Life with a sibling can be pretty darn great. Seriously.
Sure, there are times when you bicker or instances when it seems like your parents favor one of you over the other (blame your mom and dad for that one). But overall, brothers and sisters can come with some major wellness perks ― and that’s something to celebrate.
In honor of National Sibling Day, we rounded up all the ways your siblings can make you a happier, healthier and all-around better human being. Take a look at them below, then make sure to thank your siblings today (and remind them they better thank you, too).
The benefits of having a brother or sister stem beyond your younger years. Research shows that a close bond with a sibling during middle and old age is correlated with positive mood and overall health. A supportive relationship with a sibling also eased loneliness later in life.
2. Looking at old photos of you together can boost optimism.
Go on and grab those old family albums. Studies suggest that nostalgia ― like flipping through photos of you and your brothers and sisters growing up ― can boost feelings of optimism and have a positive effect on your emotions. Sounds like a pretty good way to celebrate National Siblings Day.
Let’s hear it for the women of the family. A study out of Brigham Young University found that a loving relationship with a sister ― either older or younger ― protects you from feeling lonely, guilty, self-conscious or fearful in your adolescent years.
4. Those who grow up as youngest kids may be funnier and more adventurous.
Leave it to the youngest ones to keep you in stitches. A 2015 survey found that youngest siblings are more likely to consider themselves the ones with better humor, whereas older brothers and sisters are more likely to view themselves as more serious. Research also suggests younger kids may be more exploratory and open to experiences.
Firstborns have got the whole dependability thing down pat. Eldest siblings are often seen as more obedient and responsible. They also tend to focus more on family values and loyalty, Jeffrey Kluger, author of The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us, told NPR. So, either you’re able to totally count on your older sibling or you’re the eldest and you’ve likely learned to be reliable. Win-win.
6. Middle siblings often learn to be good peacekeepers.
Studies conducted on families and birth order suggest that middle kids may be the ones who are good at compromise and negotiating. A 2010 review of research also found that middle children are commonly more sociable and good at relating to people who are both older and younger. Makes perfect sense.
Our close connections have the biggest influence on our healthy habits. Data from the 2011 Edelman Health Barometer global survey suggests that 46 percent of people polled across 12 countries believe their friends and family have the biggest impact on their lifestyle choices, including staying active.
8. Hanging out with them may reduce stress.
That is, if you consider your sibling your best friend. Research shows spending time with a loved one can help beat stress, and experts say siblings especially can help protect you from the negative effects of stress when you’re a kid. Maybe a day out shopping with your sis is just what you need.
It pays to have a close bond. Strong social ties ― like bonds you could form with your siblings ― are linked to better longevity. Research shows that people with poor connections have a higher risk of dying (about 7.5 years earlier on average) than those who have tight bonds with others. This could be because your family and friends encourage you to take better care of yourself and serve as support when your physical or mental health is at risk, according to Time. Sounds like a good reason to put your siblings on speed dial.
10. Declaring your appreciation for them will feel good.
For you and for them. Research shows acts of kindness (in this case, sharing your gratitude) can make you happier, as well as make the person on the receiving end happier.