.
  6. Savor the joy of children splashing in a pool.
  7. Buy a small water fountain for your office.

Soothing scents of water calm the soul.  Although water itself has little scent, it greatly enhances the scent of plants that come in contact with it.

  1. Relish the scent of dew-kissed roses
  2. Breath in chloroform-filled trees
  3. Enjoy the fresh, clean scent of rain.
  4. Use aromatherapy oils diffused in water.
  5. Cherish the scent of fruit- infused water.
  6. Feel invigorated by chlorine in a pool.
  7. Save a vial of ocean salt water from vacation.

Soothing sensations of water relax the body.  Imagine lounging on these comfy chairs, waiting for the luscious experience of a cool, refreshing swim on a hot summer day.

  1. Spritz your face with chilled water & mint.
  2. Take a hot shower to relax.
  3. Try a cold shower to rejuvenate.
  4. Soothe stress with an ice pack.
  5. Apply moist heat to sore muscles.
  6. Anoint yourself with Holy water.
  7. Indulge your inner child with a bubble bath.

Soothing tastes of water rejuvenate the body.

Most of us simply don’t drink enough water. When we are slightly dehydrated (just simply thirsty) our levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) rise.  Plus, many of the fluids we do drink (sodas, coffees and alcohol) dehydrate us even more, requiring even more water. As a general rule of thumb, you need to drink one half to once ounce of water for every pound you weigh each day.  If you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking 75-150 ounces of water a day, plus extra water to compensate for dehydration from exercise, heat, sodas, coffees and alcohol.

  1. Infuse water with fruit.
  2. Melt an ice cube slowly in your mouth.
  3. Savor lemon-flavored water through a straw.
  4. Add water to fruit juice.
  5. Make tea with a Keurig, then chill.
  6. Add extra water to soups and sauces.
  7. Dress up water with fruit-juice ice cubes.

Water, which comprises 70% of living cells, is necessary for life.  How fitting that it can ease stress in so many ways.

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A Fish in Water is a Fish Out of Stress

Jessica Loftus

Jessica Loftus has worked as a licensed clinical psychologist and national certified career counselor for more than 20 years. She currently offers counseling sessions via telehealth in Illinois. Her website,, outlines steps for making a career decision. details. See her retired blog, "Pet Ways to Ease Stress,"

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APA Reference
Loftus, J. (2018). A Fish in Water is a Fish Out of Stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 Aug 2018
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.