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Here are a few good reasons to stay connected to your siblings, even when they drive you crazy.

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Growing up with sisters and brothers probably had a profound effect on your childhood. Whether you were as close as two peas in a pod or were always arguing over something, your siblings likely helped shape the person you are now. But did you know that having siblings may continue to affect your health even as an adult?

Here are 5 reasons why siblings are good for your health:

      1. They may help you lead a healthier lifestyle. Many people admit their family and friends have a big impact on their lifestyle choices. This can of course be both positive and negative. If your siblings follow a healthy lifestyle—like eating healthy, being physically active and not smoking, drinking excessively or using illicit drugs—there’s a good chance you might, too.
      2. They may boost your mental health. Having a strong relationship with a sibling may be a predictor of mental health as you age. According to one study, poor sibling relationships as a child may increase your risk of depression in adulthood. Other research shows that adults who maintain strong sibling relationships are less lonely and depressed and have higher self-esteem and life satisfaction.
      3. They may make you less stressed. If you have a strong relationship with a sibling, it gives you someone to turn to when life gets tough. This can help you deal with stress, which in turn can keep you healthier. Of course, some sibling relationships are the cause of stress, which can impact you negatively. Stress can be detrimental to both your physical and mental health.
      4. They may make you more optimistic. Research suggests that nostalgia may boost feelings of optimism and have a positive effect on emotions. Flip through old photos of you and your siblings or get together and tell some stories from your childhood for a quick pick-me-up.
      5. They may help you live longer. While there’s no guarantee that you’ll live longer if you have a sibling, studies have shown that people with poor social connections are more likely to die earlier than those who have strong relationships. So there’s a chance that having a strong bond with a sibling may increase your lifespan.

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Date Last Reviewed: February 14, 2022

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Dietary Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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