April 10 is National Siblings Day, which recognizes and celebrates brothers and sisters — both here and no longer with us. If you’re active on social media, you’ve probably heard of it. Last year it was the No. 1 trending topic for two straight days.
National Siblings Day was started 21 years ago by Claudia Evart who lost two siblings to separate accidents at a young age. The day has gained more and more recognition over time with gubernatorial proclamations from 49 states (California is the lone holdout, go figure).
Siblings are definitely worth celebrating. Studies point to the positive impact they can have on your health and well-being. If you told me this when I was a kid though, I wouldn’t believe you.
I have two older brothers and my eldest, who is six years my senior, absolutely tormented me. The picture to the right is typical of my childhood. Somehow my older brother could turn a picture-perfect moment into a playhouse of pain for me.
Of course things have changed. We’ve grown, matured, and come to truly appreciate each other. There are more to your siblings then you probably know. Research has shown physical, mental, and social benefits of having brothers and sisters. Some of them include:
• Becoming an older brother or sister, especially at a young age, lowers your risk of being overweight. The exact reasons remain unclear, but active play between siblings and a change in eating patterns are possible factors.
• Having a supportive sibling while nearing adulthood has been linked with lower instances of loneliness and depression and higher self-esteem and life satisfaction. It can also make up for a lack of support from parents or friends.
• A loving sibling growing up can also help make you more sympathetic and less selfish.
• More siblings can decrease your chance of divorce. Researchers say siblings learn how to negotiate, talk through problems, and consider other points of view. The more siblings you have, the more you practice these skills.
So for those who have siblings, rejoice. And for those of who don’t…well, at least you didn’t have to suffer through the Vulcan death grip when you were a kid.